Canada takes Ghana seriously

TERRY JONES -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:22 AM ET

HANGZHOU, China -- They're going from playing the No. 4 ranked team in the world to playing the No. 47th ranked team.

They're going from playing the former World Cup champions, a team they'd never managed to beat in nine meetings, to playing the team with the lowest ranking in the tournament.

And they haven't beat these girls before, either!

O.K., the two nations have only played once before several years back and Canada and Ghana drew 1-1 in a friendly with a roster missing several regulars. No biggie.

But if Ghana, which messed up two glorious chances early against Australia before losing 4-1 in their opener, managed to get something going early ...

There's no room for error here.

In World Cup play with four teams in a pool and a loss in your opening game, you simply can't lose again.

Panic factors have been known to set in with teams who get themselves in this situation in World Cups, men's or women's.

"We've been here before," said star striker Christine Sinclair.

"We were in this situation four years ago. It's nothing new. We're confident. We played pretty darn well against Norway."

Devastated the night before, the Canadians woke up here yesterday determined to look at the positives.

At the same time, they swear they're not looking at Ghana as the free space on their bingo card.

"It would be foolish of us to rely on the rankings," said Kara Lang.

"We're in the World Cup. Every team here is capable. We simply have to go out and play this game with the same attitude and play as well as we did against Norway and get out of this game with a win."

It's a lot different losing 2-1 on a late goal, after having one of your own goals disallowed for no good reason, than losing the opener 4-1 to Germany four years ago.

"We lost that game in the first few minutes," said Lang.

Coach Even Pellerud said the FIFA ranking system isn't a true measure of teams because of a formula involving number of games played. Few think Canada is the ninth best team in this tournament. And as for Ghana being 47th ...

"Ghana is a lot better than that. They've caught up with Nigeria in Africa.

"Against Australia it was an event game for a long time.

"It's hard to take the ball off their feet. And they have smart, quick strikers."

It's no place for a nervous person.


Videos

Photos