Canada to face St. Vincent & the Grenadines

All 35 countries in the Confederation of North, Central American and Carribean Association Football (CONCACAF) have been drawn into their respective groups for the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Qualification. Canada will open their qualifications against Saint Vincent & the Grenadines in Stage Two with a home-and-home series in June 2008.



“I don’t think that you can take that game too lightly,” says Canadian head coach Dale Mitchell. “We will find out what they are all about (in the coming months). It’s good to know who you are going to play (because) a lot of teams don’t have that advantage.”

All 35 countries in the Confederation of North, Central American and Carribean Association Football (CONCACAF) have been drawn into their respective groups for the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Qualification. Canada will open their qualifications against Saint Vincent & the Grenadines in Stage Two with a home-and-home series in June 2008.



“I don’t think that you can take that game too lightly,” says Canadian head coach Dale Mitchell. “We will find out what they are all about (in the coming months). It’s good to know who you are going to play (because) a lot of teams don’t have that advantage.”



Prior to today’s draw in Durban, the Republic of South Africa, the 35 CONCACAF teams were split into two classes based on the May 2007 FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking (before the most recent CONCACAF Gold Cup). Canada and eleven other top-12 countries received a bye out of Stage One directly into Stage Two where they would meet a 13th to 35th-ranked country. The 13th-ranked country, Saint Vincent & the Grenadines, also received a bye out of Stage One, but only for the purpose of meeting a top-12 opponent. The 22 other countries (ranked 14th-35th) have to play each other in Stage One for the chance to meet a top-12 country in Stage Two.



At the draw, all 35 countries – top 12 and bottom 23 – were divided into three groups with four sub-groups. Canada, as it so happens, was drawn into Group/Sub-Group 2/D with Saint Vincent & the Grenadines. The winner of the Canada-Saint Vincent & the Grenadines two-match series in June 2008 will advance to Stage Three scheduled for August to November 2008. The winner of 2/D will play the winners of 2/A, 2/B and 2/C in a six-match round-robin tournament for the right to advance to Stage Four in 2009 (the Super Six).



“There has to be something about them (Saint Vincent & the Grenadines) for them to be a seeded team,” says Mitchell. “Beyond that, there will be three tough teams (in Group 2), which (we knew) there was always going to be.”



Should Canada advance from Sub-Group 2/D, they may likely face México (2/A), Jamaica (2/B) and Honduras (2/C). México, however, will have to defeat the winner of Belize vs. Saint Kitts and Nevis, Jamaica will have to defeat the winner of Bahamas vs. British Virgin Islands, and Honduras will have to defeat the winner of Dominican Republic vs. Puerto Rico.



Canada is currently the fourth-ranked country in CONCACAF according to the November 2007 FIFA/Coca-Cola World Rankings released earlier this week. Saint Vincent & the Grenadines, although ranked 13th in May 2007, are now ranked 9th amongst CONCACAF countries. Canada’s goal in 2008 is to advance through stages two and three to reach the CONCACAF Super Six round-robin tournament in 2009. From there, Canada will look to finish amongst the top-three countries that automatically qualify for the FIFA World Cup South Africa 2010.

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