TT face tough battle against Canada in World Cup semis

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CONFEDERATION Gold Cup winners Canada will be hard pressed to come away with a win when they meet Trinidad and Tobago in the first leg of the CONCACAF World Cup semifinals in Canada, on July 16.

Canada completed group C contenders when they got past Cuba 10 on aggregate after their second round match in Canada ended goalless. Canada defeated Cuba in the first match of their interzone playoff 10 in Havana, Canada. This is the opinion of Oliver Camps, president of the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (TTFF).

But Canada has been in similar situations before, and yet has won five of the seven meetings with the Caribbean soccer kings in the last 23 years, dating back to 1977.
The Trinidad and Tobago team also stumbled to defeats against their Canadian counterparts 42 in 1981: 21 in 1985: 21 in 1988 and 10 this year in the Gold Cup series, and in an international friendly clash almost three weeks ago. The teams also played to a nilnil draw here at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in January.

But national coach Ian Porterfield, who was at the helm of the Trinidad and Tobago team in last month's 10 defeat in Toronto, may find comfort in that he fielded an understrength team.
Porterfield has been handed the task of guiding Trinidad and Tobago to one of two places from Group C of the semis, and they must face Canada in two, home and away, games in the World Cup qualifiers for the first time.

Canada advanced to the semifinals 10 on aggregate, despite being held to a 00 draw by Cuba in Toronto on Sunday last. The Canadians won the first leg 1-0 in Havana.
Apart from Canada, Trinidad and Tobago are grouped with Mexico and Panama.

Camps said the Canadians would be at a disadvantage, having to win at home in the first leg. He said he expects similar pressure for Trinidad and Tobago when they tackle their counterparts in the return leg at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo.

Camps said however, the need for the local players to convert the chances that come their way. "In the end it's what decides who the winners are." He noted "Canada will be hard to beat but we are playing our best football to concede a victory."

He claim in February the Canadians were let off the hook following a series of missedchances by the local players, in a match that Canada won 10 in the semifinal of the United States Gold Cup.

The defeat also led to the untimely firing of Tobagonian coach Bertille St Clair in what local football fans considered to be a commendable performance by the team through the 15day tournament.

Edgar Vidale, sacked chairman of the TTFF Technical committee is optimistic that the local team will triumph in the group. "We will beat Mexico, Panama and Canada but we must maintain stability and continuity in the team" Vidale added.

Meeting between TT/Canada

1977 TT 1 V Canada 1
1981 TT 2 V Canada 4
1985 TT 1 V Canada 2
1988 TT 1 V Canada 2
2000 TT 0 V Canada 0
2000 TT 0 V Canada 1
2000 TT 0 V Canada 1