The day after a statement win over Australia in its Olympic opener, the Canadian women's soccer team was back to business Thursday.
The focus was on rest and recovery in the wake of a wild 2-0 victory over fifth-ranked Australia but there was also a film session ahead of Saturday's game against No. 93 Zimbabwe, somewhat of a mystery package. The Africans lost 6-1 to No. 2 Germany in their first-ever game at the Olympics.
"We can't take them lightly ... We have to forget about (the Australia win) and focus mentally," said veteran striker Melissa Tancredi.
"For sure, (they're) unpredictable as a team," she added. "We know they're very physical. We know they're physically fit as well."
It's early days at the Olympic tournament but the Canadian woman have apparently found a theme song according to Tancredi, one of the team's musical directors.
"We're kind of clinging on to Sia's 'Unstoppable,' right now," she said.
Tancredi and goalkeeper Stephanie Labbe found the song and coach John Herdman has used it as a soundtrack before a pre-game montage shown to the women.
"It kind of stuck with us," Tancredi said. "It's a pretty powerful song."
The lyrics are certainly empowering:
"I'm unstoppable, I'm a Porsche with no brakes, I'm invincible, Yeah, I win every single game, I'm so powerful I don't need batteries to play, I'm so confident, yeah (I'm unstoppable today)."
The Canadian mood is positive but also realistic, according to Tancredi.
"We know we have much to do," she said. "We have a long road ... If you lose that mentality, you lose focus and you lose games."
Tancredi started against Australia, playing part of the pressing game that led to an early Australian turnover and a Janine Beckie goal after an Olympic-record 20 seconds. But she was sacrificed in the 23rd minute when Herdman threw on defender Rebecca Quinn in the wake of Shelina Zadorsky's red card.
Zadorsky will miss the Zimbabwe game due to suspension.
Tancredi, who was sidelined briefly after injuring her leg in a pre-Games friendly against China in France, got the start Wednesday on merit according to Herdman.
"She's been in really good form in training," he said.
It was also a tactical move. The Australians were expecting to see Sinclair playing a No. 9 role so Herdman looked to mix it up by having Tancredi up front and Sinclair playing a roving role.
In setting his team up that way, Herdman dropped Diana Matheson to midfield and Sophie Schmit started on the bench. Schmidt replaced Matheson in the 69th minute.
"Schmidt will see more game time in the tournament," said Herdman. "But it gives us that option as well with Schmidt to come in in the second half, and just bring that calm and quality in the midfield."
Tancredi, who is playing her club soccer in Sweden, is enjoying what's expected to be her international swan song. The 34-year-old from Ancaster, Ont., has 120 caps for Canada, with 25 goals and 20 assists. The powerful forward, who is also a qualified chiropractor, has played in three Olympics and three World Cups.
"Less stress, more enjoyment," she said of taking the field in Brazil.
Next up are the Mighty Warriors of Zimbabwe with Herdman also sounding a warning about the African team.
"Everybody expects people to take three points from them but you just can't underestimate (them)," he said. "But we've put ourselves in the driving seat. It was important we got a result (against Australia). One point, three points. And the three points we said would put us right in the driving seat with rest and strategies.
"These tournaments are brutal. The two-day turnaround, I don't think people understand what that means about recovery and resting. So we get a chance with only 18 players now to look at a resting strategy. Let's not say we're not through yet, but a point from either one of these games sees us well."
A win over Zimbabwe would likely mean the 10th-ranked Canadians go into their final pool game next Tuesday in Brasilia against Germany with first place in Group F on the line.
The group winner will play the Group G runner-up — likely France or the U.S. — in a Sao Paulo quarter-final. The Group F runner-up faces the second-place team in Group E — probably Sweden or Brazil — in Salvador.
The two best third-place finishers from the three pools also advance to the quarter-finals.