Canada secured its place at this summer’s CONCACAF Gold Cup and Nations League A thanks to a convincing 4-1 win over French Guiana Sunday night at Vancouver’s BC Place.
First-half goals from Junior Hoilett, Lucas Cavallini and Jonathan David ended an early scare after the visitors levelled through Kevin Rimane before the half-hour mark.
Rimane’s equalizer ended Canada coach John Herdman’s streak of clean sheets since taking over the men’s program last year.
In addition to clinching a Gold Cup berth, Canada’s perfect 4-0-0 Nations League qualifying record propelled it into League A alongside CONCACAF’s perennial powerhouses — including Mexico, the U.S. and Costa Rica.
12’ — Hoilett — Canada
26’ — Rimane — Fr. Guiana
39’ — Cavallini — Canada
41’ — David — Canada
50’ — Cavallini — Canada
54’ — Abelenti — Fr. Guiana
GOOD, BAD, UGLY
Good: It was just two years ago that Canada struggled to see off French Guiana in a Gold Cup group stage fixture it eventually won 4-2 at Red Bull Arena. This time was different. Yes, coach John Herdman will be frustrated to have conceded in a convincing 4-1 win, but the match was never in doubt — something that bodes well for a team that needed to win and win big to show they’ve moved on from close affairs against inferior sides.
Bad: French Guiana’s defending was certainly suspect before Canada’s Junior Hoilett opened the scoring. The Cardiff City winger casually threw the ball off a teammate’s back before walking across the penalty area and striking a shot that probably should have been saved.
Ugly: Canada’s defence could have avoided Kevin Rimane’s equalizer had it not attempted to play out the back with the visitors pressing. Instead, Canadian goalkeeper Milan Borjan played short to Samuel Piette, whose back pass created a 50-50 challenge between Rimane and Borjan. Rimane’s sliding tackle ended with a tap-in goal.
Groups for the 16-team Gold Cup (June 5-July 7) will be revealed on April 10.
Les Rouges will open its CONCACAF Nations League A campaign with two matches between Sept. 2-10. That draw will take place March 27 in Las Vegas.
French Guiana, meanwhile, accepts its place in Nations League B and misses out on a spot in the 2019 Gold Cup.