Team profile: Canada
Coach: Carolina Morace is masterminding Canada's campaign. The 47 year old Italian, appointed in early 2009, has completely overhauled the Canadian women's program. Everything from diet and training to the style of play has changed since her arrival. As a player Morace was one of the world's great forwards. She was the first player to score a hat trick at the Women's World Cup in 1991.
Goalkeepers: Karina LeBlanc (Unattached), Erin McLeod (magicJack), Stephanie Labbé (Piteå IF)
Defenders: Emily Zurrer (Vancouver Whitecaps FC), Robyn Gayle (Vancouver Whitecaps FC), Candace Chapman (Western New York Flash), Brittany Timko (Unattached), Marie-Eve Nault (Ottawa Fury)
Midfielders: Kelly Parker (Atlanta Beat), Carmelina Moscato (Unattached), Kaylyn Kyle (Vancouver Whitecaps FC), Rhian Wilkinson (Lillestrøm SK Kvinner), Diana Matheson (Lillestrøm SK Kvinner), Desiree Scott (Vancouver Whitecaps FC), Sophie Schmidt (Vancouver Whitecaps FC), Chelsea Stewart (Vancouver Whitecaps FC)
Forwards: Christine Sinclair (Western New York Flash), Melissa Tancredi (Vancouver Whitecaps FC), Jodi-Ann Robinson (Vancouver Whitecaps FC), Jonelle Filigno (Rutgers University), Christina Julien (Ottawa Fury)
1ST ROUND MATCHES (GROUP A)
- June 26 — vs. Germany in Berlin
- June 30 — vs. France in Bochum
- July 5 — vs. Nigeria in Dresden
Strengths: Canada's confidence is sky high after going undefeated (and without conceding a goal) during the World Cup qualifiers… Carolina Morace has transformed the squad into a strong possession and attacking team since taking over the coaching reins… With a solid core of veterans and an exciting crop of youngsters, Canada has solid depth at every position.
Weaknesses: The Canadians are perennial under-achievers, having qualified for the knockout stage just once in four previous World Cup appearances… Christine Sinclair means so much, supplying goals and leadership. Canada would be in big trouble if she gets injured or suspended… Canada faces Germany in its opening game. Can they rebound if they lose, as expected, to the hosts?
Player to watch: Christine Sinclair — One of the game's most prolific scorers and a talisman for Canada. As a captain who leads by example, Sinclair inspires her teammates, is universally respected by opponents and boasts an international strike rate few can match. Modest and unassuming off the field, Sinclair's drive and passion are hallmarks of her on-field persona. A clinical finisher with either foot, Sinclair has to be considered one of the great Canadian athletes of the last decade.
Prospects in Germany: Canada has high hopes of emulating its success from 2003 when it reached the semifinals and finished fourth overall. Its opening game, against World Cup holders Germany in Berlin, is a daunting task but there is a good chance of advancing as runners-up in Group A. They key game will be against France where a victory is vital to their prospects. A possible quarter-final against Japan or England could lie ahead.
- Soccer Confederation: Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF)
- Current FIFA world ranking: 6
- Team nickname: Big Red
- Team colours: red jerseys/black shorts
ROAD TO THE WOMEN'S WORLD CUP
2011 qualification route: Canada qualified by winning the 2010 CONCACAF championship. The Canadians won the title, staged in, with a perfect record, posting five straight wins, without conceding a single goal. Christine Sinclair scored six goals, while goalkeeper Karina LeBlanc recorded four shutouts.
- Qualification record: 5 wins, 0 losses, 0 ties
- Goals for: 17
- Goals against: 0
- Top goal-scorer in qualifying: Christine Sinclair (5)
- Oct. 29, 2010 — Canada 1, Trinidad and Tobago 0
- Oct. 31, 2010 — Canada 8, Guyana 0
- Nov. 2, 2010 — Canada 3, Mexico 1
- Nov. 5, 2010 — Canada 4, Costa Rica 0
- Nov. 8, 2010 — Canada 1, Mexico 0
WOMEN'S WORLD CUP HISTORY
Canada first qualified for the FIFA Women's World Cup in 1995 in Sweden. Grouped with eventual champions Norway as well as England and Nigeria in the first round, Canada didn't win a game in the tournament, but did manage a 3-3 tie with Nigeria.
Four years later, Canada was back at the tournament looking for its first victory. They opened on solid ground with a 1-1 draw with Japan, but it was all downhill from there. A 7-1 loss to Norway and a 4-1 defeat to Russia meant Canada would miss the second round yet again.
Canada enjoyed a major breakthrough at the 2003 tournament. Canada's silver-medal success at the Under-19 Women's World Cup in Edmonton fuelled a new group of national team players including strikers Christine Sinclair and Kara Lang and midfielder Brittany Timko. Combined with veterans like striker Charmaine Hooper, fullback Sharolta Nonen and goalkeeper Karina Leblanc, the Canadians not only advanced past the group stage, but also upset China in the quarter-finals 1-0.
Canada put in a valiant effort against Sweden in the semifinals, losing 2-1 on a late goal to the eventual World Cup runners-up. The Canucks finished fourth overall in the 16-team tournament after dropping a 3-1 decision to the United States in the bronze-medal match.
Expectations were high that Canada would go far in China in 2007. But the Canadians were held to a 2-2 draw by Australia in their last first-round game, eliminating them from the tournament.
- Hosted the Women's World Cup: Never (Canada will host the event in 2015)
- Number of previous Women's World Cup appearances: 4
- All-time record: 4 wins, 8 losses, 3 ties
- Goals for: 25
- Goals against: 36
- All-time top scorer: Christine Sinclair (6)
- 1991 — Did not qualify
- 1995 — First round
- 1999 — First round
- 2003 — Semifinals (4th place)
- 2007 — First round