Q & A with Benito Floro
Looking ahead on Canada’s road to the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™, Canada Soccer’s Men’s National Team Head Coach Benito Floro spoke about the team’s recent camp in Austria and the players’ individual preparations before Canada meet again in late August 2016.
In this CONCACAF semi final round, either Canada, El Salvador, or Honduras will escape Group A to advance to the “Hex” – the final six-nation round that will qualify three nations to Russia and send one nation into an intercontinental playoff against Asia’s fifth-best nation. To get to the Hex, Canada will need to finish second in their group behind Mexico, with upcoming matches away against Honduras on 2 September and at home against El Salvador on 6 September.
Q: How are you and the staff following the players in July and August before the next 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ Qualifiers?
BF: We are always monitoring our Men’s National Team players and their performances with their professional clubs. As part of the overall monitoring program and review of established performance indicators, we use a number of methods including online programs, television, live scouting, club contacts, and the personal contact points with all players.
Q: Looking back on June, was the camp in Austria successful in preparing the team for September?
BF: Yes, our June camp was very successful for a number of reasons. For one, we were pleased with the scores and results against international opponents. The players’ intention to develop the tactical subjects we proposed – with an eye towards September – was also very good.
Q: What was the most pleasing aspect of the camp in June?
BF: The most pleasing aspect was the positive mentality of the players as we prepare for Honduras in September. It was the mindset of all the players as it relates to the implementation of our overall strategies as well as the positive anticipation for the upcoming FIFA World Cup™ Qualifiers.
Q: How important is the players’ individual preparations in July and August?
BF: It will be very important. Our players know that their performances in their club environments are integral to their overall physical preparation, whether they are in pre-season or mid-season with their clubs. They must aim to get in the best level of physical condition possible.
Q: When camp opens in late August, how will the team prepare for the match in Honduras?
BF: We will only have a short window with the players in late August, just a few days for practising tactical matters and preparing a positive mentality. As we have done in previous camps, the staff will ensure we are focused, efficient, and detailed in our work ethic so that we can continue to have a positive environment for the players.
Q: How will the team prepare for the afternoon heat and full stadium in San Pedro Sula?
BF: The temperature will be the same for both teams and the spectators do not play on the pitch. For Canada, it matters that we are intelligent in administrating our energy appropriately. For our players to have a good mentality will help a lot.
Q: How are the players using their last trips to San Pedro Sula to motivate them this time? What motivation can they draw from their victory in Vancouver?
BF: Each game provides a different story. The (2012) match in Honduras was an accident. Since then, we have turned the page and beat Honduras in Vancouver. It was very difficult. They already know it, so we need to focus on the present and the present group of players.
Q: How important will it be to have the home side at BC Place behind you for the last match against El Salvador?
BF: Yes, we can say that it is always better to play at home, but it all depends on the score against Honduras. As such, we are taking our preparations one moment and one match at a time.
Tickets for the crucial Canada v El Salvador 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ Qualifier are on sale now via canadasoccer.com/tickets starting at just $25 (plus applicable fees). A special ME+3 discount offer on ticket four-packs is available in select sections while groups of 10 or more are eligible for discounts of up to 30% off regularly priced tickets. In addition, BC Place Club Seats are available for fans looking for a premium match day experience and include a complimentary Canada Soccer scarf with each ticket.
Canada Soccer outlines return to soccer guidelines. The return to soccer guidelines provide member organizations with a five-step process, including a checklist of weighted questions known as the Return to Soccer Assessment Tool.