A Cyle Larin hat-trick helped Canada kick off its 2022 Qatar World Cup campaign with a 5-1 victory over Bermuda in Florida Thursday.
Richie Laryea and Theo Corbeanu also tallied for the Canadians. Kane Crichlow did score for Bermuda after an error by Canadian goalkeeper Milan Borjan.
But the result was never in doubt – the Canadians dominating play with good performances from Alphonso Davies and Atiba Hutchinson.
Head coach John Herdman was pleased with his team’s professional performance Thursday, though he said he saw room for improvement. But he had special praise for Larin following the forward’s three-goal performance.
“He’s an absolute predator,” Herdman to reporters Thursday. “He has that ability. That’s what we aimed to bring out of him tonight.”
Larin in great form for club
Larin’s been in great form for his club Besiktas, in Turkey – scoring 18 goals in all competitions so far this season. But it’s taken time for Larin to find his feet in Turkey after his move their in 2018.
And Herdman sees two reasons for his forward’s recent uptick in form.
Off the field, Larin became a father recently and Herdman believes family life has grounded the Canadian forward. On the field, Herdman thinks a change in tactics at Beskitas has helped Larin find a role that suits him best at this club and for the national side.
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“He’s been taken out of that focal point,” said Herdman. “He (previously) wanted to live off the front.“
But moving further back and making late runs into the box has lifted his game for his club, providing him greater chances to score. And after Thursday’s hat-trick, it looks as though he’s brought some of that form to the national team.
Canadian Captain sees improvement in Larin
Larin has now scored 11 goals for Canada in 32 appearances. And Canadian captain Atiba Hutchinson had praised Larin before Thursday’s match saying he’s seen his Besiktas and Canada teammate improve during his time in Turkey.
“There’s been real improvement and development in his game,” said Hutchinson Tuesday. “Not only the goals he’s been scoring, but his work ethic, his understanding of the game. He’s become a lot more tidy as a player.
“He gives a lot to the team.”
Canada next play Cayman Islands Sunday in Florida.