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Canada to play Spain, Luxembourg.....


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Canada to face Spain in high-profile soccer friendly in September

(CP) - Hola Canada. Out of the depths of its early Gold Cup exit, the Canadian men's soccer team can at least look forward to a high-profile match against Spain in the fall.

The Canadians, ranked 85th in the world, will visit the ninth-ranked Spanish on Sept. 3 in either Valencia or La Coruna. "A huge game," said coach Frank Yallop. Spain will be the second major European power Canada will have faced this year. Yallop's team was beaten 4-1 in Portugal, ranked ninth at the time, in March.

Canada is also coming off a 2-0 loss to the 10th-ranked Americans in the Gold Cup.

The friendly would serve as a warmup for the Spanish for a key World Cup qualifying game against Serbia and Montenegro on Sept. 7. Spain (3-0-4) currently leads Group 7, one point ahead of the Serbs (3-0-3).

The Canadians are also slated to play Luxembourg on Nov. 16. The tiny principality is ranked 155th in the world and currently languishes in the basement of Europe's Group 3 in World Cup qualifying with an 0-8-0 record.

Both Nov. 12 and 16 have been reserved for internationals on the FIFA calendar.

Canada is also making plans for October but Yallop said nothing has been confirmed yet.

Canada has only ever played Spain and Luxembourg once before. Canada won 2-0 in Luxembourg in October 1973 and lost 2-0 to Spain in Montreal in June 1994 in the buildup to the '94 World Cup in the U.S.

Yallop played in the game against Spain, as did Paul Dolan, Nick Dasovic and Colin Miller, all of whom now are involved in coaching with the Canadian Soccer Association. Carlo Corazzin, who also played that day, is a player-coach with the Vancouver Whitecaps.

Canada was coached at the time by Bob Lenarduzzi, who recalls a frantic schedule of five games in 12 days: against Morocco (1-1 in Montreal), Brazil (1-1 in Edmonton), Germany (2-0 loss in Toronto), Spain and the Netherlands (3-0 loss in Toronto).

The travel and schedule had taken its toll by the time Canada faced Spain. Lenarduzzi says the Canadians were "a little bit legless at that point."

Miguel Angel Nadal, a giant defender whose nephew is teenage tennis star Rafael Nadal, stood out for Spain.

"He was just a specimen. The guy was massive," recalled Lenarduzzi, now director of soccer operations for the Vancouver Whitecaps. "He played in the middle of the back. We'd play long balls out of the back and he'd be pulling balls down on his chest and just always looking real comfortable. He was a special player."

Spain scored in the ninth and 89th minutes at Claude Robillard Stadium. Canada had a Geoff Aunger goal called back for offside.

The Spaniards went on to make it to the quarter-finals of the '94 World Cup, losing to Italy.

Notes: Katie Thorlakson, a forward from Langley, B.C., who led the U.S. in scoring and helped Notre Dame to the NCAA title, lost out in voting for the ESPY Award as top female college athlete. Cat Osterman of the University of Texas softball team won. ... Philippe Eullaffroy, a 41-year-old who holds dual French and Canadian citizenship, has been named coach of the McGill men's soccer team. He succeeds Adam Mar, who stepped down to pursue post-doctoral research in neurology at the University of Cambridge. ... McGill forward Danielle Day and Western Ontario midfielder Eva Havaris will lead the Canadian soccer team next month at the 2005 World University Games in Izmir, Turkey. Day was CIS player of the year in 2004 while Havaris won the award in 2003.

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This is great! Three cheers for the CSA for trying to get friendlies on these upcoming international match dates. Nice to hear that they're working on something for October, in addition to these two matches that have been announced.

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I just noticed this as well,, good to see us keeping the national team active,, hopefully we can get some of the top European guys out for this one (Deguz, Stalteri, Radz??, Klukowski, Nsaliwa??) to play alongside our young core (Simpson, Hume, Atiba, Peters)

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This is great, but to be honest I don't think we can gain much from playing teams as good as Spain and, previously, Portugal, Czech Republic and Germany. While Luxembourg might be at the other extreme, at least it gives us the opportunity to work on possession, creating chances and actually scoring, which is always my main concern. Against Spain we'll be happy if we don't lose by much, limit their chances, get a few shots on goal ourselves and maybe score a lucky one, but how does that help us? I'd rather we play weaker teams as we are two years before the next GC and three years before the next WCQ, so let's build our foundation and then look for these types of friendlies later. That would be my approach, anyway.

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Guest Jeffery S.

Well I am gagging of course. It will be very tough being almost alone with my flag at this one, but it already feels beautiful. Any Euro-based Voyageurs game for a trip, Valencia esp would be cheap from England for example. Also very pleased it is a weekend.

If my memory serves Spain plays Serbia-M in Madrid. Their usual training site is Valencia, though after the last two WCQ matches where crowds were not up to expectations they could seek another site. Coruña would also be cooler for them (and for us).

I sure hope we can give them a good game, and especially that I don't have to hear how crappy we were from the Sp press.

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On FIFA.com it says that Luxembourg last won on September 6th 1995 against Malta 1-0!!!!! This was in preparation for EURO 1996. Since then they have played 67 matches, have had a few ties, but no wins. Northern Ireland even beat them 3-1 back in 2000. So its looking good for a few goals.

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quote:Originally posted by RJB

Furthermore, I'm curious what good it does the team to play games against these types of teams?

What good was the Portugal game to us? What good will Spain be?

Would you rather have no games???? I'd personally love to see how we match up against a team like Spain with a full squad. If I recall people were salivating about the line up we had when we played Belize, imagining we could compete with the best. We need to give ourselves a chance to get a result and start gaining momentum and confidence.

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about time :) now we are getting somewhere lets hope yallop can now find us a quality striker and well be well off to 2010 :) maybe rob friend will come and take out ocean and gerba cause they just suck proved it at the gold cup had tons of goals served on a silver platter

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Its good to see friendlies lined up. But I have to echo some of the earlier comments; The CSA has lined up a great deal friendlies over he past three or four years against teams that are of similar quality of a side like Spain. What we have learned is that we are not of the same league. It was great at first to view the our guys line up against the likes of Germany, Portugal, Czech republic ( even though it wasn't on TV) etc, but I am a little tired of trying to see our national team trying to bite off more than it can chew. I am begining to wonder if we really improve as a team playing against these kind of sides. Those loses to top euro cant help the confidence level.

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quote:Originally posted by Loud Mouth Soup

Would you rather we play the 176th ranked team and not have real competition? Would you rather we didn't experience the best teams in the world?

Some of you will never be happy...

I don't think that anyone is not happy to get these matches. Any friendly is better than no matches but we have played some some very high profile national sides over that past 3 years. It didn't really help us come WCQ. I am not sure that losing 5-1 to the czech repblic helped us. Except perhaps put more $$$$ in coffers for the CSA ( that might be the real motivation). Maybe we are better off playing a side similar in quality to Cuba, where the guys can get to play with the ball a little more and gain some confidence. Would it not make more sense to master the likes of Malta, Wales,Estonia and Finland before taking on Spain. The first the big profile game came against Switzerland and we won. But you could make a case that we have slipped a little each subsequent time out against these sides (Sco, Est, Ger, Fin, cze, Ire)

The good thing, at least they got Luxemborg as well.

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Well unless he's injured you have to expect Julian De Guzman to be there - I wonder if this match has anything to do with Julian "opening eyes" to Canada's existence. With both games played in Europe obviously this will be used to further groom together "Team 1" (consisting of the European players) - also the A-league players could be in the midst of the playoffs, not the greatest time to take them away from their team.

The last time we played a high profile friendly we got no tv coverage other than in select sports bars. Again, the onus is on Sportsnet to get the rights to this match.

As for those complaining about the Spain match (????), lets face it the main thing is to get the team more and more games together since we don't play enough, probably our biggest problem. Therefore it shouldn't matter who we play. And with our best players in Europe we are pretty well limited to who we can play against during the European season - European, North African and perhaps west Asian teams. We can hardly pick & choose on the basis of equal strength - if we play a minnow we play a minnow, if we get a powerhouse we play a powerhouse. Northern Ireland or Finland are only going to be available so many times.

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What DON'T you people complain about? There was a time, back around 2000, when the main bitching point of the Voyageurs was that the only friendlies we play are against the same old, mid-range CONCACAF nations. "We need European competition!", the cries went...

Five years later, and what are we complaining about?

"The European competition is too good!"

News flash! If you ever want to make it to the World Cup, heck, if you ever want to make it to the World Cup and not be embarrassed like in '86, then these are the teams we need to play.

If we're so scared of playing European powerhouses in FRIENDLIES, then why should we even try to qualify for the World Cup???

Oh I know, maybe we'll get drawn into a group with Trinidad & Tobogan, Switzlerland and Iran.

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quote:Originally posted by Alex

Would you rather have no games???? I'd personally love to see how we match up against a team like Spain with a full squad. If I recall people were salivating about the line up we had when we played Belize, imagining we could compete with the best. We need to give ourselves a chance to get a result and start gaining momentum and confidence.

Yes, yes, yes, I agree with that. But my point is, getting beaten soundly by a world class side is hardly a morale boost for the team. Would it not be a better team experience to play a side like Ireland, Scotland, Poland, Switzerland, Ecuador, or something along those lines?

They are still great sides, but not a super power that gives the team no hope.

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quote:Originally posted by JayWay

News flash! If you ever want to make it to the World Cup

If we're so scared of playing European powerhouses in FRIENDLIES, then why should we even try to qualify for the World Cup???

Actually, to qualify for the World Cup, we don't play the likes of Spain, Portugal, or Czech Republic. In order to qualify, we play CONCACAF opposition.

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quote:Originally posted by RJB

Yes, yes, yes, I agree with that. But my point is, getting beaten soundly by a world class side is hardly a morale boost for the team. Would it not be a better team experience to play a side like Ireland, Scotland, Poland, Switzerland, Ecuador, or something along those lines?

They are still great sides, but not a super power that gives the team no hope.

What difference does morale make when we're two years from any meaningful competition (WCQ or GC)?

Now is the time to get accustom to dealing with powerhouses (and not just by sitting back, but by taking the game to them). We have nothing to lose. Only everything to learn.

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quote:Originally posted by Free kick

I don't think that anyone is not happy to get these matches. Any friendly is better than no matches but we have played some some very high profile national sides over that past 3 years. It didn't really help us come WCQ. I am not sure that losing 5-1 to the czech repblic helped us. Except perhaps put more $$$$ in coffers for the CSA ( that might be the real motivation). Maybe we are better off playing a side similar in quality to Cuba, where the guys can get to play with the ball a little more and gain some confidence. Would it not make more sense to master the likes of Malta, Wales,Estonia and Finland before taking on Spain. The first the big profile game came against Switzerland and we won. But you could make a case that we have slipped a little each subsequent time out against these sides (Sco, Est, Ger, Fin, cze, Ire)

The good thing, at least they got Luxemborg as well.

Thank You. Someone who shares my opinion exactly.

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quote:Originally posted by RJB

Actually, to qualify for the World Cup, we don't play the likes of Spain, Portugal, or Czech Republic. In order to qualify, we play CONCACAF opposition.

Yeah, but who wants to qualify and then go home with no goals and our tails between our legs?

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As I said, drawing up a wish list of ideal countries to play is nice, but the reality is usually different. Teams aren't always available to play. If Spain comes calling and says they are looking for an opponent that will give them a good game in a friendly, are we going to say "No thank you, we're too good for the likes of you, we'll play against San Marino instead"?

Take what games you can get. If we can play France, Italy and Spain ten times each before qualifying starts in 2008, go for it!

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quote:Originally posted by JayWay

What DON'T you people complain about? There was a time, back around 2000, when the main bitching point of the Voyageurs was that the only friendlies we play are against the same old, mid-range CONCACAF nations. "We need European competition!", the cries went...

And I agreed with that statement back then. Good for them, I applaud the CSA for having lined up those friendlies. But it was tried it was great to see ( THANK YOU CSA) and now its time to try something else.

Winning is good, players walk off the pitch smiling, laughing and joking with each other. Thats good for team building,confidence and morale. Losing means players walk off the pitch quitely with their heads down and thinking about things like why a teammate didn't pass the ball at a certain time when they should have. It goes without saying, that the psychological aspect is a big part of it in sports and right now we have a winning percetage of only .346 over the past 4 years. I think that reversing that trend has become very important right now.

Again, I am not complaining about getting a friendly. But this is a discussion board and we discuss topic at hand. In this case the merits of playing Spain. Not the merits of playing or not playing friendlies

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Canada could lose to Spain 2-1 and I'd bet morale would be very high. Our players aren't stupid, they know they are underdogs against the world's top teams. I think they would be more concerned with their performance against a team like Spain rather than having the expectation that they will beat them. THe hope yes, expectation, I doubt it.

Yes, we need a few more wins to boost the psyche of our team, but in a situation where we are so clearly an underdog a loss would only do harm if play horribly and get embarassed. We need to prove that we can do that, and there's no reason that our top team should get embarassed by anyone.

I think it would be far more important to defeat Luxembourg than to defeat Spain, because a loss to a minnow like that could really deflate the morale the way a loss to Malta did (after which a few players left the programme, seemingly for good until Holger left).

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