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Fear no one: Is this the dawn of a new era for Canadian women's national team?

06 August 4:15 am

Fear no one: Is this the dawn of a new era for Canadian women's national team?

By Brandon Timko

When the Canadian women's national team arrived at the stadium in Coventry on Friday and jumped off the bus for their quarterfinal against the host nation, a Great Britain fan commented aloud that they seemed a bit subdued.

Quiet confidence. Turns out that's all it was.

Maintaining that confidence will be key tonight as they head into their semi-final match against the United States at Manchester's legendary Old Trafford.

Now, after Canada fell 2-1 to Japan in their opening match I blogged that they needed to "mind the gap" between themselves and some of the more accomplished teams.

There is a flipside to that though, and that involves giving too much respect to your opponents.

I don't mean sportmanship, you should always respect your opponents in that regard.

And you should definitely respect their ability. Be mindful of their strengths and strategize to find tactics that will minimize them.

But you should never, ever, fear your opponent.

Look at any champion in any competition and you'll find a genuine belief that in any matchup - no matter talent or ability - they'll out perform their opponent and will ultimately get the better of them.

If you fear your opponent then you've already set yourself up for defeat. Inferiority becomes an excuse and losing becomes acceptable.

But Canada are not inferior, not to the Americans and not to anyone.

They've shown that so far during these Olympics. It hasn't mattered if they've gone down a goal (or two), if the calls haven't gone their way, or if the crowd was against them; through it all they've remained confident in their play. And because of that, they've been the superior team for the vast majority of their matches this tournament.

This is something that their counterparts have always done well. The Americans focus only on their own performance, and they certainly fear no one. It's a fierce competitiveness and a winning mentality.

But the best competitors in the world learn from their opponents, and I believe that Canada have finally done that. This is the most confident I've ever seen them play.

So tonight, it shouldn't matter who their opponent is.

It's simply another obstacle in the way of a gold medal.

The sacred temple

During my past week in England I've visited some of the most cherished cathedrals in the world. As a football fan though, one piece of architecture struck me more than any.

That, my friends, would be Wembley Stadium.

For those of you who've been there you'll certainly understand.

It's the most divine of venues. A 90,000-seat masterpiece that seemingly stretches into the clouds (you literally have to take five lengthy escalators to get to the top level).

Circling around the upper concourse provides a view to the outside stretching across thousands of kilokmetres, while the inside is even more spectacular.

The sight from anywhere is stunning, and the acoustics of the stadium carry like no other, making even a South Korea versus Gabon Olympic Group Stage match feel like a World Cup final.

This is where the Olympic final for the women's tourney is being held. So as usual, there's only one thing left to be said.

Go Canada Go!

Blog 1: The journey begins again

Blog 2: Mind the gap

Blog 3: A Geordie dream come true