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Women's World Cup Preview from The Sports Network

Thursday, June 30, 2011 (All times Eastern)

France (1-0-0) vs. Canada (0-1-0), Noon

Bochum, Germany (Sports Network) - Canada opened the Women's World Cup with a loss to host and two-time defending champion Germany, but German coach Silvia Neid said after the game, "I think most would agree we beat a very good team."

Now, Canada has to prove it against France or its World Cup could be over long before expected.

Germany and France sit atop Group A with three points apiece after wins on the first day of the tournament Sunday, but Canada can position itself for a berth in the knockout round with a win over France on Thursday at Ruhrstadion.

Although there are no sure things at the World Cup, Canada wraps up group play against Nigeria - the weakest team of the group - and France plays Germany.

After Canada's strong performance against Germany, a 2-1 defeat, the CONCACAF champions appear to be the second-best team in the group.

Manager Carolina Morace believed Canada was a "little bit fearful at the start (against Germany) but my team put in a good performance."

Christine Sinclair's goal in the 82nd minute - the 117th of her international career - left Germany on its heels for the final minutes, and Canada actually had more possession overall, even if it was just 51 percent to 49.

"I think it was a good game, certainly one the fans will have enjoyed," Morace said. "We had more possession than the Germans - and to do that in Germany, in front of this magnificent crowd (of 73,680) and against the best team in the world, is very good indeed."

France will be confident after its 1-0 win over Nigeria, but the final result will leave some doubt about whether Bruno Bini's club is ready for the matches remaining in group play.

Marie-Laure Delie scored the lone goal in the 56th minute, but the French will pay if they fail to convert chances against Canada.

"Although it was only 1-0, I think this win was very important, as the opening matches in competitions always are," France midfielder Louisa Necib said.

"It'll give us maximum confidence for what lies ahead."

06/30 00:58:18 ET

Women's World Cup News
· U.S. women receive tough World Cup draw

· Germany opens title defense against Canada

· France, Nigeria kick off 2011 Women's World Cup

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