PREVIEW – The CanMNT on day three of their 10-day camp in Bratislava, Slovakia put together the final preparations needed for their first match on Friday vs Qatar as CanMNT puts some final touches.
The CanMNT puts some final touches to the Qatar game
— Canada Soccer (@CanadaSoccerEN) September 22, 2022
John Herdman on Qatar and Atiba Hutchinson’s Injury
John Herdman was adamant when he met the media at MOL Soccer Academy in Dunjaska Streda a small town 30 minutes outside of Bratislava that it won’t be easy but his team will be prepared. He thinks Qatar being World Cup hosts will be more prepared than ever.
“I think they will be the most prepared team given the investment and the time they had together and they are very disciplined defensively and as organized as I have seen a team in this World Cup setting so it will be a tough match and we will be clunky in those first 5-10 minutes.”
The World Cup is fast approaching and Herdman is well aware that time is not on his side in respect to getting his team ready to compete in the biggest sports event on the planet.
“We made a collective decision in June with the players and the analysis that we needed to continue what we were doing and the reality is there are five things we are going to focus on and bring that focus to every single camp as we learn the gaps from different opponents.”
Herdman was asked if he can take the experience of coaching the CanWNT at a World Cup but admits it was a different situation as Canada was hosting the tournament.
“Given the fact that we were hosting, there was so much pressure and it was overburdening at times and I really understood how intense it was going to be and it was a lot of learning and we learned a lot and we made a commitment to improving.”
He was also asked how prepared he feels his squad is in regards to the game on Friday which will be at the Generali Arena in Vienna just about an hour away from Bratislava.
“Today you saw the mood of our players, you saw the focus and there was real discipline between the players so the mood is good and the confidence looks high and they are excited to be back together as always and they love being together.”
Herdman even took a chance to break down the opposition in Qatar and what it is going to take to get a result against the 2022 FIFA Arab Cup finalists.
“It’s a disciplined team and they usually play with a 3-5-2, very well organized and they have a ton of quality and the coach has embedded a technical style of play and they have a lot of pitch control and they try to possess the ball and I feel like they are going to make us work.”
Sam Adekugbe, Cyle Larin, and Steven Vitória on Friday’s game
Following the disappointing news that one of their main leaders Atiba Hutchinson was out due to injury Steven Vitória has stepped up in his absence and has not taken their opponents lightly.
“We are excited to push our limits, we’re confident but we are looking forward to this growth and were facing a quality side, a World Cup side and that’s also what this camp is about and how we can push our limits and our locker room is something we take pride in and we have respect for our opponents but we know what we have to do.”
Sam Adekugbe famously known for jumping in the snow in the Edmonton World Cup qualifier against Mexico thinks this is a great experience and a massive challenge for his team.
“It’s a good test for us and changing the opponent and playing someone who we are not used to playing so it’s a good test to see how we matchup and it’s a different atmosphere and it’s always good to be back together and we have such a good brotherhood.”
Cyle Larin who in World Cup qualifying had been the offensive catalyst thinks his team has prepared well for the two crucial games ahead in this September window.
“The group has prepared and I am prepared since the start of qualifying and these are the games that test the team and we need to go out there and do what we do best.”
— Canada Soccer (@CanadaSoccerEN) September 16, 2022
The CanMNT will face Qatar on Friday night at the Generali Arena in Vienna and fans can tune into OneSoccer to catch the game with kick-off scheduled for 1:00 pm ET. The CanMNT revealed their full roster for these two friendlies earlier this month.
Photo Credit: Canada Soccer’s Twitter Account on September 22, 2022.