Expectations are high

TERRY JONES -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:20 AM ET

CHENGDU, China -- If Canada loses here tomorrow night they are faced with the prospects of going home a failure.

They're in a position of being victims of their own success says Australian goalkeeper Melissa Barbieri.

"They finished in such a high position before. In the top four. There is pressure on them to finish in the same spot," she said.

"We've never had that. We've never been in this position before. I don't really know how to act," added Barbieri.

"We have no pressure," said midfielder Collette McCallum.

The Australians are very much in the same position as Canada was going into the go-on or go-home game of Group C play of the FIFA Women's World Cup in 2003.

As was the case with Canada going into the tournament four years ago, they'd never won a World Cup game before.

Now Canada has had success and matching that success is what they face going into this game in which Australia can advance to the quarter-final with a tie while the Canadians requires a win.

"There's definitely a bit more pressure," said Kristina Kiss, the Ottawa defender who watched most of practice here yesterday with an ice bag on her knee.

"We were more bleary-eyed the last time. We didn't know what to expect of ourselves.

"I feel a lot more pressure."

Veteran Andrea Neil said there's no denying it.

"The expectations are different than four years ago," she said of going into the same game against Japan which the Canadian won 3-1 to move on to the semi-final where they scored a shocking win over China to get to the medal round.

"Now it's a different scenario. Now we're trying to prove that what happened four years ago wasn't a fluke."

Kara Lang said it's not that different internally. Four years ago the players expectations were definitely to get out of their group.

"It's the outside expectations that are a little different. I'm nervous, but I've been nervous before every game here. We have to make sure our nerves don't get the best of us."

Captain Christine Sinclair said she remembers the feeling going into the Japan game four years ago.

"We went into that game just knowing we were going to win. This time we're going into the game believing if we play well we're going to win.

"We want to show that what happened four years ago wasn't just chance or luck, that this team is good."

Coach Even Pellerud, who decided to take the team to the famed giant panda breeding ground here yesterday after all in order to get their minds of the game for a few hours, said it's show time.

"I don't see any reason not to believe. I don't doubt the team skills. I don't feel any different about playing this game than the same game four years ago."

Pressure?

"There's high pressure every game. Being able to handle it is why we're here."


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