Monday, July 09, 2007

Woe, Canada

Canada have crashed out of the U20 World Cup, losing 2-0 to Congo yesterday. They needed not only to beat the Congo but to score at least three goals to have a chance at qualifying for the round of 16, which was always going to be tough, considering that they hadn't managed to score in either of their first two games. This makes Canada officially the worst team in the tournament, because even New Zealand and Scotland, who also lost all three games, at least managed a goal or two along the way.

It's an incredibly disappointing result for the hosts, and you could see how devastated the players were last night. (I want to bake them all cookies, especially David Edgar and his stubble of manly angst.) But at least they played better in this game than they did against Austria. They put pressure on Congo right from the start and were creating a lot more chances; instead, the problem was lack of finishing, combined with a couple defensive lapses to let Congo in. And to make matters worse, they had goalkeeper Asmir Begovic sent off for a handball outside the box in the 73rd minute -- and having already used all their subs, had to put midfielder Jonathan Beaulieu-Bourgault in net. You have to give them credit for fighting it out, all the way to the final whistle, but I can't help wondering if they'd still be in the tournament if they'd played like this last week.

The other key game yesterday was Gambia upsetting Portugal 2-1. Portugal had already booked their place in the last 16, so they chose to rest a bunch of players, but unfortunately captain Bruno Gama wasn't one of them, and he's now out with a broken bone in his foot. Gambia also had a man sent off, but they went on to win the game and leapfrog Portugal into second place. That means that all four African teams have qualified for the next round, which is something to think about for all those people who keep predicting that an African team will win the World Cup by 2010.

So, here's the lineup for the next round of games:

Austria (A2) v. Gambia (C2)
Uruguay (B3) v. USA (D1)
Spain (B1) v. Brazil (D3)
Japan (F1) v. Czech (E2)

Zambia (B2) v. Nigeria (F2)
Argentina (E1) v. Poland (D2)
Mexico (C1) v. Congo (A3)
Chile (A1) v. Portugal (C3)

No comments: