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Women’s World Cup 2015 bid could get boost from the 2011 draw

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The Canadian women’s team has been drawn into the Group of Death. And it might be the best possible boost this country’s bid to host the 2015 Women’s World Cup could have hoped for.

The World Cup draw, held Monday in Germany, saw the Canadians grouped with the hosts, Nigeria and France, which is ranked in the top 10 on the planet.

The opening game of the tournament will see the Germans face Canada on June 26.

As a Canadian soccer fan, you can lament the fact that, despite winning the CONCACAF title, Canada got lumped into a very difficult group, easily the scariest of the bunch. But, if you want to see women’s soccer grow in this country, you couldn’t have asked for a better scenario.

If the Canadian women are ever to put their game on the front pages of newspapers in this country, if they are even to get a mention on SportsCentre, they need a high-profile match like the Germany game. All of the focus — and hype — will be placed on the opening match of the tournament.

Canada vs. the World Cup champs.

It gives the Canadian Soccer Association the platform to use to sell the team. Birgit Prinz is well into her 30s, but the woman who held the title as best female player on the planet, before Marta came on the scene, is still about as recognizable a name as you’ll find in women’s soccer. Canada needs to sell that — along with the fact that you can make the argument that Canuck striker Christine Sinclair, is actually the best female player in the world at the moment, ahead of Marta. Canada can sell the fact that it, not the United States, won CONCACAF. It can sell its players as an up-and-coming group of underdogs against the powerful Germans.

As for the rest of the world, the opening game gives Canada a platform to inform the world that there is women’s soccer in CONCACAF outside of the United States. Let’s face it — Canada might have won the Gold Cup, but if anyone outside of this country thinks about women’s soccer in the Americas, they still think of the U.S. first.

And, if Canada puts on a good showing in what is the glamour game of the opening round, it helps our claim to host the 2015 tourney.

It’s a terrific task for Canada’s national team; but, this is the time for the women’s program to relish the spotlight.

Let the hype begin. Bring on the Germans.

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