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Canadian collapse: a better border rivalry will have to wait

Oct 17, 2012, 9:25 AM EDT

Canada flag

Our neighbors to the south cruised through semifinal round qualifying the way I cruise through a plate of delicious enchiladas.

In fact, Mexico could have given me and 10 other journalists citizenship and dispatched us to compete in the country’s final World Cup semifinal round qualifier. No matter how terrible the beating, the Mexicans still would have moved into next year’s final round; They had booked passage with a game to spare.

But not our northern neighbors. Not by a long, long way.

Canada went into Honduras yesterday in need of a tie to move on. As I wrote before, I had hoped that the Canadians could move into final round qualifying, the better to add some regional diversity to the field and tick up the interest on both sides of the U.S.-Canadian border.

Well, what a swing and a miss this was. And that’s being kind. You might even call this a collapse of the very worst kind, an 8-1 loss in San Pedro Sula, Honduras.

The sackings and recriminations are ahead. Believe it. Manager Stephen Hart has already said that he doesn’t expect to be forgiven for this one.

So, let the media excoriations begin!  You’ll find a lot of words like “humilation,” feeble” and “surrender” in that one. Not surprisingly, of course.

Perhaps this can be the moment that Canadian soccer, an enduring underachiever in the game, needs to finally pull its head from its royally mounted … well, you know.

It was the second worst defeat ever for Canada’s national soccer team. The only worse thrashing came in the 1993 Gold Cup, where the stakes were significantly smaller.

This is Canada’s low-water mark. Let’s hope they can fill up the tributaries and streams and build this thing back up.

  1. jakerueter - Oct 17, 2012 at 9:48 AM

    Not sure how much of a read you have on this, Steve, but is a monster defeat like this actually better than a narrow defeat in the long run for the Canadian program? From my perspective (knowing very little about the Canadian team) a close loss may have led to a “oh well, we were close” response while a drubbing like this may be enough to light a fire under those involved in Canadian soccer from top to bottom?

    • Steve Davis - Oct 17, 2012 at 10:50 AM

      Absolutely. There can be no spin on a loss like this one. (Yes, Canada was missing a couple of important players … but not “seven-goal margin” important!) So, I 100 percent agree, this kind of shellacking has enough critical mass to demand attention.

  2. manutebol - Oct 17, 2012 at 11:36 AM

    to call canada “underachievers” is to buy into their propaganda. yes it is propaganda. these are the same people who think they won the war of 1812 (lol). they are not underachievers they achieve exactly as much as they should.

  3. dawgpound77 - Oct 17, 2012 at 12:00 PM

    I was hoping Canada would qualify for one main reason…as a big USMNT supporter living in Cleveland, a US-Canada qualifier in Toronto would have been awesome. Oh well, still hoping for a return trip to Columbus!

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