The 25 that represented Canada in Prague 2018. 

 

Scott Samis, Ali Ibrahim, Sean Gregg, Darrell Lewis, Edgar Jimenez, Milad Modabber, Romith Naug, Roman Tulis, Tarek Kazem

Matt Frey, Clint Houlie, Andrew Prout (Captain), Trevor Lewis, Aran Balachandran, Shervin Zandi, Karman Chaudry, 

Harry Brastianos, Noel Grisdale, David Clay, Lukasz Kwapisz, Fortunato Caronzo, Daniel Jones, Ashley Nicholson, Ikennah Browne, Stuart McAdam.

Paul Dhillon - Manager

Kyle Sue - Asst. Manager

Match Day 1 

Written by Dr. Noel Grisdale

Catalonia vs. Canada 2-2 (1-1) Lukasz Kwapisz, Tarek Kazem

A historic day for Team Canada at the #wmfc2018


It was Canada Day and the boys wore their jerseys with extra pride ...a first for the squad playing on our national birthday! Would there be a historic result on the pitch? A bit of a jittery start and an extremely unfortunate bounce (ball to hand) made the referee decide to award the Catalonia a PK 4 mins into the game! The shooter put it high over the bar. He would regret that as 9 mins later, Lukasz Kwapisz took a beautiful through ball from Tarek Kazem and charged into the box before deftly sliding the ball under the advancing keeper...1-0 Canada!


Hard to believe but the referee awarded the Catalonian Team another PK just 13 mins later. No miss this time and we had a tie game at the 26 mins mark.

Roman Tulis made some solid saves in the Canadian net during the rest of the half and the Canadian defence held strong!


Unfortunately the team lost 2-3 players to injury (flares of nagging injuries) in the first 50 mins of the game with hamstring injuries to Ike, Karman, and Clint. 


Canada started strong in the second half and was creating more opportunities offensively. Another great play by Lukasz resulted in him getting down the left wing and cutting into the box close to the byline. He attempted a cross for the hard charging Nato, only for his cross to strike the cross bar and to bounce back and to the right side. Nato calmly retrieved the ball and played it back for an open Tarek to slam Canada's second goal home! 2-1 Canada with 27 mins to play.

 
The Catalonians threw everything they had at the Canadians. Then, with their persistence they were rewarded with a nice goal scored from the right back post after a counter-attacking cross from the left side. 2-2 with only 10 mins to play. Canada had one glorious chance to win the game when the ball was cleared off the goal line by their defender by a charging forward Lukasz. 


Scott Samis played net for the Canadians in the second half and made two crucial saves to preserve the tie. In the end, probably a fair result. A historic day nevertheless for The Canadian Team playing on Canada Day and securing a point vs the team from Catalonia that started the #wmfc 24 years ago! The team hopes to build on this solid start with a win tomorrow over the United States in their 2nd Group stage match.

Both Tarek and Lukasz are now tied as top scorers for Team Canada with Dr. Andrew Prout. 

Match Day 2 

Written by Dr. Noel Grisdale

USA vs. Canada 2-1 (2-1) Tarek Kazem

Tarek Kazem 25'

This game was an example of why we play sports and why we are fans and watch so intently! The dramatic change ...the suddenness of going from ultimate victory to agonizing defeat. 


Team Canada agonizingly experienced a taste of ultimate victory yesterday to only tie. Today was a challenge. We were prepared yet our start would not give you that indication. 8 mins in our centre back gave the ball to their striker for a walk in goal on our retreating keeper. 4 mins later a foul just outside the box somehow resulted in another goal for the USA with a direct shot to the bottom corner. Scott Samis was keeper throughout the match and played well again even though after the initial flurry of goals he was tested less frequently. 


We gifted them a 2 goal lead! From there it was all Canada. We started to win every tackle and dominate the midfield. It was only a matter of time. At the 25th minute Tarek finished off a flurry of chances to make it 2-1. The rest of the half was dominated by Canada and we should have had several more goals. The second half consisted of more Canadian dominance. Danny Jones was a beast up front winning all kinds of balls and tackles. He either almost scored himself or he was setting up Aran Balachandran for opportunities back post that went agonizingly close.

 

Darrel Lewis cleared U.S.'s best chance off the goal line in the 50th minute before Stuart McAdam rang one off the crossbar for Canada a minute later with a first time strike from 40 yards. The difference between winning & losing can be so fine. As it was, Canada deserved a victory today but it was not meant to be. Our American friends told us over beers in the beer garden how we out played them and they didn't deserve to win, little consolation to a team that was drilled and ready to win. A 2-1 loss has been difficult for us to accept but thankfully we have an opportunity to make history again (as Japan almost did today) with a must win game vs Brazil tomorrow. Catalonia & Brazil tied 2-2 leaving the group fully open for upsets. 

Match Day 3 

Written by Dr. Noel Grisdale

Canada vs Brazil 0-2

The heat was on Canada's team both literally and figuratively as they took to the field mid afternoon and temps in the high 20's; needing a win to give themselves a chance to make it into the quarterfinals. There's been significant growth in the team since they played Brazil 2yrs ago in Barcelona, Spain.

 

Through the first 30 mins the team showed great discipline in keeping their defensive shape and were frustrating the Brazilians who had lots of possession but could only achieve shots from distance. 


Unfortunately 2 miscues cruelly resulted in 2 quick goals for Brazil prior to half time. Keeping their focus for the entire game continues to be an area of the game Canada needs to improve upon; critical if they want to be a top country in this tournament.

 
The second half Canada had the Brazilians on their heels to start and should have cut their lead in half. Brazil was tiring at this time and a goal would have changed the game. After not capitalizing on their opportunities early in the second half Canada was having to chase the game more and more. Brazil settled down and played intelligently making the Canadians work hard to win the ball. In true Canadian fashion they battled hard, winning tackles, out hustling the Brazilians when they had the opportunity but it was too much on Day 3 to be able to achieve the comeback they were hoping for.

 

With the win, Brazil secured top spot in the group. Surprisingly the U.S. tied Catalonia 3-3 to take second spot. The difference between making the quarterfinals and playing for a bottom seeding in this tournament was only a timely goal in one game or one less mistake in another. Despite the disappointment, Canada feels optimistic about the future of their team with growth in their quality of play over the past few years.


A day of rest on Wednesday and then back to the field for Thursday-Saturday. This is where we will see if Canada has the depth in the squad to maintain their play as fatigue sets in! Games coming up vs Korea, Ireland and Austria.

Match Day 4 

Written by Dr. Noel Grisdale

Canada vs South Korea (2-1)

Tarek Kazem 15', Romith Naug 79'

We played South Korea in Austria last year so had an idea of what we were up against. This year they were younger overall and had more players. Unfortunately they still play a similar way...if they are touched they fall, yell and roll. You'd think they had been coached by Neymar! Very frustrating to play against. Nevertheless, we had a new and awesome pitch to play on. The field was slick from a humid rain which made the touches difficult and focus really important. 


Canada were a little loose starting the game mainly due to the conditions. Both teams were needing to play shorter passes as the ball would skip and run away otherwise. Around 15 mins in Tarek Kazem received a through ball and calmly walked around the left side of the keeper prior to sliding the ball home into the right corner for a 1-0 Canada lead! Canada controlled play most of the game with Korea resorting to hopeful long balls over the top. As long as Canada had their focus, Korea was not going to be a threat. Half time and it was 1-0 Canada though the lead should have been greater. 


Second half Canada seemed to start a little too relaxed. Korea pushed three players up and started hitting even more long balls over the top. Canada weren't finishing their chances which gave Korea more confidence and hope. With 20 mins left Korea managed to score on a breakaway after a ball over the top managed to elude Canada's back line. 1-1 and Korea was feeling very hopeful!


The Korean diving continued which unfortunately was distracting the Canadian's from the task at hand. It got so bad that late in the game, Shervin Zandi couldn't take it anymore so he yelled out "ahhhh" like he had been fouled despite he didn't even have the ball...hilariously the ref blew his whistle and gave us a free kick!! Canada did continue to keep possession and was creating chances...shots were either going wide or right at the keeper. 


It was looking like the game would be going to penalty kicks until the last minute of play when off a free kick the ball was played up to Danny Jones and he flicked the ball onward. The defender bobbled it and Romith Naug was able to secure the ball in behind the defender striking the ball to the keeper's right for the winning goal!! 2-1 Canada with one minute to play! Not as easy as it should have been but Canada got it done when they needed to...avoiding the uncertainty of penalties. Have to give a shout out to Stuart McAdam who played a great game in the midfield...was the engine for the team today. Romith got the Man of the Match for his game winning goal which was fitting since a year ago he got a red card vs Korea and missed the next game vs Ukraine.


Tomorrow we play our friends from Ireland which will be a challenging game.

Match Day 5

Written by Dr. Noel Grisdale

Canada vs Ireland (3-0) [2-0]

A fun game for both teams as the game was played well, cleanly for the most part with good intent. Canada played a solid game of possession but was lacking three of their most consistent offensive threats from injury or suspension...made it tough to convert the possession into goals. Danny Jones was out on a second yellow card and Lukasz with another injury. A consistent theme of gifting the opponent their opportunities or goals continued and The Canadians were down 2-0 at half. The game was played on a beautiful neighborhood pitch and despite the control of play by Canadian Team the Irish made the most of their chances to win 3-0 comfortably. Roman Tulis also suffered an injury when going up for a header late in the game as the Canadian keeper but thankfully his neck injury was not serious. Both teams then joined for a social at a local Irish pub.  

Match Day 6

Written by Dr. Noel Grisdale

Canada vs Austria 2-4 [0-2] 

Romith Naug 9', Stuart McAdam 78'

Team Canada played their final match (6th game in 7 days) of #wmfc2018 vs Austria. 


Canada looked and played tired. Despite that they scored first when Romith Naug took a shot just outside the box and was able to put it in over the keeper! This was 9 minutes into the game. A similar pattern of good possession by Canada with little to show for it continued in this game. Austria managed to score on a bit of a cracker from just outside the box when a trailer was not picked up. And before half a quick second goal was scored by Austria when a joining midfielder was able to avoid offside prior to breaking in all alone.

 

The second half continued to have Austria capitalize on every mistake Canada made. One giveaway led to Canada's keeper being chipped and the fourth Austrian goal came from an unforced giveaway led to a Canadian taking down one of the Austrians in the Canadian 18 yd box...the ensuing PK was converted. Canada tried to dig deep for some pride and managed to make it a 4-2 game late with a nice run down the right wing by Darrell Lewis and a cross which Stuart McAdam finished for his first ever goal for Team Canada.

Despite the disappointing final two games Canada finished with the same record (1-4-1) as they had in Barcelona when they finished 14th. This year they had their strongest team yet but ended up in 20th. It all comes down to the group stage. A win or one less loss in any of those games and they could have been playing in the top 10. Instead they were relegated to the group of 17-22. So, even had Canada won it's final three games the best they could finish would have been 17th.

Of note, GBR beat Czech 2-0 to take first place Brazil finished 3rd and Catalonia finished 10th. U.S. was in 12th place.

In the end it was a great week. Lots of growth in the team on and off the field. Captain, Andrew Prout, did a great job leading the team. Paul Dhillon and Kyle Sue did a terrific job of organizing the team and supporting the players in ways all imaginable!

Goals are being set for next year and planning for Team Canada will start in the fall. #wmfc2019 is in Mayan Riveria.

Best Defensive Player - Noel Grisdale 

Top Canadian Scorer - Tarek Kazem

Top Newcomers - Stuart McAdam and Danny Jones 

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