Canada 3:1 El Salvador
A three-goal effort was not enough after Canada finished in third place in CONCACAF Group A of 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Qualifiers. Canada won 3:1 over El Salvador, but were eliminated after Honduras drew 0:0 away against Mexico in the other group match on the final night of the semi-final round.
Cyle Larin, Nik Ledgerwood, and David Edgar were the goal scorers as Canada pushed forward in an effort to close the goal difference against second-place Honduras. The match was played in front of a boisterous crowd of 20,726 at BC Place in Vancouver.
“I am really proud of them from the first day,” said Head Coach Benito Floro of Canada Soccer’s Men’s National Team. “Everything we proposed, they always did. I am very proud of our players.”
Just last year, the team set records for lowest goals against average at .043 per game and had a shutout streak of 564 minutes.
“You can see how much it meant to the guys,” said Tosaint Ricketts, Canada’s active leader in goals scored. “We left it all on the field and we gave it everything. I am proud of the guys, I am proud of the team. I am proud of the organisation and the steps we have taken through the whole cycle.”
Of the 43 Canadian players that dressed for 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Qualifiers, 23 of them were taking part in their first-ever cycle of FIFA World Cup Qualifiers, including Tuesday starters Scott Arfield, Doneil Henry, David Junior Hoilett, Manjrekar James, and Cyle Larin.
“The positive thing that we can draw from this cycle is the confidence that Benito has instilled in the young players,” said 21-year old Samuel Piette. “There are a lot of young players in this team, so the future looks good for us, for this team, for the program.”
Canada finished the CONCACAF semi-final round just one point back of second-place Honduras. Canada finished third with seven points following two wins, one draw, and three losses in six matches. Both Mexico (5W-1D-0L) and Honduras (2W-2D-2L) advanced to the CONCACAF Hex while both Canada and fourth-place El Salvador (0W-2D-4L) were eliminated.
Through three rounds of 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Qualifiers in 2015 and 2016, Canada finished with a strong record of five wins, two draws, and three losses. Canada scored 15 goals and conceded just nine in 10 matches. Over five home matches, there were 115,793 spectators from the three qualifying rounds, including a Canadian record 54,798 at BC Place on 25 March (the highest attendance for a national team home match – of any sport – ever played in Canada).
ROAD TO THE 2018 FIFA WORLD CUP RUSSIA
The 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ is the biggest single-sport event in the world. From 211 member associations from around the world, 32 finalists will qualify for the 32-day event that is played in 11 cities from 14 June to 15 July 2018.
From CONCACAF, six nations are still alive in the 2016-17 hexagonal round (the “Hex”). The six CONCACAF nations are Mexico, Honduras, Costa Rica, Panama, USA, and Trinidad and Tobago. From that final group of six, the top three nations will qualify for Russia 2018 and the fourth nation will advance to an intercontinental playoff.
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