Canada closes out Nations League qualifying with another win
There’s a lot to take out of Canada’s latest 4-1 victory over French Guiana, last Sunday at BC Place, in Vancouver. The win, Canada’s fourth in four qualifying games in the Concacaf Nations League, means that it qualifies for Group A of the Nations League, allowing John Herdman’s men to test themselves against the best teams on the continent.
“It was our main objective. It’s by playing the best teams that you accumulate points for the FIFA rankings and qualify to the Hex, the stage of World Cup qualifying in Concacaf,” said midfielder Samuel Piette. “It was important and we’re happy with what we achieved.”
It brings the Reds to five consecutive wins on the international stage, the second-longest streak in the country’s history. Even more importantly, it confirms their presence at this year’s Gold Cup, a tournament they are confident they can win this time after bowing out in the quarterfinals just two years ago.
“We have nothing else in mind than to go there and win it,” said Piette. “We did well two years ago, but now we have a team that’s clearly superior, so the main objective will be to get our hands on the trophy. It’s a large task, but I think we have the talent for it.”
Piette, a regular presence for the national team since he made his senior debut in 2012 at the tender age of 17, has seen the program transform before his eyes over the years, so much so that he recalled a time not too long ago when there were three or four players on the national side who didn’t play for a club.
Today, with youngsters like Jonathan David, Alphonso Davies, Ballou Tabla, and the Impact’s own Zachary Brault-Guillard breaking into the line-up before their 20th birthday, choosing a starting 11 has never been more difficult for those in charge of the men’s senior squad.
“The competition to be a part of this team is becoming more and more fierce, and that’s a good thing,” added Piette. “It means our players will push themselves more in their clubs to receive the call, and I think that’s what we need, for it to always be difficult to get the call-up.”
For Piette, a solid performance at the Gold Cup will set the squad up for achieving its next objective, which is to qualify for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
“There are a lot of new players in this group, and when John came, there were a lot of changes made to the culture and the mentality. Now, we want to face bigger teams and confirm what we’ve been doing with John for over a year now.”