TORONTO | Canada was unable to confirm its qualification for the World Cup on Thursday in Costa Rica, but was able to rectify matters on Sunday.
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The Canadians welcome Jamaica on Sunday afternoon to a BMO field that will be packed with 30,000 spectators ready to explode.
“The whole country is playing, not just us,” Stephen Eustaquio insisted on Sunday after training. There is no match in Panama, this is our last chance, this is how we approach it.
“If we win, we secure first place, and that’s what we want.”
On the top
So far, Canada is in first place with 25 points, three ahead of the United States and Mexico. Costa Rica, 19 points, is in fourth place.
As Eustaquio mentions, Canada will play one last match in this octagon by visiting Panama on Wednesday.
But in an ideal world, this encounter would be meaningless to Canadians who would qualify with a win or draw.
Qualification will also be secured with a defeat, provided Costa Rica does not win against El Salvador (6and10 points).
It can not be said that the Canadians crashed under the pressure and lost 1-0 in San Jose on Thursday night. They also clearly dominated the second half, even playing with one man less.
“We have to recognize what happened in Costa Rica. In my eyes, it’s an achievement we can be proud of, but it must stand back. We showed courage by continuing to play our style of play,” he insisted. coach John Herdman.
In addition, the mood was good-natured at training on Sunday, despite the cool weather.
The music blared from the speakers at BMO Field and there were smiles on all faces.
For Herdman, it’s important to keep a cool head despite the tournament’s first loss and a qualifier for Qatar, which hangs in the 90-minute mark on Sunday afternoon.
“We talked about it at the beginning of camp and mentioned that we could do something great for Canadian football, and in Costa Rica we got a punch in the stomach that brought us back to earth.”
It’s a small boost of humility that the team received that Herdman always appreciates, this value is constant at the heart of his speech.
“We have to go back to work, we can talk about small adjustments, but in the end it’s a group of guys who have to play an entire match to write history.”
Perhaps because he prefers to be careful, John Herdman wanted to warn that things would not be easy Sunday afternoon, even though Jamaica is in seventh place with only one win in twelve meetings.
“Things will be completely different, starting with the conditions on the pitch. It’s going to be a crazy football night. »
BMO Field is actually not at its best right now.
Herdman also warned that Reggae Boyz did not come to Canada to let it go.
“The state of mind must be good. Jamaica will play with a free spirit with young players who want to prove themselves for their country.
We need to remain humble, show technical expertise and increase the level of intensity to prove why we are first in CONCACAF. We can not take a step back. »
Central defender Steven Vitoria will undergo physical tests on Sunday to determine if he is capable of playing. He is the only injured player on the team. Mark-Anthony Kaye has been suspended due to the red card received on Thursday.
A very confident team
Team Canada Twitter Image
Lucas Cavallini worked hard in training for the Canadian team on Saturday at BMO Field in Toronto.
Don’t worry, the defeat in Costa Rica left no trace. Jonathan David has removed all doubt.
“Even though we played with ten in the second half, we controlled the game and we created chances to score, so we’re not so worried about confidence.”
And Stephen Eustaquio added a layer of it by showing as much confidence as one could wish for.
“We are aware of our qualities,” the midfielder said. I believe we are the best team in CONCACAF at the moment and we have to show it. »
Canadian players have a golden opportunity to lift an entire country by completing their qualification on Sunday. This was also the message from coach John Herdman.
“We have a country behind us, we have this belief that even if we are one or two behind or with one man less, we still have a chance to win.”
Despite a temperature that will be below freezing, the atmosphere is likely to be very warm in the home ground of Toronto FC.
“The context is completely different when you show up at our stadium and in front of our fans,” Herdman said.
In addition to the pride that qualifying for the World Cup could inspire, Stephen Eustaquio especially hopes that it can become a source of inspiration for young Canadians who play sports.
“What we want is for young people aged six or eight to look at us and dream that they can play for Canada too.”
The 25-year-old midfielder also talked about the importance of ensuring that this pride remains for a long time when asked what the qualification meant for a veteran like Atiba Hutchinson, who turned 39 last month.
“In a few years I will be Atiba and another player will be in my place. This is how we will continue for future generations so that the young people can play on the biggest stages.”
What we notice among Canadians is this spirit of camaraderie that still reigns in the formation.
Stephen Eustaquio best illustrated the very close ties that unite these players.
“I’m going to invite them all to my wedding, because to be honest I love them. We change clubs in life, but we always have one for Canada.
“That’s what keeps us going and what keeps us talking to each other, even when we’re not on the national team.”
On a slightly less positive note, Mark-Anthony Kaye was subjected to online harassment after receiving a red card against Costa Rica on Thursday. In particular, he received racist comments, which were condemned en bloc by the members of the team.
“It must stop, and people must realize that we are one in times like this,” John Herdman insisted, urging people to condemn these actions.
“We will not tolerate this kind of behavior in sports or anywhere else. If people are witnessing it in the stands, they must not keep quiet.”
Stephen Eustaquio is a warrior and a team player, he has proven it once again.
“The best way to react is to qualify for the World Cup, I know it will make him happy.”