World news – The Canadian soccer team is trying to take another step towards the Tokyo Olympics


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Given the circumstances, Canada put in an impressive performance in its opening match at the Concacaf Men’s Olympic Qualifier.

After a little more than a week together and with players still trying to shake off the rust of a four-month layoff, Canada defeated El Salvador 2-0 on Friday in the first of three group games of the eight-team in Guadalajara, Mexico.

A second win against Haiti on Monday would secure Canada a place in the semi-finals and bring it a pre-qualification victory for the men’s Olympic tournament for the first time since 1984.

« It’s about the history and the legacy we leave behind, and that this group was shown what they can achieve here, « said Canada’s head coach Mauro Biello on Sunday. “The Olympic Games are a unique opportunity. It’s more than an event, it’s a transformative experience.

“I told the group that we as a group and as a country have a chance. It’s about making history because there is no other (Canadian) youth team that has ever achieved this in order to qualify for the Olympics. That is the goal, but we know we still have a lot to do. “

Since Canada qualified for the 1984 Los Angeles Games, the Olympic tournament has turned into an U23 tournament. Teams are allowed to add three overaged players to the roster after qualifying.

Canada took 20 U-23 players to the qualifying tournament in Mexico, but did not have access to some of its top talent in the age group – including Alphonso Davies ( 20) and Jonathan David, 21.

A COVID-19 outbreak at Toronto FC’s training facility earlier this month also prevented eligible MLS players from joining the Canadian squad in Mexico.

Regardless, two goals from Tajon Buchanan (22), who plays for the New England Revolution, gave Canada the win in their opening game.

Haiti lost their first game 3-0 against Honduras. The United States, Mexico, Costa Rica, and the Dominican Republic belong to the other group. The two best teams in each group advance to the semi-finals. The finalists qualify for Tokyo.

« If you look at the mindset (versus El Salvador) I think we got that right, » said Biello. “We were ready to suffer because we knew we would suffer in this game. For example, if you look at a player in Tajon Buchanan who has scored two goals and then in the 90th minute is ready to run back 60 yards and help his teammate play defensively.

“If you look at that and what that means for other players and how that sends a message. I think the group as a whole, we defended well, we were very compact, very organized.

“We knew that the heat and all these other things were limiting our ability to do the things we do wanted to. Whether that should keep pushing high in a game like this could have hurt us. I think we stuck to the schedule, managed our moments properly and I was very proud of it. “

Although Canada didn’t have much time to practice together, they tried to play a possession game against El Salvador that built out of their backs. The strategy worked as Buchanan scored a goal 17 minutes before the start of the game after a strong individual effort and added a second four minutes later.

Canada could have scored three or four goals in the game and were at a muggy 30 ° to win C-Terms fully responsible.

« I think the first game of a tournament is always the most important game, » said Buchanan. “We wanted to come out and show what we can do and bring that fighting energy. I think everyone played their role, played their roles and everyone worked hard and we are ahead of the game and that is the most important thing. « 

A win against Haiti would earn Canada enough points in two games to reach one of the four semi-finals. It would play for placement in its third game against Honduras with a win over Haiti Olympic berth would then likely run through either the United States or Mexico.

Haiti was overwhelmed by Honduras in the opening game. Haiti had to start the competition shortly before a player and without a regular goalkeeper due to COVID-19 protocols. </ The Haitians were delayed entering Mexico and had to wait for negative test results to allow their regular goalkeeper to enter the field and access to substitutes. There will be a full selection of players against Canada.

« Haiti is a very physical and athletic team, « said Buchanan. » They have people with a lot of speed on the front line. This game is going to be a big game for them, it’s basically to do or die.

« We just have to play our game and bring in the fighting power we had in game 1 and try to improve that. If we play our game and give it our all, we will undoubtedly have three points. “

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