Sports

VAN DIEST: Canada hope to make Commonwealth Stadium a fortress for World Cup qualifiers

Canada host Costa Rica on Nov. 12, and Mexico on Nov. 16, at Commonwealth Stadium the place over 40,000 tickets have been offered for every recreation

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John Herdman hopes to have his Canadian males’s nationwide soccer crew effectively acclimated to its environment in Edmonton for 2 essential qualifying video games on the street to the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

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Canada host Costa Rica on Nov. 12, and Mexico on Nov. 16, at Commonwealth Stadium the place over 40,000 tickets have been offered for every recreation.

The video games will probably be performed on a man-made floor put in particularly for the 2015 FIFA Ladies’s World Cup, which is now predominantly utilized by the Edmonton Elks of the CFL.

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“That’s been an enormous a part of going into Edmonton, that we will acclimate over two matches the place we will expertise the circumstances, the stadium and the turf,” Herdman stated in a media availability Friday. “By way of the coaching setting we get to coach on that daily, which is often unparalleled when getting ready for internationals.

“And we get to play two matches on it. So by way of the sport in opposition to Mexico, we’ll be fairly battle hardened in that setting and prepared for them.”

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Canada Soccer scheduled the 2 video games in Edmonton to attract a big crowds and make issues uncomfortable for its opponents. Early temperature forecast for the sport subsequent Friday is a daytime excessive of 2C and low of -8C. By kickoff (9 p.m. ET), temperatures are anticipated to dip under freezing.

“I met with the groundskeeper two weeks in the past and talked to him for an excellent hour concerning the turf,” Herdman stated. “He’s a passionate fellow who’s an immigrant from Poland and is completely soccer daft, so I used to be loving it.

“He’s going to do the whole lot he can to verify the turf goes to be good for Canada. So we’re excited, we’re going to get acclimated and we really feel like the town is behind us, the Edmonton Oilers have opened their doorways and given us entry to a few of their amenities, and it’s an thrilling time for us coming into Edmonton.”

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Herdman introduced his roster Friday for the approaching qualifiers, which incorporates the return of beginning goalkeeper Milan Borjan and the inclusion of England-born striker Ike Ugbo, who just lately dedicated to play internationally for Canada.

Edmonton-raised product Alphonso Davies may also return to the town for the primary time as an expert.

“I used to be there (in Edmonton) in 2015 for the Ladies’s World Cup and that second when Christine Sinclair scored within the 91st minute (in opposition to China), it was a tremendous expertise,” Herdman stated. “There was a sea of purple and it felt like a fortress.

“If you go to Edmonton, you genuinely really feel the entire metropolis is behind you; that’s how you are feeling from the minute we arrived two weeks in the past for the positioning visits that everybody needs to assist the crew and you may see that followers aren’t any completely different. Moving into that stadium and doubtlessly feeling 50,000 folks at your again, I’m certain it’s what Phonzie has dreamed of and for a lot of of those gamers. I don’t know in the event that they’ve performed in entrance of fifty,000 Canadians.”

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Canada is at present third within the Concacaf last qualifying group standings. The highest three of eight groups after 14 video games earn a berth into the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, whereas the fourth-place finisher advances to a home-and-home playoff with a crew from one other area for an extra spot within the match.

Canada has not certified for a males’s World Cup since its solely look in 1986 in Mexico. They’ll doubtless earn an automated berth as co-hosts with the US and Mexico for the 2026 match. Edmonton is within the working to be one of many venues for the 2026 World Cup.

“We now have to get our efficiency proper first and we’ve to convey our depth,” Herdman stated. “We now have to look to personal the bottom that we’re on, and doing that’s about taking part in our method. If we play our method then the followers include us. If we present our dedication, the followers include us.

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“It’s occurred in Toronto within the final three matches we’ve performed there and there’s a nice alternative for the folks of Edmonton to be a part of historical past.”

ANOTHER PIECE OF PUZZLE

Getting Ugbo, 23, to decide to Canada is a commendable achievement for Herdman and his workers, contemplating all choices for the previous England youth worldwide.

Ugbo got here up via the Chelsea system in London and will have dedicated to play for England, Nigeria or Canada on the senior degree, having spent a part of his youth in Ontario. Ugbo is at present taking part in in Belgium with Okay.R.C. Genk.

“Ike is an thrilling prospect, we’re getting him becoming a member of us along with his greatest years forward of him,” Herdman stated. “He was in fantastic type for Brugge final yr and he acquired an enormous transfer to Genk and I feel the conversations I’ve had with him and his folks, they’re anticipating him to have an enormous season in the direction of the tip of this yr and subsequent yr and construct a profession just like Jonathan David.

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“He’s somebody whose star goes to maintain constructing, and for Canada it’s simply extra depth. You’ve see via this qualification pathway that three video games within the (worldwide) window is difficult for gamers.”

Ugbo performed for the England Below-17 and Below-20 nationwide groups, however he would have been in robust to crack the senior crew lineup. He was additionally eligible to play for Nigeria via his father.

“The truth of it’s, if a participant can play for a much bigger affiliation, plenty of these gamers and brokers it’s concerning the {dollars} first, that is what I’m studying; it’s a brief profession and so they have to maximise their earnings throughout that time frame,” Herdman stated. “Then when these alternatives form of diminish that’s the place you’ve gotten actual conversations (about taking part in for Canada) and I used to be capable of have actual conversations with Ike fairly just lately and it’s been for the betterment of this nation.”

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E mail: dvandiest@postmedia.com

On Twitter: @DerekVanDiest

CANADA ROSTER

GK – Milan Borjan | SRB / FK Crvena zvezda (Crimson Star Belgrade)
GK – Maxime Crépeau | CAN / Vancouver Whitecaps FC
GK – James Pantemis | CAN / CF Montréal
CB – Derek Cornelius | GRE / Panetolikos FC
CB – Doneil Henry | KOR / Suwon Samsung Bluewings
CB – Kamal Miller | CAN / CF Montréal
CB – Steven Vitória | POR / Moreirense FC
FB – Samuel Adekugbe | TUR / Hatayspor FC
FB – Alistair Johnston | USA / Nashville SC
FB – Richie Laryea | CAN / Toronto FC
M – Stephen Eustáquio | POR / FC Paços de Ferreira
M – Atiba Hutchinson | TUR / Beşiktaş JK
M – Mark-Anthony Kaye | USA / Colorado Rapids
M – Jonathan Osorio | CAN / Toronto FC
M – Samuel Piette | CAN / CF Montréal
M – David Wotherspoon | SCO / St. Johnstone FC
F – Tajon Buchanan | USA / New England Revolution
F – Lucas Cavallini | CAN / Vancouver Whitecaps FC
F – Jonathan David | FRA / Lille OSC
F – Alphonso Davies | GER / FC Bayern München
F – Cyle Larin | TUR / Beşiktaş JK
F – Liam Millar | SUI / FC Basel
F – Iké Ugbo | BEL / KRC Genk

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