Canada has uphill battle to qualify for the 2018 World Cup

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Canada dropped a World Cup qualifying match to Mexico at BC Place on March 25. Photo submitted by Brenda Becker

March 30, 2016

By JAKE WRAY

After the Canadian national soccer team dropped a pair of matches to Mexico this week, fans are questioning if the team has enough firepower to qualify for the 2018 World Cup.

Luca Locascio, a first-year Langara Falcons soccer player, said competitive soccer can be financially inaccessible to Canadian kids, so the national team has a limited talent pool to draw on, hurting the team’s international success.

“In Italy, I’ve gone there multiple times because I have family there, and like my cousins … they’ve been able to play soccer no problem just because they’ve had support from, say, the league, they’ve had support from the club, they’ve had support from their community in order to play,” Locascio said. “But here it’s kind of like, if you can’t afford it, it’s kind of tough luck.”

Canada lost 0-2 in Mexico City on Tuesday, and earlier lost 0-3 in Vancouver on Friday. They are scheduled to play two more qualifying rounds in the fall, against Honduras and El Salvador. Even if Canada wins both of those games, they’ll still have an uphill battle to qualify.

Fans disappointed by lackluster showing

Canadian soccer fan Rustum Johnson, who attended the March 25 game at BC Place and watched Tuesday’s game on TV, said he doesn’t think Canada will make it to the World Cup, a feat Canada hasn’t achieved since the 80s.

“I was unimpressed with them. I thought they could have done better. When they played in front of the home crowd, they were much stronger. When they were playing in Mexico, it looked like they were jet-lagged,” Johnson said.

Canadian fan Brenda Becker, who also attended the March 25 game, said there was a surprising amount of Mexican fans in the stands.

“The energy in there was something else, there was really good representation. The Mexican national anthem, I mean, you could hear people singing it. There were a lot of people from Mexico, or there to support Mexico,” she said.

Mexican fans gather prior to the Canada vs Mexico soccer match at BC Place. Video provided by Rustum Johnson.

Article originally appeared in The Langara Voice

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