Canada are ready to face the reigning Concacaf champions Mexico when the two sides meet in the 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup Semifinals on Thursday night in Houston. With a spot in the Concacaf Gold Cup Final on the line, Canada will look to continue their positive momentum from the 2021 group phase and a 2:0 win over Costa Rica in the Quarterfinals.
“It’s a great opportunity for this group of players to experience a Concacaf Gold Cup Semifinal against the tournament favourites Mexico,” said John Herdman, Canada Soccer’s Men’s National Team Head Coach. “They’ve earned this opportunity and they’ll both enjoy and embrace the test.”
On Semifinals Thursday, USA will face Qatar at Q2 Stadium in Austin, TX (18.30 local / 19.30 ET / 16.30 PT) followed by Canada against Mexico at 21.15 local at NRG Stadium in Houston, TX (22.00 ET / 19.00 PT). All of Canada’s matches at the 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup are broadcast live on OneSoccer and fans will find extended coverage across Canada Soccer’s digital channels on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube featuring the hashtag #CANMNT.
Through four matches at the 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup, Canada have three wins with 10 goals scored and one clean sheet. Stephen Eustáquio and Cyle Larin (injured) lead Canada with three goals each while Junior Hoilett has two goals and both Theo Corbeanu and Jonathan Osorio have one goal each. Eustáquio is just the fourth Canadian to score in three different matches at a Concacaf Gold Cup tournament.
Alongside injuries, Canada will be without centre back and captain Steven Vitória as well as striker Lucas Cavallini for the Concacaf Gold Cup Semifinals, both ruled out for the knockout match through their accumulation of yellow cards.
“We’ve lost a few players for this game due to suspensions and injuries, but it has only served to strengthen the connection between the boys,” said Herdman. “They will need to be connected from whistle to whistle if they are to reach the Concacaf Gold Cup Final.”
Canada’s all-time record in the Concacaf Gold Cup knockout phase sits at six wins, two draws and four losses in 12 matches from 2000 to 2021. Canada’s Thursday Semifinals match against Mexico will the first head-to-head meeting in the knockout phase between the two nations since the 2000 Quarterfinals when Canada’s Richard Hastings scored the winner on a golden goal. In five all-time meetings between the two nations at the Concacaf Gold Cup, Canada have just the one victory against Mexico’s four between 1991 and 2019.
This year marks the fourth time that Canada have reached the Concacaf Gold Cup Semifinals since 2000, albeit the first time since 2007. Canada won their 2000 Semifinals match 1:0 over Trinidad and Tobago, were eliminated in 2002 on kicks from the penalty mark after a 0:0 draw with USA, and lost the 2007 Semifinals 1:2 to USA.
Incidentally, this year marks just the second time that Canada, Mexico and USA – the co-hosts for the 2026 FIFA World Cup™ – have all reached the Concacaf Gold Cup Semifinals in the same year (2007 and 2021). Along with Qatar, the four Concacaf Gold Cup Semifinalists are in fact hosts to the next two FIFA World Cups in 2022 and 2026.
The 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup provides an important opportunity for Canada’s young and exciting players to gain valuable international experience. Of the 23 players called into Canada’s team for the 2021 edition, 13 players have featured in 10 or less international “A” matches, including Maxime Crépeau and Kamal Miller who just made their 10th appearances in the Concacaf Gold Cup Quarterfinals.
Through 15 editions of the Concacaf Gold Cup, this year marked just the second time Canada opened with back-to-back wins in the group phase, the first time Canada qualified to the knockout phase with one match remaining, and the first time Canada qualified for the knockout phase at three successive Concacaf Gold Cups (2017, 2019 and 2021).
For Canadian soccer fans, the Canada-Mexico match will be part of a “Late Night Double Feature” that is followed overnight by the Canada-Brazil Olympic Quarter-finals match in Rishu, Japan (04.00 ET / 01.00 PT on Friday 30 July).
CANADA SOCCER’S MEN’S NATIONAL TEAM PROGRAM:
Canada Soccer’s Men’s National Team are two-time Concacaf champions, previously winning the 1985 Concacaf Championship and 2000 Concacaf Gold Cup. This year marks Canada’s 15th participation at the Concacaf Gold Cup since 1991. Along with their first-place finish in 2000, Canada reached the Semifinals in 2002 and 2007. Across the past five years from 2017 to 2021, Canada are one of only four nations that have finished top-six across all three Concacaf major tournaments: fifth place in Concacaf Nations League A and sixth place at both the 2017 and 2019 Concacaf Gold Cups.
Beyond the Concacaf Gold Cup, Canada will participate in the Concacaf Final Round of FIFA World Cup Qualifiers from September 2021 to March 2022, with 14 matches against seven different nations (home and away against each opponent). Canada opens the Final Round in September with home matches against Honduras (Thursday 2 September) and El Salvador (Wednesday 8 September) as well as an away match against USA (Sunday 5 September in Nashville, TN, USA).
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