Canada advanced to the second round of Concacaf 2022 Qatar World Cup qualification with a 4-0 win over Suriname in Chicago Tuesday night.
Three goals by Jonathan David and one by Alphonso Davies ensured Canada topped Group B, which also featured Aruba, Bermuda and Cayman Islands.
“(I’m) proud of the guys,” said Canada head coach John Herdman, speaking to reporters following the match. “We always knew if we could just weather that (early) storm and bring the passion and stick to the process, then if we match their level of intensity, our quality would shine through.
“And I think it did. We were able to really start demonstrating the quality in this team.”
Slow start by Canada
The Canadians found it tough going for most of the first half – many players guilty of sloppy passes and looking off the pace. And Canadian goalkeeper Milan Borjan was fortunate to see a shot bounce back off the crossbar in the 12th minute.
But superstar winger Davies settled Canadian nerves, scoring in the 37th minute after a quality through ball by forward David.
And Davies twice repaid the favour in the second half. The Bayern Munich left back/winger set David through on goal in the 59th minute. And the Lille OSC forward grabbed his 13th international goal with a clinical finish.
David grabbed his 14th goal for Canada in the 72nd minute after more good work on the left by Davies.
And five minutes later, David scored his third of the match from the spot, after Lucas Cavallini earned a penalty.
No room for error
There was no room for error Tuesday night, with Canada needing at least a draw to progress. And Herdman wasn’t leaving anything to chance, naming a strong starting eleven, including big names Davies and David.
CONCACAF 2022 World Cup qualifying Group B
“I thought (Jonathan) David scoring the hat-trick was terrific,” said Herdman. “He had a few good chances in the first half. And as a coach you’re always wondering if it was going to be his night. But he’s been through some real big moments now in his career where he can make it his night regardless of how it starts.”
“And then (Alphonso) Davies, what can you say? He’s just top class. I mean there’s another level there.”
Canada plays Haiti in round two of World Cup qualifying
But there’s little time for Herdman and Co. to bask in the glow of Tuesday’s result. Canada next faces Haiti in a two-legged playoff for a place in the final round of World Cup qualifying. The first match is scheduled in four days on Saturday, June 12 with the follow-up game June 15.
“At the end of the day, we get Haiti back,” said Herdman, referring to when Haiti knocked Canada out of the 2019 Concacaf Gold Cup. “And that’s the game we’ve been wanting for two years.
“That game is so important and to this group of boys. (We) get to play them twice and we get to put right the wrongs of two years ago and show how far this group have come and the learnings and that’s our next test.
“It’s just another mission.”