PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad (CP) -- Canada's World Cup hopes died Sunday on a cricket oval, to the sound of triumphant Trinidad and Tobago steel drums in sapping 30-degree-plus heat.
Goals by Russell (Little Magician) Latapy and Reynold Carrington, in
the 27th and 29th minutes, Stokely Mason in the 54th and Angus Eve in second-half
injury time sealed Canada's fate in a 4-0 defeat as Trinidad and Tobago
lived up to FIFA vice-president and T&T native Jack Warner's pre-match
boast and eliminated Canada from World Cup qualifying.
Considering the next Cup is 2002, that means a long time to swallow a bitter pill.
The Canadians exited the competition with a whimper, the post-game police escort afforded their bus the only respect shown to the team during its short visit to the southernmost Caribbean islands.
The early exit -- European teams opened their World Cup qualifying campaign this weekend -- is a huge blow for Canada.
Making the World Cup finals may have been a reach but Canadian head coach Holger Osieck had looked to make he final round of qualifying in CONCACAF, which covers North and Central America and the Caribbean.
"That was my No. 1 target -- to make this group and to be in the final round next year. In that group, anything can happen," Osieck said later.
"But right now I'm pretty disappointed because I didn't reach my target."
Canada has not been eliminated this early in World Cup qualifying since the leadup to 1990.
Osieck had no immediate explanation for the poor performance. He admitted his team was intimidated Sunday and had little good to say about any Canadian player with the exception of goalie Pat Onstad.
He said in the first half, it looked like the Canadians were in a friendly rather than a do-or-die World Cup qualifier.
"I was quite disappointed by the performance of some players and even our passing was so inaccurate, we gave away all the balls so easily. I don't know what was going on.
"Maybe the pressure on them was too much. I don't have an explanation right now."
Canada, unable to score for the fifth straight match, was outclassed before a sold-out crowd of 20,000-plus that transformed the Queen's Park Oval into a sea of red.
The loss dropped Canada to 0-3-1 with just two games remaining in the semifinal round of CONCACAF qualifying while T&T soared to 4-0-0. Coach Ian Porterfield's team has outscored the opposition13-0 during that stretch.
"It must be great to be a Trinidadian or Tobagan tonight," said the Scottish-born Porterfield.
With Mexico (3-1-0) routing Panama (0-3-1) 7-1 in the other Group C game Sunday, the Canadians can't catch their opposition. Only the top two teams in the group advance to the final round of qualifying.
Asked about his own future, Osieck said dryly: "I don't want to kill myself today."
Osieck is under contract through the 2002 World Cup.
So the Gold Cup champion Canadians are just a footnote to the 2002 World Cup.
But T&T will be heard from again.
Just as The Reggae Boyzz from Jamaica were the CONCACAF stars going into France 98, this Trinidad and Tobago team looks like it is ready for a starring role in the region.
They are a joy to watch, showing vision and flair that the current Canadian side can only dream of. Then again, Canada made them look very good Sunday.
The first half turned into a scrimmage for Trinidad and Tobago, who high-stepped, juked and danced around Canadians like pylons. The dominance was such that the second half was almost unnecessary.
Dwight Yorke, the $27-million man from Manchester United, put on a clinic for 50 minutes, bouncing the ball on his thigh, knee and foot while faking out one Canadian defender after another.
"We allowed them all the space in the world," Osieck said. "If you allow a top-class player like (Yorke) to dribble, then you are lost."
Yorke also goaded defender Mark Watson into a yellow card -- they both were carded -- minutes into the game for hanging onto the ball rather than giving it back for a Canadian free kick.
The yellow card came back to haunt Watson, who was ejected after a second yellow with 10 minutes remaining. It was his first sending off is 62 appearances for Canada.
Down 2-0 and facing elimination, Osieck sent on midfielder Richard Hastings for sweeper Tony Menezes to open the second half and the visitors pushed forward in numbers.
T&T took off Yorke five minutes into the half -- he had his left knee iced -- and hunkered down, looking to ride out the storm and book its ticket to the final round of qualifying.
The hunkering didn't last long. A T&T counter-attack made it 3-0 in the 54th minute after the ball was headed down to Mason and he banged it past Pat Onstad from close range.
Soon after Hastings was taken off on a stretcher following a nasty collision with defender Marvin Andrews -- the Canadian camp thought it was a deliberate offence -- and was replaced by Martin Nash.
Hastings was down on the stretcher on the sidelines a long time before
he finally managed to sit up. He was taken to hospital with a concussion
but was later released.
Eve then made it 4-0 in the dying seconds on yet another counter-attack with Onstad all alone.
Seconds later, Andrews was ejected for a second yellow card.
Onstad must have felt like he was in a shooting gallery.
He was forced to make a diving save just three minutes into the game and the scoring chances came fast and furious for the home side after that as Trinidad and Tobago carved open the Canadian defence with looping balls over the backline.
T&T also spread the ball, with overlapping support coming in waves. It was if Canada was playing a man down.
They were a goal down after 27th minutes when an errant Menezes pass led to a throw-in in Canadian territory. The ball went to Latapy in front of goal and the Hibernian midfielder hammered a swerving shot past Onstad.
Two minutes later Carrington made it 2-0 with a long-range shot arising from a corner. Onstad seemed to lose the ball as it came towards him and when he finally located it, it was too late. Osieck later complained the T&T players screening Onstad were offside.
That goal seemed to break the Canadian back. In some instances, players just stopped running for balls.
Canada's lone scoring chance came from a long-range Davide Xausa shot.
It could have easily been 5-0 after 45 minutes and it should have been 3-0 with the half about to end had Onstad not somehow managed to stop Stern John after a pretty three-way passing play that started with a Latapy backheel.
By the end of the first half, Canada looked like a beaten team.
Paul Peschisolido, who has seen little action with Fulham in England this season, did not start for the first time in six qualifying games.Peschisolido replaced striker Carlo Corazzin late in the second half.
Xausa got the nod with veteran midfielder Nick Dasovic stepping in for Paul Stalteri, who missed the game through suspension after picking up two yellows cards.
Osieck opted for an attack-oriented 3-4-2-1 formation with Jim Brennan and Xausa behind Corazzin up front.
But nothing worked Sunday.
Six of the Canadian players, as well as Yorke and several T&T players, left immediately after the match to return to their British-based teams.
By IRVING WARD
"FINAL six here we come.”
This was the chant which rang out loud and clear at the Queen’s Park Oval yesterday evening as Trinidad and Tobago skipper Russell Latapy’s side booked its spot in the Football Confederation Zone’s final round of qualifying for the 2002 World Cup.
Cheered on by a crowd of 20,000, the team moved another step closer to reaching their first everWorld Cup Finals after emphatically getting rid of Canada 4-0 in their semi-final return leg clash.
Latapy himself, who had promised the victory on Saturday, began the onslaught in the 28th minute. Hethen pulled all the strings in the midfield on his way to the Man-of-the-Match award.
The other goal heroes were Reynold Carrington (30th), Stokely Mason (54th) and Angus Eve (91st).
The fans, dressed in red and starved of footballing success over the last decade, could not help themselves afterwards.
They quickly spilled out of the Oval onto Tragarete Road and began their now traditional celebration to pan, iron and tassa.
Most trooped to St James, dancing into the night and traffic crawled.
The win helped T&T book its Group C spot in the final round with a maximum 12 points from four matches and two games remaining. They will be joined there by Mexico, who overwhelmed Panama 7-1 in Mexico City yesterday to secure their spot.
Both Canada and Panama will now have to look toward 2006.
Yet, the outcome of the game never seemed in question.
T&T dominated the game from the first blow of Costa Rican referee Olger Mejias Ovares’ whistle.
With Latapy busy in midfield throughout the first half, both England-based striker Stern John, given the chance to start over Jerren Nixon by coach Ian Porterfield, and Dwight Yorke were in their glee.
John had the first chance of the game after just four minutes. Running onto a lofted pass over the Canadian defence from Angus Eve, John sent a close range bullet towards goal. Canadian goalie Pat Onstad parried the shot away.
The Canadians’ early frustration became evident minutes later when defender Mark Watson brought Yorke down with a rough challenge. Both men then went at each other with John and Canada’s Tony Menezes also getting into the action.
The end result saw the referee brandishing the yellow card to both Yorke and Watson.
That would prove to be the only fight the Canadians had in them for the entire 90 minutes, though.
After Mason, Yorke and Eve saw their efforts at goal just off the mark. The Little Magician, who mesmerised the Canadian players with his fancy footwork at times, broke the deadlock.
Collecting a pass out of the defence from Reynold Carrington just outside the penalty area, Latapy sent a powerful right-footer towards goal. The shot took a wicked curl on its way to goal and gave a diving Onstad no chance as it entered into the upper left hand corner of his net.
The visitors had hardly caught their breath when T&T struck again through Carrington.
Latapy worked a quick short corner with Mason and fed to Carrington who was free as a bird. The burly midfielder then picked his spot and blasted a right-footer through a mass of players past a helpless Onstad.
Now, the party was well and truly on as the fans began a Mexican wave.
That wave threatened to flood the Oval just nine minutes after the restart when any hope the Canadians had of coming back in the game was snuffed out by Mason.
The Joe Public midfielder placed a left-footer into the lower left hand corner of Onstad’s net after chesting down a headed-on pass from John. The play had been started by Eve who lofted a right-side cross into the box where John did the rest.
3-0, and another tumultuous roar from the crowd.
Salt was then rubbed into the Canadians’ wound when Watson was sent off in the 79th for his second bookable offence.
And T&T would capitalise on their numerical advantage in stoppage time when Eve ran onto a through ball from substitute Nigel Pierre and beat Onstad yet again to the delight of his countrymen.
Unfortunately, T&T would end the game with a blemish as Scotland-based defender Marvin Andrews was also given marching orders for his second yellow card in stoppage time. But the standing ovation he got leaving the pitch, like his teammates afterwards, recognised him as one of many heroes on the day.
T&T 4 (Russell Latapy 28th, Reynold Carrington 30th, Stokely Mason 54th, Angus Eve 91st) v Canada 0.
T&T — Clayton Ince, Dennis Lawrence, Shurland David, Marvin Andrews, Ansil Elcock, Reynold Carrington, Angus Eve, Stokley Mason (Dale Saunders 84th), Russell Latapy, Stern John (Nigel Pierre 83rd), Dwight Yorke (Jerren Nixon 49th)
Canada — Pat Onstad, Paul Fenwick, Mark Watson, Tony Menezes (Richard Hastings 46th, Malcolm Nash 59th), Jason de Vos, Jason Bent, Carl Fletcher, Nick Dasovic, Carlo Corazzin (Paul Peschisolido 77th), Davide Xausa, Jim Brennan.
Canada trounced; Soca Warriors move to next round
By Shaun Fuentes
TRINIDAD and Tobago's footballers revived the spirits of sports fans, made despondent by the continuing dismal performance of the West Indies cricket team in England, with an emphatic 4-0 trouncing of the Canadian football team at the Queen's Park Oval yesterday.
In so doing, the local team ensured its place in the final qualifying round on the journey to the 2002 Japan/Korea World Cup and ended Canada's qualifying hopes. Mexico yesterday hammered Panama 7-0 to move into second spot on the standings behind T&T.
T&T captain and "Man of the Match" Russell Latapy, who led the local side onto the field in front of a crowd estimated at 22,000, scored the opening goal and then joined his teammates in celebrating their fourth straight win of the semi-final round, booking a spot in the final round next year in the process.
Latapy (28th minute), Reynold Carrington (30th), Stokely Mason (53rd) and Angus Eve (90th) were the "Soca Warriors" on target, sending T&T's tally to 13 goals in its four matches and is yet to concede any. Yesterday's match kicked off under humid conditions and had a couple heated moments inside the opening stages.
With three minutes gone, Dwight Yorke spurned a good chance to put T&T ahead when his left- footed attempt was pushed out by goalkeeper Pat Onstad from near up.
Two minutes later, Yorke would then get into an altercation with Canadian defender Mark Watson causing Stern John and Tony Menenez to intervene. Both Yorke and Watson were cautioned by Costa Rican referee Olger Ovares but the latter would later be expelled for a bad tackle on Jerron Nixon in the 79th minute. Soon after the two were yellow-carded Yorke brought Watson to the turf with a heavy challenge leaving the Canadian bench furious.
The hosts were however, determined to hurt the visitors in other, more acceptable ways.
The Gold Cup champions were again fortunate not to find themselves trailing before Latapy's strike. Stokely Mason, Yorke and Angus Eve went close on goal as the Canadians struggled.
Then the "Little Magician" showed off one of his tricks. A bad pass from the left by Canadian Menenez resulted in a throw-in for T&T. And "Latas" collected from Carrington before sending a right footed shot from the edge of the 18-yard box which swerved past Onstad to send the fans wild.
Two minutes later, the Oval erupted again. Latapy combined with Mason on a short corner before laying off for Carrington to a drill a low effort home for a 2-0 lead.
A Mexican wave circled the Oval as T&T saw another miss by Carrington. The Vibe CT 105 W Connection striker opted to pass to John rather than shoot in the 45th minute, and Onstad was on spot to block his close range shot.
Jerren Nixon replaced Yorke four minutes into the second half as coach Ian Porterfield later said he was confident of a win at that stage and so Yorke, nursing a toe injury, was taken off.
Eve joined John up front with Nixon playing in midfield. T&T's third goal arrived in the 53rd minute when Marvin Andrews found Eve on the right and his cross was headed down by John for Mason to shoot past Onstad from inside the six-yard box.
Canada's front men Carlo Corrazzin and David Xausa were doing nothing to trouble Clayton Ince in goal.
They got into further trouble when substitute Richard Hastings went off with a neck injury following a challenge by Andrews, who was cautioned and later sent off on a second bookable offence.
Eve saw his effort well blocked out by Onstad in the 64th minute and after defender Shurland David found him down the right flank, his shot was pushed out by the 'keeper.
With the minutes ticking away Canada still had little to offer and coach Porterfield used the opportunity to give Nigel Pierre and midfielder Dale Saunders a run in place of John and Mason.
Eve had further chances denied near the end but had the final say a minute into injury time when he collected from Pierre before dispatching a low effort past Onstad to spark wild celebration.