RS Posted June 15, 2004 Share Posted June 15, 2004 No mention of Watson in the holding midfield spot... KINGSTON, Ont. (CP) - Coach Frank Yallop has named six new starters for Wednesday's World Cup qualifying rematch with Belize, delivering on his pledge to give all of his players a run-out after spending three weeks in camp with the national team. "It's a great opportunity for them to play and stake their claims for the games in August," said Yallop, referring to the next round of CONCACAF qualifying. "They are still places to be had," he added. The lineup shuffle is also good for team morale, something Yallop has already shown he is adept at building. And Yallop can afford to make changes, with the series against Belize all but won already. Only goalkeeper Lars Hirschfeld is not scheduled to see action and that's because he is resting a sore back, a hangover from the end of last season with Tottenham. He will be on the bench for Wednesday's game. With a 4-0 lead over the part-timers from Belize, Canada should have little problem finishing the job. "I imagine the result should be the same if not higher, because Belize wasn't really a worthy opponent," said fullback Ante Jazic, who gets the night off Wednesday." And for those keeping score, the second leg is officially an away match for Canada. It was supposed to be held in Belize but the Belize Football Federation asked for the game to be played here instead. Away goals count double in the unlikely event of a tie. So even if Canada notched just one goal Wednesday, Belize would have to pot six to win. Just getting one would be a major accomplishment for the visiting amateurs, rated 180th in the world by FIFA to Canada's No. 95. Expect the Canadians to score and then score some more. They had 20 shots Sunday and missed many good chances. It is unlikely they will be as wasteful a second time against such inferior opposition. "Now we know we can create chances and score. I think you'll see a more relaxed group," Yallop said of his players. Captain Pat Onstad starts again in goal with Jason deVos and Kevin McKenna in central defence flanked by Mike Klukowski and Daniel Imhof. Jim Brennan and Patrice Bernier start on the wings with Atiba Hutchinson and Marc Bircham (in a more defensive role) in the centre of midfield. Tomasz Radzinski and Dwayne De Rosario will play up front. While the finishing was sub-par Sunday, the Canadians did stroke the ball around a bumpy, greasy pitch - albeit against disorganized opposition. The Belizeans, whose main strategy seemed to be to kick the ball out or just kick a Canadian, will not be encouraged to hear that Yallop believes his team can move the ball better. Some Canadian players took umbrage at game reports Sunday that focused on the missed chances rather than the final result, noting 4-0 is nothing to sneeze at. They may have a point. In its 255-match international history, Canada has only ever scored four goals or more 13 times - and 11 of those were prior to 1993. Sunday's four-goal haul was only the second in 103 matches for Canada (Libya was beaten 4-2 in February 2003). And there are plenty of positives to report. While it is early days yet, it looks like this Canadian team can deliver some attractive football. It also has some real teeth with Radzinski, De Rosario, Paul Peschisolido, and Iain Hume. And big men like Jason deVos and McKenna are definite threats from set pieces. "Now we have some real weapons up front," said Jazic. "We want to play football. It's not just lump it (knock it forward), see what happens and defend well. Now we can actually think about getting at teams, attacking teams and trying to play our own style. . . . It should be interesting." Players like Brennan and Stalteri bring speed on the flanks and can inject instant offence. Young midfielder Julian de Guzman shows signs of real class while Daniel Imhof could be the glue that helps hold together the back four behind him. Morale is high. Star players like Radzinski are committed to the cause. The squad seems to genuinely enjoy each other's company. And the players took real pleasure in the warm reception they received Sunday, their first home game in almost four years. With Edmonton already confirmed as a venue for second-round qualifying, Western Canadian soccer fans will be able to show their support once Belize has been dispatched. Depth, especially in defence, could be a problem. But Yallop says he has more players to scout in Europe and the A-League. Notes: Midfielder Julian de Guzman, who has one year left on his contract in Germany with Hannover 96, is in negotiations to move to Bayer Leverkusen ... Goalkeeper Lars Hirschfeld said Scotland's Kilmarnock is among the clubs interested in him. His major concern is finding a club where he can be No. 1 and get to play. ... In exchange for getting Belize's home game, the Canadian Soccer Association paid for the Belize delegation's trip here. The Canadians even bought some shin pads for the team. Belize will get a portion of the gate if a certain attendance is reached. Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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