The Eh Game

Canada trails Honduras 4-0 at the half, and dreams of the World Cup are slipping away

Andrew Bucholtz
Eh Game

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Jerry Bengston (11) and Honduras had plenty to celebrate in a four-goal first half.

The debate over Jonathan de Guzman may well be a moot one, as it doesn't look like Canada's men's national soccer team will be making it to the final round of CONCACAF qualifying, much less the World Cup. In arguably their most crucial match in a generation, the Canadians only needed a tie to advance, and they got off to a decent start by creating some chances. After Canadian striker Tosaint Ricketts bizarrely took a touch instead of burying a first-time shot early, though, everything went wrong for Canada. Jerry Bengston made it 1-0 Honduras in the sixth minute, Julian de Guzman and Ricketts missed further chances and the Canadians went on to put on the worst meltdown this side of the San Diego Chargers, allowing three quick further goals and heading into halftime trailing 4-0. Sportsnet's Arash Madani asked Canadian captain Kevin McKenna "Where did the wheels come off?" at the half, and McKenna's response was telling: "Right from the get-go, we weren't in the game."

This wasn't even a dominant performance from the Hondurans, but rather an atrocious one from Canada that ranks up there with the worst halves of soccer in Canadian history. The defending was abhorrent, allowing Honduras to walk through the Canadian defence at will, the finishing was even worse, and the midfield was unable to do much with possession when they did have it. Despite dreams of pushing one step closer to the team's first World Cup appearance since 1986, before players like Ricketts were even born, the Canadians came out utterly flat. Of course, it's not just about this game, as if Canada had won at home against Honduras, a loss here wouldn't matter. Still, heading into this, the Canadians had a tremendous shot of moving on to the final round. They rolled over and played dead in the first half, though, and now their chances seem almost impossible as a result.

There's a difference between "almost impossible" and "completely impossible" though, and evidence was provided elsewhere Tuesday. The high-powered German team led Sweden 3-0 at the half and was up 4-0 until the 62nd minute, but the Swedes then stormed through to score four goals and come away with a draw. Thus, it can be done. Even a one-goal loss might work for Canada if Cuba can somehow beat Panama by three, and the Cubans were up 1-0 there at the half. Still, this Canadian team doesn't look capable of scoring a goal, much less mounting an improbable comeback. As Madani asked McKenna at the half, "Is this team in a state of shock?" McKenna said "It looks like it." It sure does, and it sure looks like it will be another four years at least until Canada's in the World Cup.

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