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Canada to face Arsenal (OK, Team GB) in Olympic quarters

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John Herdman was born and raised in Newcastle. Before Canada came out for Tuesday’s 2-2 Olympic group-stage draw with Sweden in his hometown, the team warmed up in black and white training gear to endear themselves to the Magpies’ supporters in the crowd.

Now, if Canada is to get any kind of home support for Friday’s upcoming quarter-final against the host Great Britain team, they might want to trade the Newcastle-ish training kits for something that looks a bit more like Tottenham. That’s because the backbone of Team GB comes from England’s most powerful ladies club team, Arsenal.

Arsenal midfielder Steph Houghton scored the goal that gave GB a 1-0 win over Brazil on Tuesday. Kim Little, the Scottish star on Team GB, is also Arsenal’s leading scorer. She scored 17 goals in 17 games for the Gunners in 2011-12. Rachel Yankey, another Team GB star, scored nine times in 16 appearances last sseason for Arsenal.

Kim Little

All in all, there are six Arsenal Ladies who play prominent roles for Team GB. And maybe that’s why we can’t be all that surprised by the home team’s rise at the tournament. The key players all play their club football together; they don’t just get together for national-team game and then go their separate ways.

But Canada did play an England side at the 2011 Cyprus Cup and won that game 2-0. That team featured many of the players now on the Team GB roster, including Yankey and Houghton. Christine Sinclair and Brittany Timko scored in that 2011 match.

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