The Canadian footballers took full advantage of the winter weather in Edmonton on Tuesday. National coach John Hertmann’s team won against Mexico (2-1) for the first time in 21 years and is now surprisingly leading the World Cup qualifiers in North and Central America.
The Canadian Football Association deliberately chose Edmonton as the host city for international matches against Costa Rica (1-0 win last Friday) and Mexico. The 48th-ranked player in the FIFA rankings was given his call on Tuesday, of course, in anticipation of the frost.
At the start of the game against Mexico, the temperature at the Commonwealth Stadium was -9 degrees Celsius and the cut winds made it even colder. On social media, the stadium, which had been completely covered in snow just hours before the game, was soon renamed ‘Estadio Izteca’, referring to the famous Estadio Azteca in Mexico City.
The Mexicans struggled clearly with the winter weather and 52 minutes later were trailing 2-0 by two goals from Besiktas striker Sail Larin. Hector Herrera’s goal in the 90th minute caused some tension, but Canada gave up.
“Every team takes advantage of the conditions in their own country. And we saw the cooling in Edmonton as a huge advantage,” said national coach Hertmann, adding that Mexico often plays its own matches at heights in the hot Mexico City.
“It’s an opportunity to bring out the true Canadian mentality of our players. They all grew up on artificial grass and cold. We wanted the Mexicans to adapt because we always have to adapt to the heights of Mexico City.” “
44,000 spectators despite the cold
More than 44,000 people remained at the stadium in Edmonton despite a major snowstorm and low temperatures on Tuesday. They beat Canada for the first time since beating Mexico 2-1 in the 2000 Gold Cup. In the World Cup qualifying round, Mexico has not lost to the Canadians since 1976.
“I have a big thank you to Edmonton,” Hertmann said. “The people here have done everything they can to help our team and turn this stadium into a stronghold. The whole country is behind us and we feel it.”
Undefeated Canada advanced to first place with a fourth win in eight games in the World Cup qualifiers. The difference with the fourth Panama is two points, six more games. Numbers one through three will qualify directly for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, with the fourth to play play-off against another continent.
‘This is why we have been waiting so long’
Canada has only qualified for the World Cup once. In 1986, the North American nation lost all three matches in the group stage. With young stars like Alfonso Davis (Bayern Munich) and Jonathan David (Lily OSC), Canadians believe there is a good chance of going to Qatar.
“It’s nice to see how much attention our team is focused on in Canada,” said Atiba Hutchinson, 38, a former PSV player who played in his 90th international on Tuesday, and is now his country’s record international. “We’ve been waiting for this for so long.”
Canada continues its World Cup qualifiers with matches against Honduras (out), USA (home) and El Salvador (out) in late January and early February.
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