Coach John Herdman's message ahead of Canada's round-of-16 match with No. 19 Switzerland at B.C. Place Stadium on Sunday is essentially keep your eye on the prize.
"We know we're never going to get this opportunity back again so we have to make sure that coming into B.C. we focus on task, which is to beat the Swiss," Herdman said.
"Coming here there's added distractions because it is people's home town. More people are asking questions about tickets, people want access to the players — family and friends. But it's making sure that we're really on task and diligent with our planning and processes going into the game."
The players get four tickets per game.
"The ones that truly support you, those are the ones not expecting the free ticket. They just want to be part of my journey," veteran goalkeeper Karina LeBlanc, a native of nearby Maple Ridge, said prior to the tournament.
Vancouver is the Canadian team's home away from home. During their time in residency ahead of the tournament, they lived together in a downtown condo.
This time they are staying at a FIFA hotel.
Home support is part of Herdman's master plan for success for the eighth-ranked Canadians. He had his players actively campaign for fans to show their colours at Canadian games.
But that attention comes at a cost.
Herdman, who also calls Vancouver home, did his homework ahead of the tournament. German officials told him of the overwhelming pressure the home side was under at the 2011 World Cup.
So he did his best to put his team under stress ahead of the competition by bringing top teams to Canada to expose his entire roster to big crowds so they could be "comfortable feeling uncomfortable in that spotlight."
Herdman, known for his work ethic and meticulous approach to detail, says his campaign blueprint is detailed but flexible. That was shown prior to the second tournament game against New Zealand when the coach said his players were allowing too much "into their world, their mind."
The Canadian braintrust put in "some new strategies" to reduce mental clutter and distractions— from visitors to Twitter.
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