Canadian World Cup Dream Still AliveEven without De Rosario, Canada fights for place in the hexagonal and for the dream of Brazil 2014
by Henrik Lonne | Wednesday, October 10, 2012
While the buzz is not the same as last time Canada played in CONCACAF World Cup Qualifiers, the games are equally important.
The Canadian men still control their future, but with a tough road game against Honduras, fans of the team will have to look at the results of both the upcoming Panama and Honduras games in order to make sense of Canada’s chances.
While it is obviously a huge blow to have Dwayne De Rosario out with injury, this is largely unchanged from last time, so the Canadian players know each other’s weaknesses and strengths well enough to succeed.
One player I’ll miss, however, is Lucas Cavallini. He's young, but I think he could benefit from being part of the camp. And since young talented forwards aren’t ripe for the picking in Canada, the national team should try its best to integrate the few that there are.
What is there to expect from these next two matches?
Canada must beat Cuba. Period. Canada has better players competing at a higher level, so there should be more uncertainty about the number of Cubans defecting than about the result. It'll be interesting to see whether or not the Canadians will produce goals, something that they have failed to do recently.
Scoring goals will be important since Honduras currently has a better goal differential than Canada, in part thanks to a 3-0 away win over Cuba.
More so than the Cuba match, the following game in Honduras will decide the future of Canada’s dreams of the hexagonal phase and the World Cup. Canada will need at least a draw to progress, though this will, of course, depend on the results of the Cuba-Canada and Panama-Honduras games.
To Canada’s benefit, Honduras is without its captain and goalkeeper Noel Valladares and Sporting Kansas City midfielder Roger Espinoza. While the Canadian players will have to bring their A-game to get the necessary result, it does help that Honduras is missing some of their key players.
If Canadian supporters want to reduce their risk of heart attacks during the Honduras game, they should support Panama all they can against Honduras. Panamanian success means Canada could progress, even with a narrow victory against Cuba and a 0-0 result in Honduras.
Qualifying for the hexagonal should also help convince Queen Park Rangers’ David ‘Junior’ Hoilett, who is eligible to play for Canada or Jamaica, to play for the Canadians, especially if Jamaica doesn’t make it through to the next round.
With De Rosario returning, and Hoilett possibly siding with the Canadians, this would be a boost for the team’s chances moving forward.
I might be naïve, but I actually think this can happen. While the Canadians aren’t going to win the World Cup anytime soon, they do have quality players. And the key for head coach Stephen Hart is to finally make the sum of the Canadian team more than its parts.
No, actually just make it the actual sum of its parts.
NEXT UP: Canada vs Cuba, Oct. 12, 7:30 p.m. EST from BMO Field in Toronto.