“Destiny is in our hands,” Herdman said as Canada prepared to end its World Cup drought

The inevitable question of whether he had raised St. John’s in 1985 was asked John Herdman, when the Canadian head coach spoke to the national sports media Saturday via Zoom from BMO Field in Toronto.

“Yeah, I had a great time,” Herdman said.

Canada last qualified for the men’s soccer World Cup with a 2-1 win over Honduras in the capital Newfoundland with a goal from the ever-opportunistic Victorian George Pakos helping propel the national team to Mexico 1986. Canada has not been back since Pakos scored two of Canada’s four goals. in the final qualifying round. But the resurgent national team can seal today’s trip to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar with a fine result against Jamaica (1pm PT on Sportsnet) in the penultimate match of the CONCACAF qualifying final round.

“We’re not there yet. This will require hard work. Nothing will be given away,” Herdman said.

“We can do something extraordinary and define what Canada is. A group of men will take Canada to the World Cup. We have to show intensity and why we are No. 1 in CONCACAF. We have to find a way to get the ball into the back of the net.”

A group of former players, including Pakos and Jamie Lowery who played at the 1986 World Cup, will gather at Sticky Wicket to watch the game, as they have done for all qualifying matches. Lowery said it was important for Canada to win at home, as was the case with St. John’s voted the coldest place to be found in September 1985, and didn’t let it go until Tuesday in Panama and another game down the road at CONCACAF.

“People in Europe don’t know what happened at CONCACAF,” said Lowery, who dropped out of Port Alberni and UVic Vikes to mark French great Michel Platini in the opening game of the 1986 World Cup.

“CONCACAF officials are so useless and pathetic. It’s a shame for me, as someone who loves sport and wants to see him develop here, that the Costa Rican player didn’t get a yellow card for his jewellery. [in the 1-0 loss on Thursday in Costa Rica after Mark Anthony-Kaye’s red card]. That’s why we can’t sell this sport in North America.”

Through it all there seems to be an inescapable atmosphere that after today one need not point to Pakos, Lowery, fellow Island player Ian Bridge, former Canada captain and recently retired UVic Vikes coach Bruce Wilson and the strong Bob Lenarduzzi as among one another. the only class to play for Canada in the World Cup. It was a coat they only wanted to take off after 36 years.

“It is time. I believe we will get results [today] against Jamaica and don’t just settle for a draw or another result,” Lowery said. “The mindset of the national team now is to go out onto the pitch to win.”

Everyone who cares about football in the country thinks about the time Canada led the CONCACAF qualifying final 7-1-4, three points clear of traditional regional powers Mexico and the USA. The top three advance to the Qatar 2022 World Cup in November. The fourth place finisher will meet the Oceania team in the last chance of qualifying.

“I tried to visualize it,” said Canada midfielder Stephen Eustáquio, of a potential qualifying moment.

“The whole country is playing [today]not just us.”

A draw for Canada against Jamaica would have done it, as would a lucrative loss to Canada in other fixtures. But this is a team that wants to get ahead.

“It doesn’t become [in Costa Rica]. It’s our star to do this at home,” Herdman said.

“Destiny is in our hands.”

Hadwin Floyd

"Coffee enthusiast. Hipster-friendly social media fanatic. Certified zombie expert. Problem solver."

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