Every World Cup starts out with at least two of three things – a security crisis, an organizational disaster and a low-grade conspiracy theory.
Since Canada is free of respectable hooligans, we've opted for B) and C). They both service the national team's chances.
The organizational sandbag is the ongoing FIFA corruption scandal, which is functioning here as a helpful diversionary device.
FIFA is quickly morphing into a revolutionary movement, in that a good chunk of its membership operates from behind bars and it may or may not use military hardware as currency. Nobody in Zurich wants to talk about that any more, since every news conference has become a public deposition.
So the world is being funnelled toward Canada, where the only officials being pushed out for a grilling are Canadians.
It's put Canadian Soccer Association president Victor Montagliani in the thankless position of defending an organization that can't take the risk of defending itself. In FIFA fish terms, Montagliani's remora. What's he supposed to say? There's no percentage in saying anything. Montagliani is repeatedly drawn back to legalese disclaimers, at varying levels of annoyance.
All the players and coaches here are several steps removed from the body that governs the sport. Men and women – they've all been shading away from FIFA for years.
"I'm not interested in FIFA's image. I'm not interested in what this does for the global image of the game," Canada's coach John Herdman said on Friday.
"What I'm interested in is this team winning a World Cup, which will change our country."
The important fact is that there is not a scintilla of suggestion that Canada has bought or sold anything. Nobody holds a Women's World Cup to get rich. You do it because you want to throw a party and promote the sport.
The "FIFA Corruption Lands in Canada" story functions as the hare for the press and their audience to chase, while the team jogs behind in the distance, doing its prep in relative calm.
And at this point, before anything of consequence has happened, that's how Canada's path looks – a largely unhindered cakewalk.
Infostrada is a European sports-analytics company that's grown famous for its predictions. Its record in recent years is scary good.
Though no one would rank Canada among the game's three or four elite teams, Infostrada has tapped it as one of the finalists at this tournament. It's calling for a German win.
Part of that must owe to the inherent advantage of playing at home. That said, no host in either the men's or women's tournaments has made a World Cup final since 1999.
Much more of it will be down to Canada's curiously fortunate schedule.
As part of its reputation for situational ethics, FIFA is loved/hated for the perception it fixes the draws at men's World Cups. Few have passed in recent decades that didn't seem to give someone obvious a leg up (and usually the host).
An army of global soccer detectives descended on the draw for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, which seemed to benefit the two most scrutinized sides – Brazil and Argentina.
Before he was known for having a rare sort of blindness that only denies him the sight of $10-million (U.S.) cheques, FIFA's No. 2, Jérôme Valcke, was best known for handling the byzantine Ping-Pong ball duties at World Cup draws.
Which one was he holding when it went into one pot, and why? It sunk to the point where people were left trying to figure out why some slips of paper rolled up when released, and some didn't. Argentina and Brazil both thrived at that tournament. They both also lost. Had it turned out differently, we'd still be hearing about that one.
Given the apparently goofball way FIFA's handled its criminal tradecraft in a massive bribery scheme, it's hard to credit it with David Copperfield-level abilities to create illusions on live television. But people still try.
Canada got a host's draw here. It is fully expected to win underpowered Group A – Herdman went so far as to say it on Friday.
If it does, it won't see another team of real consequence until the semi-finals. If it finishes second, it faces one of the weaklings from Japan's Group of Anti-Death in the first knockout round.
While the path has been smoothed for them, it's roughened considerably for the likes of the United States.
The Americans will have to slog through a very tough group, as well as the French and/or the Germans, to get to the final. If the United States wins this thing, it will be the equivalent of taking a checkered flag after starting in the pits.
Canada could be forgiven for the sin of looking a good ways ahead. No matter how often athletes say they don't, they do. How could you not?
This isn't to suggest that anything was fixed here. FIFA will not give one fig about Canada doing well at a World Cup (though the outfit may spend long hours sticking pins in a U.S.-shaped voodoo doll).
It's to suggest that the current golden window of Canadian women's soccer has coincided with enormous amount of good luck. The Canadians got an absolute shedload of it at the London Olympics – finishing a grim third in their group, and yet getting powder-puff Britain instead of powerful Brazil in the knockouts.
If you're not the very best – and Canada is not that – that's what it takes to win a seven-game elimination tournament.
Even if you get all the breaks, you still have to take them. This whole thing is a little like life. It's not just about the opportunity. It's getting it at the right time.
On that basis, maybe there is a higher power taking a small interest in the relatively inconsequential business of Canadian soccer. Higher even than FIFA.