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  • Thursday, May 25, 2000

    Canada lining up Cup qualifier

    By BOB MCMAHON -- Winnipeg Sun

     Each member of Holger Osieck's Canadian squad will be playing for a World Cup qualifying assignment when they line up against Trinidad and Tobago, Saturday in Toronto and against Honduras here in Winnipeg on Tuesday.

     This will be the first the full international side has played in Winnipeg and will be a prelude to Cuba's World Cup visit here on June 11.

     Since taking over the team, the German-born coach has seen his side lose only three of 17 games while winning nine and tying five times, but it is the goal statistics that tell the tale.

     Canada has scored only 17 times, but has held the opposition to only 11 and if Canada hopes to progress it will be on the back of a well-organized and disciplined defence.

     Both Trinidad and Honduras have high-quality strikers available and they will test the Canadian defence anchored by captain Jason deVos and Tony Menezes.

     Menezes is perhaps the most underrated of Osieck's defenders. Currently with Botafogo the 25-year-old has been capped 12 times and showed great composure in marshalling the back line during the Gold Cup.

     Honduras possess a double threat up front with diminutive Sunderland striker Milton "Tyson" Numez and teenage sensation Oscar David Suazo of Cagliari.

     Suazo was signed last season for $5 million and showed his great potential in scoring both goals in the 2-1 victory over the USA last month in Olympic qualifying.

     Honduras lost out to Panama on goal differential and now face a playoff against Haiti to decide which side goes into Group D World Cup qualifying alongside El Salvador, Jamaica and St Vincent.

     Honduras is one of the up-and-coming teams in the region and will provide excellent opposition for Canada. Dwight Yorke was on target for Trinidad last Saturday against Haiti as they secured a spot in Group C together with Panama, Mexico and the winner of Canada vs. Cuba.

     Yorke, one of the top 10 strikers in the world, is versatile enough to drop deep and run the midfield.

     Former Chelsea and Aberdeen coach Ian Porterfield, who has just taken over the Trinidadian team, is fortunate to have a match winner of Yorke's ability available something that Osieck can only wish for.

     Canada has always had a problem scoring goals; only five Canadian players have hit double figures in international games.

     Carlo Corazzin is one of the five and leads current players with 10 goals and although short on pace, Corazzin can be relied on to give an honest effort and is excellent in the air.

     During the mid-'90s Paul Peschisolido carried Canada's goal scoring hopes, but goals have been few and far between during the last four years. You have to go back to October 1996 when he scored against Cuba to find the last of his eight international goals and he is scoreless in his last 11 outings.

     Organizers of Tuesday's game and the June 11 match up with Cuba hope crowd support like that shown during last years Pan American Games will pave the way for future international games and especially World Cup qualifying ones.



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