On Thursday, the Canadian men’s national team will step on the pitch for the first time since finishing top of the table in Concacaf World Cup qualifying back in March.
Ahead of Nations League action against Curaçao at BC Place, CanPL.ca’s Kristian Jack caught up with national team midfielder Stephen Eustáquio for a wide-ranging discussion that includes qualifying for the 2022 World Cup, how tricky travel logistics can be for a playing coming from Europe, winning a double with Porto, and plenty more.
Eustáquio initially joined this Canadian men’s national team side after sitting out an entire year as a result of an injury suffered while playing on loan with Cruz Azul. He made his debut in a tough 4-1 loss to the United States back in November of 2019. He had no idea what was in store for him over the next few years.
“It has been crazy,” said Eustáquio with a laugh. “Crazy, crazy, crazy.”
During the interview, the now-25-year-old looks back at his start with the national team, saying that while at the time there was plenty of speculation around his international future, he was committed from the start.
“If I’d never wanted to play with Canada, I would never have gone to a camp, that’s the first thing,” said Eustáquio. “I don’t like the idea of people going to camps just to try it, see how it is and then make the decision. No, we are talking about nationality, we are talking about a country. If you grab it, you grab it. You do your homework at home and then you go, and you go forever.”
On the club level, Eustáquio spoke at length with KJ about his move to Porto, and how important that has been for him as a player plying his trade in such an elite European environment.
“I grow every day,” said Eustáquio of playing for Porto. “The minutes haven’t come along but I don’t mind being the first Canadian to play at [this] level, to win trophies, because if I do it, If I’m the first; obviously I’m going to open the path for other Canadians in the future to do it. Things are never easy, but I’d rather work hard and try to have more minutes with Porto than just go back to a medium to low level and play all the time.”
The full interview is available to view above, or to listen to, below: