|Trinidad & Tobago||Canada|
|Russell Latapy (27')|
Reynold Carrington (29')
Stokely Mason (53')
Angus Eve (90')
FIFA World Cup™ Qualifier
|2000-09-03||Queens Park Oval||Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago||20000|
T&T knocks Canada out of World Cup qualifying
|Canada's World Cup hopes died Sunday on a cricket oval, to the sound of triumphant Trinidad and Tobago steel drums in sapping 30-degree-plus heat.|
Goals by Russell (Little Magician) Latapy and Reynold Carrington, in the 27th and 29th minutes, Stokely Mason in the 54th and Angus Eve in second-half injury time sealed Canada's fate in a 4-0 defeat as Trinidad and Tobago lived up to FIFA vice-president and T&T native Jack Warner's pre-match boast and eliminated Canada from World Cup qualifying.
Considering the next Cup is 2002, that means a long time to swallow a bitter pill.
The Canadians exited the competition with a whimper, the post-game police escort afforded their bus the only respect shown to the team during its short visit to the southernmost Caribbean islands.
The early exit -- European teams opened their World Cup qualifying campaign this weekend -- is a huge blow for Canada.
Making the World Cup finals may have been a reach but Canadian head coach Holger Osieck had looked to make he final round of qualifying in CONCACAF, which covers North and Central America and the Caribbean.
"That was my No. 1 target -- to make this group and to be in the final round next year. In that group, anything can happen," Osieck said later.
"But right now I'm pretty disappointed because I didn't reach my target."
Canada has not been eliminated this early in World Cup qualifying since the leadup to 1990.
Osieck had no immediate explanation for the poor performance. He admitted his team was intimidated Sunday and had little good to say about any Canadian player with the exception of goalie Pat Onstad.
He said in the first half, it looked like the Canadians were in a friendly rather than a do-or-die World Cup qualifier.
"I was quite disappointed by the performance of some players and even our passing was so inaccurate, we gave away all the balls so easily. I don't know what was going on.
"Maybe the pressure on them was too much. I don't have an explanation right now."
Canada, unable to score for the fifth straight match, was outclassed before a sold-out crowd of 20,000-plus that transformed the Queen's Park Oval into a sea of red.
The loss dropped Canada to 0-3-1 with just two games remaining in the semifinal round of CONCACAF qualifying while T&T soared to 4-0-0. Coach Ian Porterfield's team has outscored the opposition13-0 during that stretch.
"It must be great to be a Trinidadian or Tobagan tonight," said the Scottish-born Porterfield.
With Mexico (3-1-0) routing Panama (0-3-1) 7-1 in the other Group C game Sunday, the Canadians can't catch their opposition. Only the top two teams in the group advance to the final round of qualifying.
Asked about his own future, Osieck said dryly: "I don't want to kill myself today."
Osieck is under contract through the 2002 World Cup.
So the Gold Cup champion Canadians are just a footnote to the 2002 World Cup.
But T&T will be heard from again.
Just as The Reggae Boyzz from Jamaica were the CONCACAF stars going into France 98, this Trinidad and Tobago team looks like it is ready for a starring role in the region.
They are a joy to watch, showing vision and flair that the current Canadian side can only dream of. Then again, Canada made them look very good Sunday.
The first half turned into a scrimmage for Trinidad and Tobago, who high-stepped, juked and danced around Canadians like pylons. The dominance was such that the second half was almost unnecessary.
Dwight Yorke, the $27-million man from Manchester United, put on a clinic for 50 minutes, bouncing the ball on his thigh, knee and foot while faking out one Canadian defender after another.
"We allowed them all the space in the world," Osieck said. "If you allow a top-class player like (Yorke) to dribble, then you are lost."
Yorke also goaded defender Mark Watson into a yellow card -- they both were carded -- minutes into the game for hanging onto the ball rather than giving it back for a Canadian free kick.
The yellow card came back to haunt Watson, who was ejected after a second yellow with 10 minutes remaining. It was his first sending off is 62 appearances for Canada.
Down 2-0 and facing elimination, Osieck sent on midfielder Richard Hastings for sweeper Tony Menezes to open the second half and the visitors pushed forward in numbers.
T&T took off Yorke five minutes into the half -- he had his left knee iced -- and hunkered down, looking to ride out the storm and book its ticket to the final round of qualifying.
The hunkering didn't last long. A T&T counter-attack made it 3-0 in the 54th minute after the ball was headed down to Mason and he banged it past Pat Onstad from close range.
Soon after Hastings was taken off on a stretcher following a nasty collision with defender Marvin Andrews -- the Canadian camp thought it was a deliberate offence -- and was replaced by Martin Nash.
Hastings was down on the stretcher on the sidelines a long time before he finally managed to sit up. He was taken to hospital with a concussion but was later released.
Eve then made it 4-0 in the dying seconds on yet another counter-attack with Onstad all alone.
Seconds later, Andrews was ejected for a second yellow card.
Onstad must have felt like he was in a shooting gallery.
He was forced to make a diving save just three minutes into the game and the scoring chances came fast and furious for the home side after that as Trinidad and Tobago carved open the Canadian defence with looping balls over the backline.
T&T also spread the ball, with overlapping support coming in waves. It was if Canada was playing a man down.
They were a goal down after 27th minutes when an errant Menezes pass led to a throw-in in Canadian territory. The ball went to Latapy in front of goal and the Hibernian midfielder hammered a swerving shot past Onstad.
Two minutes later Carrington made it 2-0 with a long-range shot arising from a corner. Onstad seemed to lose the ball as it came towards him and when he finally located it, it was too late. Osieck later complained the T&T players screening Onstad were offside.
That goal seemed to break the Canadian back. In some instances, players just stopped running for balls.
Canada's lone scoring chance came from a long-range Davide Xausa shot.
It could have easily been 5-0 after 45 minutes and it should have been 3-0 with the half about to end had Onstad not somehow managed to stop Stern John after a pretty three-way passing play that started with a Latapy backheel.
By the end of the first half, Canada looked like a beaten team.
Paul Peschisolido, who has seen little action with Fulham in England this season, did not start for the first time in six qualifying games.Peschisolido replaced striker Carlo Corazzin late in the second half.
Xausa got the nod with veteran midfielder Nick Dasovic stepping in for Paul Stalteri, who missed the game through suspension after picking up two yellows cards.
Osieck opted for an attack-oriented 3-4-2-1 formation with Jim Brennan and Xausa behind Corazzin up front.
But nothing worked Sunday.
Six of the Canadian players, as well as Yorke and several T&T players, left immediately after the match to return to their British-based teams.
|4.||Marvin Andrews 55 ' 90 '|
|10.||Russell Latapy (capt.)|
|80' Dale Saunders|
|19.||Dwight Yorke 6 '|
|48' Jerren Nixon|
|80' Nigel Pierre|
|48'||Jerren Nixon for Dwight Yorke|
|80'||Nigel Pierre for Stern John|
|80'||Dale Saunders for Stokely Mason|