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Canada Wins, But No Benchmark...

World Cup qualifying - Canada .... 5 Bermuda .... 1

Cyle Larin and Alphonso Davies celebrate a gaol against Bermuda.

Well it certainly wasn’t a victory or performance to get carried away with, such was the paucity of opposition.

Yes, Canada won easily, in fact should have won even more comfortably, but as an opponent Bermuda was probably the poorest team I’ve ever watched LIVE in international football.

To give them their due, they battled until the end and deserved their little piece of good fortune provided by Borjan’s error, which allowed them an unlikely goal. Not a good way for the custodian to mark his 50th cap.

Bermuda were depleted of course and at times looked like a bunch of half-fit runners press-ganged and sent to Florida to represent their country. They were also out on their feet by half-time.

The chasm between the sides is no better illustrated by Dale Eve the Bermudian goalkeeper who plays for Spennymoor Town, an English 6th tier club from the National League North and Alphonso Davies, who’s spent the last twelve months collecting honours at the very top of the European game.

So nothing really to celebrate for Canada in a game which told us zero about the current squad, apart from their commitment to be there and represent their country, despite some having club commitments in Europe.

There was a hat-trick for Cyle Larin, yet nothing to write home about. He could end up with a few more of those against the teams in this group,

As for Lucas Cavallini, the Vancouver striker simply had one of those nights where hitting a barn door from two feet would have proven difficult. Unsurprisingly he was replaced during the second-half.

Atiba Hutchinson of Besiktas who won his 85th cap last night.

Canada can only beat whichever team is put in front of them, and this they managed with consummate ease, but the truth is that had Canada been able to punch its weight over the past decade, it would have automatically advanced to the octagonal.

There would have been no need to participate amongst this level of opposition which, clearly now, they have become too strong for. It could and probably should have ended up 10-0 last evening. Canada once they elevate themselves beyond this level, must ensure they don’t slip back again and I don’t think they will.

There’s really only one reason for playing these group games... to get them out of the way injury-free. and move on. John Herdman will discover very little about his team competing against teams like the one which represented Bermuda last night. And there’s three more to come.

Like for Borjan, the only other significant tale of the match was Samuel Piette reaching 50 caps for his country, although the cameo appearance of Theo Corbeanu raised eyebrows as the Wolves youngster added urgency and showed nice touches.

Next up for Canada, Cayman Islands on Sunday, when more of the same will be expected.

Last night Cyle Larin scored in the 19th and 27th minutes and completed his hat-trick on 69. Richie Laryea and Theo Corbeanu, with his first touch in international football, claimed the other goals on 53 and 81 minutes respectively.

Borjan was taken by surprise in the 63rd minute after Kamal Miller allowed a cross to come over. The goalkeeper failed to hold the ball and in it went off Kane Crichlow, the young Watford player.

And that really, was that....

Line-ups -

Canada - Borjan - Adekugbe (Wotherspoon, 77), Vitoria, Miller; K, Laryea (Johnson, 69) - Hoilett (Corbeanu, 77), Hutchinson (capt), Eustaquio (Piette, 77), Davies - Larin, Cavallini (Miller; L, 70).
Coach: John Herdman

Bermuda - Eve - Blankendal, Lee, Bather, Minors- Leverock (Bean-Lindo, 83), Simmons (Scott, 64), Crichlow, Brangman - Robinson (Furbert, 73), Outerbridge (Steede-Jackson, 73) Coach: Kyle Lightborne

Check out the latest, The Ball Is Round Podcast (Episode 21). Recorded Wednesday (24 March), the TBIR team discuss the National Team’s Road to Qatar, the U23s in Mexico, a return for Jason Di Tullio and Florida pre-season plans... Plus all the usual favourite features... including, Eve’s Time Machine... Don’t miss it!

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