Canadian players say faith is strong ahead of World Cup opening match against Belgium


While Canada is likely to go deep into the match against second-placed Belgium on Wednesday at the World Cup, team confidence looks strong ahead of the slump.

Veteran midfielder Jonathan Osorio told reporters after Sunday’s training session: “We don’t have hope anymore, we believe it. ‘And we’re very confident in ourselves’.

“We want to show that we are a footballing nation, that we can compete with the best teams in the world,” he added. “We wanted to surprise people because I think people still see us as the underdogs and things like this, and Canada and the World Cup, they should be happy to be here. But that’s not the heart. We’re here to compete — to compete at a high level.

“We believe in our team. With the quality we have and our brotherhood, we can go as far as we want.”

Midfielder Samuel Piette said Canada is enjoying the challenge that awaits

“I think in qualifying we played in a way that we weren’t afraid of and we wanted to do it on the biggest stage,” said the CF Montreal player. “We don’t want to back down. We want to go ahead and face Belgium.

“We just don’t want to sit back and enjoy the moment. and play game by game and say after ‘Oh yeah, it was a great experience, it’s great to be there’ and then we’ll come back. after four five.”‘

Only Cameroon (43rd), Ecuador (44th), Qatar (50th), Saudi Arabia (51st) and Ghana (61st) are below Canada at 41st out of 32 World Cup Stadium teams. .

But Canadians are riding a wave after a glittering qualifying campaign that was controversial during the pandemic. John Herdman’s men finished first in the CONCACAF finals, ahead of Mexico and the United States, with a record of 8-2-4 in their first participation in the tournament since Canada’s World Cup debut in 1986.

More recently, the Canadians got excited with a 2-1 win over No. 24 Japan in the tournament tuning final.

But the World Cup is still essentially uncharted territory. Canada is yet to score a goal or win on the sport’s biggest stage.

Belgium, who finished third four years ago in Russia, are on their 14th trip to the World Cup and will hit the 50-game mark at the tournament in their second match in Qatar. The Reds have 20 wins with 68 goals at the football showcase.

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“On any given day, any team can beat anyone,” he said. “If it falls on the right day, of course we can win.”

Piette said the Canadians have set their sights on this journey to the World Cup.

“We knew it was a long way from coming and we knew we had that opportunity to be the first team in a number of areas like being the first Canadian team to score, win a game, keep a clean sheet, progress to the next stage. follow,” he said. speak. “But you don’t realize all the fuss at home and around the team when you’re in there. The only thing you focus on is the preparation for that first game and what you need to do to get those first games in. that first thing.

“I think people are realizing slowly but surely that we are in the World Cup. But for us it is a football game and a football game that we want to win.. Yes, it’s a big task. We already knew that, but we said, “We’ll prepare for it. It’s part of our DNA, our identity, to always go ahead and fear no one. We showed it against the US, against Mexico, against Japan and why not do it with Belgium.”

After a Saturday morning workout, the Canadians move on to Sunday night training with a milder 24 degrees Celsius complete with a cool breeze.

Wednesday’s match against Belgium at Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium begins at 10pm local time.

The Canadian players trained as Ecuador beat Qatar 2-0 in Sunday’s tournament opener at Al Bayt Stadium, about 30 kilometers northeast of the Canadian training facility. This is the first time the World Cup host country has lost its opening match.

While Saturday’s Canadian training kick-off soundtrack features a Jamaican disco, Sunday’s playlist has a more African feel to it with songs by Nigeria’s Victony, Soundz and Joeboy, and Smallgod and Camidoh’s. Ghana and Kid AlpHa were born in Nigeria in London.

Before the Canadians entered the field, Herdman and his staff entertained themselves by kicking the ball around. And a small part of the desert has showers thanks to a powerful sprinkler system that caught some nearby photographers by surprise. .

Herdman used to run a Brazilian football school in his 20s in England, so he knows a few things. Perhaps sticking out his tongue a little, Canadian women used to refer to him as the Black Lightning during his days in charge of that team, a reference to both his tracksuit and ball.

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