Sunday, March 3, 2024

World Cup Qualifiers | It’s going to be a big fight for Canada in Honduras

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Virginia Whitehead
Virginia Whitehead
"Pop culture maven. Unapologetic student. Avid introvert. Gamer. Problem solver. Tv fanatic."

Head coach John Herdman was talking about his Canadian team via video for twenty minutes, with his usual passion and enthusiasm, when we felt a little emotion build up in his face.

Posted yesterday at 9:44 PM.

Jean Francois Teutonio

Jean Francois Teutonio

There has been talk of a more than strong possibility of seeing Canada travel to Qatar to host the 2022 World Cup in November.

If we qualify, we will discover the whole country in Qatar. And for the first time, people won’t have to wear their own shirts for Italy, Croatia, Holland, Scotland, England, Greece or Serbia! They will be able to wear their Canadian shirt. »

To be a part of this historic moment, […] It’s what gets us out of bed in the morning, he says with a smile, before wiping his eyes. It would be a dream come true. »

Entering the penultimate stage of qualifying, Canada holds first place in the CONCACAF Octagon. Maple Leaf is still undefeated after eight matches. Each team plays 14.

The first three of the group go straight to the World Cup. The fourth must pass through the barriers. Although Canada, at 16 points, is only 2 points ahead of 4e place, he is more than ever allowed to believe in it.

“More determined than ever”

His first last test was a major test: a trip to Central America to take on Honduras, on Thursday night.

This selection, last in the Octagonal and still without a win, saw a disappointing qualification. But it should not be taken for granted. And Herdmann warns that Thursday’s match “is their last chance to earn the respect of their fans.”

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“It is also their last chance to keep their World Cup dream alive. It will be a big fight.”

But Herdmann is known to be an excellent tactician. And in videoconferencing, he demonstrates this eloquently.

Honduras offers a very different game at home and abroad. […] At home, their shots at the net averaged 17 shots per game. They have the best transitional game stats in CONCACAF. »

“With players like [Romell] Kyoto [Alberth] Ellis et al [Anthony] Lozano, they can threaten your defense with just one or two passes. It’s a trend that can be seen in their last five goals. »

But don’t assume that Canada doesn’t believe in its capabilities.

“Everyone’s totally busy,” Herdman said. feel it. Players know they have to push for a higher level of performance.

“We can’t wait to be tested by the fans and the Honduran team has to fight for its survival. We talk a lot about all this. The players are more determined than ever to get a good result.”

Sanz Alphonso Davies

However, Canada should have had this result without Alphonso Davies, its hub and great star. The Bayern Munich player suffers from myocarditis that appeared after contracting Covid-19.

It is clear that Herdmann would prefer to be with him, both for his skills on the field and for the “contagious positive spirit he brings to the group”.

But he prefers to see his absence under the magnifying glass “glass half full”.

“In the last two games, both teams paid a lot of attention to Alfonso, tactically. They nullified some of the items he brought to us.”

PHOTO CHRIS YOUNG, The Canadian Press Archives

Alphonso Davies

Thus this will be an opportunity for others to “highlight themselves”.

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He lists some options, like Junior Hoilett or Tajon Buchanan, who can give Canada the offensive touch that Canada needs.

“We have many players who are hungry and who would like to take advantage of this opportunity.”

Team Canada plays Honduras at 8:05 p.m. Thursday, then travels to Hamilton, Ontario, to face the United States on Sunday. This international window will expire on February 2nd in El Salvador.

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