Bezarrao Stadium, Brasilia, Brazil.
It was the group game they expected to lose.
But Canada must quickly put this defeat behind them, regroup and plan for group games against Angola and New Zealand; two nations closer to their level, two matches much more winnable than this one.
Brazil had too much for the young Canadians, with Internacional Porto Alegre striker Peglow in irresistible form. The Brazilian #10, scored twice and applied the pressure forcing Toronto’s Kobe Franklin to put through his own goal in first-half added time.
Until then Canada had battled bravely and trailed only to Peglow’s 17th minute opener. After only 26 seconds of the second-half however, they were three down, following an error by Franklin. It was tough on the Toronto youngster, as he had produced an excellent and timely interception to keep the deficit to one, midway through the first-half.
Concern for the Canadians increased in the 56th minute when more naive, hesitant, defending allowed Veron in to hammer home Brazil’s fourth. It looked a case of ‘how many?’ for the ruthless Brazilians who looked in the mood for more.
But the boys in red dug deep and regained some pride producing a spirited last half hour, preventing further Brazilian goals and actually getting on the board themselves through substitute Jacen Russell-Rowe four minutes from time.
Earlier Deandre Kerr had spurned Canada’s best chance firing straight at Donelli with half the Brazilian goal gaping.
The consolation was reward for Canada’s refusal to buckle, for at 4-0 you really did fear the worst.
Goalkeeper, Marc Kouadio was Canada’s top performer on the night. The Montverde Academy custodian couldn’t have been faulted for any of the goals conceded and deserves credit for keeping respectability to the scoreline.
Vancouver’s Gianfranco Facchineri in central defence grew in confidence as the game progressed, his leadership influential in keeping his side afloat.
Two players from the Montreal Impact Academy started the game, midfielder Matthew Catavolo who was replaced on 68 minutes with what looked like a calf strain, and forward Mouhamadou Kane who was replaced on 53.
Sean Rea was the third Impact player to appear, introduced on 71 mins for impressive-looking Jayden Nelson, who had a frustrating afternoon. Rea was effective on the right side with his forceful running and neat inter-play and almost helped himself to a goal in the dying minutes, his shot hitting the side netting with Donelli closing down the angle.
Although future opposition is likely to still prove formidable, there are less difficult tests ahead for Canada in this group. The Brazilians are not only expected to top this quartet with a maximum 9 points, but are strongly fancied to go all the way in the tournament.
Canadian minds will do well to hold that perspective and begin thinking about how best to get a positive result over tournament debutants Angola in their next group game. As they did for today’s match, TSN is screening the Angola game live at 1545 hrs on Tuesday.
Brazil - Donelli - Yan Couto, Henri, Luan Patrick, Cabral - Patrick, Veron (Matheus Araujo, 79), Talles Costa (Pedro Lucas, 61) - Peglow, Kaio Jorge (Sandry, 61), Talles Magno
Coach - Guilherme Dalla Dea
Canada - Kouadio - Franklin, Goulbourne, Pecile, Facchineri - Demian, Catavolo (Russell-Rowe, 68), Priso, Kerr - Kane (Habibullah, 53), Nelson (Rea, 71)
Coach - Andrew Oliveri
Match Officials -
Referee - Srdjan Jovanovic (SRB)
Asst Refs - Milan Mihajlovic (SRB), Uros Stojkovic (SRB)
4th Official - Peter Waweru (KEN)
VAR - Dennis Johan Higler (NED)