Canada was made to wait, and the Caymans Islands paid dearly for it.
Les Rouges rumbled to a record-setting 11-0 win over the Caymans on Monday evening at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., in their second Concacaf qualifying match for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
Originally slated for Sunday evening, the match was postponed a few hours before kickoff and rescheduled for Monday after FIFA was informed the Cayman Islands was not able to submit the required COVID-19 testing information in time.
It was a historic result for Canada, who set new team records for most goals in a game, and its largest margin of victory. The team’s previous scoring record was an 8-0 win against the U.S. Virgin Islands in September 2018 in a Concacaf Nations League qualifier.
Six different players found the back of the net in the first half, including Alphonso Davies and four others who scored their first international goals, while David Wotherspoon tallied three assists. The Canadian onslaught continued in the second half, as substitute Lucas Cavallini bagged three goals in an eight-minute span.
Canadian coach John Herdman heralded his players for their ruthless attitude in thrashing their meagre opponents.
“You can only play what’s in front of you, and I’m happy with the level of professionalism the guys showed tonight. They had a clear mindset of being ruthless, which will lead to the outcome of making history,” Herdman told reporters after the game.
“It’s easy to play down to the opponent’s level… But I’m really happy with the ruthlessness of that performance.”
Defender Alistair Johnston echoed his coach’s sentiments.
“We had a couple of words on the board that we were really focusing on going into the game. Ruthlessness was the main one, and I think this group really showed that. We wanted to make history out there, we wanted to really send a message to the rest of Concacaf that we mean business,” Johnston stated.
“We did that tonight. That was the whole plan, and everybody bought into that. No one was ever going to settle just for a couple of goals; it was going to be, ‘hey, can we push the boundaries?’ and make history tonight.”
Monday marked the first ever meeting at senior level between Canada (No. 73 in the FIFA world rankings) and the Cayman Islands (No. 193). Following the 26-hour delay, the Canadians showed absolutely no mercy, hammering the minnows in a contest that could charitably be called a mismatch.
Canada is tied atop Group B with Suriname (No. 143) on six points from two games, but the Reds sit in first based on a better goal difference (+15 vs. +9). Bermuda (No. 169), Aruba (No. 200) and the Cayman Islands are all at the bottom of the table with zero points
Herdman made nine lineup changes, with Davies and Cyle Larin the only holdovers from Canada’s 5-1 win over Bermuda last week. With goalkeeper Milan Borjan and midfielder Atiba Hutchinson back with their European clubs, Maxime Crépeau started between the posts and Sam Piette wore the captain’s armband for the first time in 51 national team appearances.
Youngsters Theo Corbeanu and Johnston started for Canada after coming on as substitutes in their national team debuts against Bermuda. Also, centre-backs Ricardo Ferreira and Frank Sturing started and earned their first caps.
Canada stormed out of the gate and feasted on some slack defending to take a 2-0 lead after 13 minutes on goals by Sturing and Larin. In between the goals, Canada was denied a clear penalty decision and Corbeanu hit the crossbar, otherwise it could’ve been an even worse start to the game for the Caymans.
After setting up Larin’s goal, David Wotherspoon made it 3-0 for Canada, easily slaloming his way through the Caymans’ defence and beating goalkeeper Albertini Holness. The goal was Wotherspoon’s first for Canada.
A fourth Canadian goal came via the penalty spot from Davies, and both Mark-Anthony Kaye and Johnston netted their first international goals to give their team a 6-0 advantage just before halftime.
Samuel Adekugbe entered the game in the 61st minute, and set up Kaye’s second goal just two minutes later. Cavallini headed home a cross from Johnston to make it 8-0.
The Caymans goalkeeper made a fantastic double save to deny Kaye from the penalty spot, but Davies potted home the rebound. Cavallini added a second goal via a diving header, and then completed his hat trick just moments later.
5’ – Frank Sturing (Canada)
13’ – Cyle Larin (Canada)
25’ – David Wotherspoon (Canada)
27’ – Alphonso Davies (Canada)
32’ – Mark-Anthony Kaye (Canada)
42’ – Alistair Johnston (Canada)
63’ – Mark-Anthony Kaye (Canada)
68’ – Lucas Cavallini (Canada)
72’ – Alphonso Davies (Canada)
74’ – Lucas Cavallini (Canada)
76’ – Lucas Cavallini (Canada)
Canada’s final games of the first round of Concacaf World Cup qualifying are scheduled for June 5 (vs. Aruba) and June 8 (vs. Suriname).
The six group winners from the first round advance, with the top team in Group B facing the winner of Group E – which is made up of Haiti (No. 84), Nicaragua (No. 149), Belize (No. 170), St. Lucia (No. 175) and Turks and Caicos Islands (No. 203) – in a home-and-away playoff in June.
The three winners of the second-round matchups move on to the final round of Concacaf qualifying, joining Mexico (No. 9), the U.S. (No. 22), Jamaica (No. 47), Costa Rica (No. 50) and Honduras (No. 64). The eight nations will play each other home and away, with the top three automatically qualifying for the World Cup. The fourth-place nation will play in an intercontinental playoff for a chance to go to Qatar.
Canada’s lone World Cup appearance came in Mexico in 1986 when it bowed out after failing to score in group-stage losses to France, the Soviet Union and Hungary. David Norman Sr, the father of current Cavalry FC midfielder David Norman Jr., was a member of Canada’s 1986 World Cup. Canada is scheduled to co-host the 2026 FIFA World Cup with Mexico and the U.S.