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Written by Oluwaseun Oyediji

Canada announced its Olympic women’s national team (CanWNT), becoming the latest team in the 12-squad tournament to lock in their 18-player lineup before Wednesday’s deadline.

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Five teams have yet to announce their choices, while two — FIFA World No. 1 Spain and No. 64 Zambia — must whittle down their provisional rosters in less than 24 hours.

Along with No. 8 CanWNT, set teams include No. 12 Australia, No. 7 Japan, and a particularly youthful No. 5 United States Women’s National Team (USWNT).

Defending Olympic gold medalists head coach Bev Priestman stacked CanWNT with veterans, with only four players having not yet competed on an Olympic pitch.

As the only country to make the last three Olympic podiums, Canada — captained by Portland Thorns midfielder Jessie Fleming — has a streak on the line.

But last summer’s record-early World Cup exit coupled with off-pitch labor disputes and all-time leading international goal scorer Christine Sinclair’s retirement means this Canadian side could look pretty different from years past.

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"I believe we have a squad that blends experience and youth, is positionally balanced, and possesses incredible athleticism and football talent," said Priestman in a statement.

Following a similar playbook is Australia, whose veteran-laden roster features just four Olympic newcomers.

The Matildas, who stole hearts with a fourth-place World Cup run on home soil last summer, are seeking their first Olympic podium finish in Paris.

Unfortunately, they’ll have to do it without superstar striker Sam Kerr, as the W-League, National Women's Soccer League (NWSL), and English Women's Super League (WSL) Golden Boot winner recovers from a January Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) tear.

In Kerr’s absence, the Aussies will rely on attacker Caitlin Foord and midfielder Emily van Egmond for productivity in and around the box.

Meanwhile….

Other players to watch:
Japan could make the Olympic podium for the first time since their 2012 silver-medal finish behind 2023 World Cup Golden Boot winner Hinata Miyazawa and one of the best central mids in the game, Yui Hasegawa.

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World Cup champion Spain’s provisional roster includes likely selectees and Barcelona teammates Alexia Putellas and Aitana Bonmatí, who’ve combined to win the last three Ballons d’Or.

Zambia has yet to trim their roster, but expect current NWSL Golden Boot leader Barbra Banda to make the cut.

And given legendary forward Marta’s recent retirement announcement, all eyes are on Brazil as the team named one of international football’s GOATs for the trip to Paris.

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