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Loss to Costa Rica ends Canada's hopes (CP)


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Loss to Costa Rica ends Canadian soccer team's World Cup hopes


Jim Morris

Canadian Press

Friday, October 15, 2004

Canada's Tomasz Radzinski (9) gets past Costa Rica's Gilberto Martinez (5). (CP/Chuck Stoody)

BURNABY, B.C. (CP) - An inability to find their touch around the net and then to hold onto a lead resulted in Canada dropping a 3-1 decision to Costa Rica Wednesday night, ending the Canadians' hopes of advancing to the next round of qualifying for soccer's World Cup.

Canada went into the match knowing it had to win its final two games of the round-robin tournament, plus get some help from the other teams, to keep its flickering hopes of advancing alive.

Dwayne de Rosario gave Canada some early joy, staking the team to a 1-0, halftime lead. But once again Canada was unable to maintain the advantage and Costa Rica scored three times in the final 45 minutes for the win.

"You must make sure that you take your chances when they come along," said a dejected Canadian coach Frank Yallop.

"The lesson learned tonight is we couldn't score that second goal to make the difference in the game. It comes back to haunt you. At this level you've got to punish teams when you get the chance."

De Rosario was frustrated with Canada's second-half performance.

"Giving up goals is the problem," said the Toronto native who scored in the 12th minute when he fired a low, hard shot from about 28 yards out that bent around Costa Rican 'keeper Alvaro Mesen.

"We're giving up poor goals. When you basically give them goals after you work so hard to score, it's disappointing."

Paulo Wanchope, William Sunsin and Carlos Hernandez scored for Costa Rica, which has nine points from a (3-2-0) record, one back of Group B leader Guatemala (3-1-1).

The Guatemalans clinched a berth in the next round of qualifying with a 1-0 victory Wednesday over Honduras (1-1-3) at Guatemala City.

Wanchope, the former Manchester City striker who now plays in Spain, tied the match in the 49th minute. Canadian 'keeper Pat Onstad managed to stop Eric Scott's initial header but the ball bounced to the lanky striker who chipped it into the net.

Sunsin delivered the fatal blow in the 81st minute. With two Costa Rican players bearing down on him, Onstad charged out of the net. Sunsin managed to flick the ball around him, then fire it into the net.

Hernandez scored in the 87th minute, bending a free kick from just outside the box into the net.

The loss leaves Canada (0-3-2) last in the four-team group standings with two points and unable to overtake the leaders.

Only the top two countries advance to the final round of World Cup qualifying in CONCACAF, which covers North and Central America and the Caribbean.

Yallop, who took over the national team in January, said Canada remains on a learning curve.

"You have to grow as a team and learn from our mistakes," he said.

"Each time we play any games we learn from it. The harsh reality of it is we're learning in the qualifying of the World Cup."

A noisy crowd of 4,728 filled Swangard Stadium on a 15-degree night. The vocal Costa Rican supporters waved flags, blew horns and cranked noise markers. Canadian fans countered with chants of "Go Canada Go."

Desperate for a victory Canada was aggressive from the opening kickoff. Midfielders Sandro Grande and Tomasz Radzinski attacked like hungry dogs let loose at a barbecue.

Early in the game Grande, who plays for the A-League champion Montreal Impact, wired a shot that Mesen had to stop. Grande's hard-man style resulted in him receiving a yellow card after hauling down Steven Bryce in front of the Costa Rican bench.

Radzinski, the Toronto native who plays for Fulham of the English Premier League, showed his speed in the 24th minute when he outsprinted the Costa Rican defence and ran down a long ball. He sent a ball across the net, intended for an unmarked Julian de Guzman, but the keeper managed to break up the play.

Wanchope started the game on the bench then replaced striker Andy Herron in the 30th minute. Herron was shown a yellow card in the 20th minute after kicking a ball out of bounds in frustration. Earlier he had been knocked out of one of his golden shoes on a hard tackle.

Wanchope was responsible for the lone goal in Costa Rica's 1-0 victory over Canada last month in San Jose and scored three times in a 5-0 win over Guatemala on Saturday.

Canada opened the six-game, round-robin qualifying with a lacklustre 2-0 loss to Guatemala on Aug. 18 at Swangard Stadium.

The Canadians regrouped and improved their play, but some questionable officials calls and disallowed goals resulted in the team managing a loss and two ties in their next three games.

Scoring has been a problem with the Canadians who managed just two goals in the previous four games.

Canada finishes the round-robin with a Nov. 17 game in Guatemala.

© The Canadian Press 2004

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