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Canada All But Eliminated

High hopes surrounded this Canadian sides advancement to the group stage of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying. With what many in the Canadian Soccer community considered the nations best team ever, the hope was that Canada would reach its first World Cup since 1986. However, the first two group matches, both at home have exposed Canada for still being substantially behind the powers of CONCACAF. Canada’s remaining hope probably depends on beating Mexico at home and drawing with the Mexicans in Cancun, while hoping Honduras and Jamaica draw with one another twice. So in other words, Canada is the longest of long shots to advance to the Hexaganol.

Last month the Canadian drew with Jamaica in Toronto and last night after taking a 1-0 halftime lead, Honduras struck twice to sink Canada in Montreal. Ramon Nunez, formerly of FC Dallas and Chivas USA scored both Honduran goals and put his nation in prime position to advance to final stage of CONCACAF qualifying. Honduras is arguably the most talented footballing nation in the region outside the established powers of Mexico and the USA. However Honduras always seems to find a way to slip up in qualifying. But with this win, the nation finally may have hope of reaching its first World Cup since 1982.

Canada’s lack of progress in World Cup Qualifying is from my perspective a fault of an dysfunctional and inept Canadian Soccer Association. Canada has more than enough talent to compete, but right now they do not have the setup or the faith of their players that many others in the region enjoy. I’d argue the starting XI Canada puts out in qualifying matches is third only to Mexico and Honduras in talent (I’d place the US fourth, but the US second among overall talent, not just the starting XI). Irrespective of having professional footballers of note like Juan De Guzman, Rob Friend and Dwayne DeRosario, the amateurish, volunteer driven CSA is the downfall of Canada’s program. The country has proven time and time again it can compete in short tournaments like the Gold Cup. Canada won the 2000 Gold Cup, and were an eyelash away from the finals in 2002 and 2007, losing both matches to the US on suspect calls. But in the longer grind of World Cup qualifying, the lack of support and infrastructure the national team enjoys is fatal flaw which Canada cannot overcome.

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  1. Garbaggio

    September 10, 2008 at 10:23 am

    Canada with more talent in the starting line-up than the U.S.? Laughable.

  2. Chicho

    September 9, 2008 at 12:43 pm

    If you honestly think the US 1st 11 is the 4th most talented concacaf side you're an idiot.

  3. Lonnie

    September 8, 2008 at 8:09 pm

    You can only blame the CSA up to a certain point and I don’t blame the CSA for that mess against Honduras.

    How could I? The squad did not perform. We had no experienced centre-backs in the squad and were running around in the second half like the proverbial beheaded chicken. Radzinski as a winger did not work in the last game nor did Ian Hume work in this match. We have some talent in central midfield and some good keepers but are thin in key areas like central defence.

    We did not control the ball and were too often using long ball tactics instead of building through the midfield. We also payed naively at times (Honduras began diving to slow the tempo and disrupt any attacking rythmn we might have built up) and had a player sent off. While it was simulation it was still a stupid tackle.

    One other small note…it’s Julian de Guzman…not Juan.

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