Canada Qualifies for World Cup

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For the first time in 36 years, Canada’s men’s national soccer team is going to the World Cup. Canada defeated Jamaica 4-0 at BMO Field in Toronto in front of about 30,000 fans on a snowy and windy afternoon on March 27.

“We all dreamed of this as little kids,” said Jonathan Osorio after the game in an on-field interview with OneSoccer.

The result was never in any doubt as Canada started very strongly and took the lead in the 13th minute as Cyle Larin scored his 24th goal for his country—the most in the history of all Canadian men.

Larin converted a pass from Stephen Eustaquio that came right down the centre of the Jamaican defence.

Tajon Buchanan added a second goal just before halftime. He slammed home a shot with his right foot at close range after collecting a cross. 

In the second half, Canada got a goal from Junior Hoilett and an own-goal from Jamaica after a cross from Sam Adekugbe was redirected into the Jamaican goal.

A notable change to the lineup that lost in Costa Rica on March 24 was the addition of Hoilett as a play-making midfielder. The player of Jamaican descent was instrumental in the creative role for Canada.

Adekugbe was another impact addition and he dominated the left flank. He returned from suspension, having missed the game in Costa Rica, and excelled at driving toward the Jamaican goal and feeding the strikers.

The score could have been even more lopsided as Canada generated numerous clear-cut scoring opportunities but could not always convert. Jamaica fielded a less than full-strength squad.

Atiba Hutchinson, 39, and a Canadian soccer legend, made a substitute appearance in the second half. 

“It’s very special,” Hutchinson said. “Our fans today are unbelievable.” He thanked the support that has stuck with them throughout the entire World Cup qualification cycle.

The “Kings of the North” had plenty of fan support with thousands of Canadian flags waiving and fans loudly chanting all match long. It was a celebration of the sport and how far Canada has come. Canada will get to face the strongest countries in the world in Qatar.

The last time Canada qualified for the World Cup came in September 1985 in a match played in St. John’s, Newfoundland. Back then, Canada defeated Honduras 2-1 to qualify for the Mexico 1986 World Cup.

Canada plays its final World Cup qualification match on March 30 in Panama, ahead of the April 1 draw that will determine which three teams Canada will face in the group stage in Qatar. The World Cup starts on Nov. 21 and runs until Dec. 18.

Follow Rahul on Twitter @RV_ETSports

Rahul Vaidyanath

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Rahul Vaidyanath is a journalist with The Epoch Times in Ottawa. His areas of expertise include the economy, financial markets, China, and national defence and security. He has worked for the Bank of Canada, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp., and investment banks in Toronto, New York, and Los Angeles.





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