Canada Men’s National Team defeated French Guiana 4:1 to earn a spot in the 2019 Gold Cup and a place in Group A of the 2019-20 Concacaf Nations League.
Canada started out strong, dominating possession from the outset of the match. Lucas Cavallini had Canada’s first look at the French Guiana net in the opening minute when his header went over the cross bar. Cavallini again in the fourth minute found himself in goal scoring position after a perfect through pass from Marc-Anthony Kaye, but Cavallini could only get his studs on the ball before the keeper closed in.
Canada took the lead in the 12th minute on a goal from Junior Hoillet whose strike, through the legs of his mark, deceived French Guiana’s keeper. French Guiana tied it up in the 26th minute when Kévin Rimane intercepted a short pass back to Canada’s Goalkeeper Milan Borjan as he was about to make contact, marking the first goal Canada has conceded since Herdman took over in January 2018.
Despite the set-back, Canada continued to dominate in the first half. Cavallini put Canada up in the 39th minute after Jonathan David got in behind the French Guiana defense. Cavallini and Kaye found themselves open in front of the net with David’s pass easily tapped past the sprawling keeper.
Jonathan David made it 3-1 for Canada in the 41st minute after he broke away from his mark on the right side with a touch of his head to move the ball forward before he slid the ball past the keeper.
“I think it was a good performance overall. We dominated the game in my opinion, and got four goals, but we could have scored more,” said Player of the Match Jonathan David. “Overall it was a good game and the team played well. This is a very important step because we are in a good spot in the competition and this is a good opportunity for us test ourselves against the best in our region, and play in more competitive matches that will better prepare us for the future.”
Lucas Cavallini got his second goal to open scoring in the second half on a strong header in the 50th minute to put Canada up 4-1. Canada’s goalkeeper Milan Borjan was tested in the 74th minute on a free kick from just outside the box was struck hard on net but made a strong save.
Line-up: Canada’s Starting XI featured veteran goalkeeper Milan Borjan in net, with Zachary Brault-Guillard, Derek Cornelius, Samuel Piette, and Doneil Henry anchoring the back-line. Jonathan Osario, Captain Atiba Hutchinson, and Mark-Anthony Kaye made up the midfield, while David “Junior” Hoilett, Jonathan David and Lucas Cavallini played up front.
Coach John Herdman subbed Russel Teibert for Jonathan Osario in 60th; Samuel Adekugbe for Captain Atiba Hutchinson in the 70th; and, Cyle Larin replaced Cavallini in the 78th minute. Junior Hoilett took over as Captain for Hutchinson when he was subbed.
CONCACAF NATIONS LEAGUE QUALIFYING
Canada posted a perfect international record with four wins and four clean sheets in 2018, a first for the Men’s National Team Program. Three of those wins were in Concacaf Nations League Qualifying, pushing Canada into third place in the 34-nation competition with nine points and +14 goals difference. In September, Canada set a national record with eight goals scored in a single match, an 8:0 away victory over US Virgin Islands. In October, Canada set a national record for the biggest goal difference in a home match, a 5:0 win over Dominica at BMO Field in Toronto.
Canada are two-time CONCACAF champions, having won the CONCACAF Championship in 1985 and the CONCACAF Gold Cup in 2000. In winning the 1985 CONCACAF Championship, Canada qualified for the 1986 FIFA World Cup Mexico™; in winning the 2000 CONCACAF Gold Cup, Canada qualified for the FIFA Confederations Cup Korea/Japan 2001.
Canada Soccer’s Men’s National Youth Teams, meanwhile, have won two CONCACAF titles: both the 1986 and 1996 CONCACAF Men’s Youth Championships. Canada have qualified for eight editions of the FIFA U-20 World Cup and six editions of the FIFA U-17 World Cup.