Canadians: We're ready for the Cup

BOB MACKIN -- 24 Hours Vancouver

, Last Updated: 9:20 AM ET

Canada's women's soccer team is using optimism to overcome November's pair of one-goal losses to the United States.

"After the results against the U.S., we know we can compete against the best teams in the world," said goalkeeper Erin McLeod, one of 10 Vancouver Whitecaps on the national roster.

McLeod backstopped Canada in Sunday's heartbreaking 2-1 Women's Gold Cup final loss. U.S. won the regional championship on a penalty kick in the final moments of extra time. Both teams qualified for the 2007 Women's World Cup in China after winning their Nov. 22 semifinals.

U.S. also shut out Canada 1-0 in the Nov. 4 final of the Seoul-hosted Peace Queen Cup friendly tournament. Canada hasn't beaten the U.S. since a March 2001 match in Portugal and has a 3-32-3 all-time record against its nearest rival.

Canada reconvenes in Vancouver in the third weel of January. The Sept. 10-30 Women's World Cup is 2007's focus. Defending champion Germany, runner-up Sweden, host China and U.S. headline the 16- nation, five-city tournament that begins and ends in Shanghai.

Canada, which plaved fourth in 2003, is expecting to visit China for a May pre-tournament friendly. 


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