Canadian records fall as team reaches for quarter-final spot

With four points after two matches at the 2008 Women’s Olympic Football Tournament, Canada seems poised to advance to the 15 August quarter finals, especially considering the match-ups in Group G. First things first, though, Canada will be looking to lock up a top-two position in Group E with a win or draw against Sweden on 12 August.



To advance to the quarter final, Canada needs to finish amongst the top-eight teams in the 12-team tournament. The top-two teams in each group advance as do two of the three third-place teams. Unless New Zealand or Japan is planning an upset victory (not a draw) against the United States or Norway, respectively, Canada will advance to the quarter-final stage regardless of its outcome against Sweden.

With four points after two matches at the 2008 Women’s Olympic Football Tournament, Canada seems poised to advance to the 15 August quarter finals, especially considering the match-ups in Group G. First things first, though, Canada will be looking to lock up a top-two position in Group E with a win or draw against Sweden on 12 August.



To advance to the quarter final, Canada needs to finish amongst the top-eight teams in the 12-team tournament. The top-two teams in each group advance as do two of the three third-place teams. Unless New Zealand or Japan is planning an upset victory (not a draw) against the United States or Norway, respectively, Canada will advance to the quarter-final stage regardless of its outcome against Sweden.



With its 1:1 draw against China on 9 August, the 2008 season officially became the busiest season ever for the Canadian women’s football team. With 22 matches so far, the team has passed its previous high mark of 21 games played in 2003. How many more games are left in 2008 now depend entirely on the success of the team in the coming weeks at the Women’s Olympic Football Tournament in China. The Sweden game will be match #23; the quarter-final could potentially be match #24.



With a high number of games, the Canucks have been able to pass some Association single-season records. Already on 9 August, captain Christine Sinclair set a new mark for minutes played in a season (1,830). Candace Chapman (1,818) and Rhian Wilkinson (1,806) have also passed the previous mark of 1,740 minutes (Kara Lang in 2003).



Chapman has also tied Lang’s record for most games in a season – 21. Chapman should pass the single-season mark on Tuesday against Sweden. Should Chapman, Sinclair and Wilkinson all start, they will also tie Lang’s mark for starts in a season – also 21. Both of Lang’s records were established in 2003, a season highlighted by Canada’s fourth-place finish at the FIFA Women’s World Cup USA 2003.



Coming off the bench, Brittany Timko has been used as a substitute more often than any previous player in a single Canadian women’s season. Coach Even Pellerud has already called Timko’s number 15 times from the bench, surpassing Andrea Neil’s mark of 11 substitutions in 2006. Timko’s 2008 teammate Jodi-Ann Robinson has also been called often – she’s made 14 appearances as a substitute.



Both Timko and Robinson are tied with 26 career appearances as a substitute, second most on Canada’s all-time list. Neil is the all-time leader with 33 substitutions.



Neil, of course, is also the all-time leader in appearances – 132 caps from 1991 to 2007. Her record should be safe for one more year. Charmaine Hooper’s all-time mark of 122 starts, however, could fall this month. Sinclair is expected to make her 121st start on 12 August and her 122nd start, if all things go according to plan, in the quarter final on 15 August.



Another mark that has already fallen in 2008 is shutouts in a season. Goalkeeper Erin McLeod has six clean sheets in 2008, breaking the previous mark of five established by Nicole Wright (1998) and twice tied by active teammate Karina LeBlanc (2002 and 2003). McLeod tied the mark back on 9 April when Canada won 1:0 over Mexico and qualified for its first-ever Women’s Olympic Football Tournament. She actually posted 399 consecutive shutout minutes at the 2008 CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualification Tournament in Juarez, Mexico.



As for another single-season record of note, Sinclair’s 16 goals in 2007 is within reach, albeit likely safe considering the expected upcoming tight competition if Canada advances in the Women’s Olympic Football Tournament. With 12 goals already through 9 August, however, Sinclair will be looking for more goals in an effort to push Canada’s women’s football team that much closer to a podium finish.

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