DUBAI, UAE – On Thursday at Al-Maktoum Stadium (also known as Al Maktoum Stadium), Canada secured a late win over Japan 2-1 in their final game before beginning the World Cup next Wednesday in Qatar.
Canada Stuns Japan with a Late Penalty in Dubai
LUCAS CAVALLINI 95TH MINUTE PENALTY 😍
A panenka buried (… 😅) gives the #CanMNT a 2-1 win over Japan ahead of the 2022 FIFA World Cup!
POST-GAME SHOW 🔴https://t.co/7JFAUhxUCE
— OneSoccer (@onesoccer) November 17, 2022
Japan got an early lead in the ninth minute (Source: OneSoccer’s Twitter Account) before Canada was able to equalize off a corner as Steven Vitória got a foot on the ball and put it into the back of the net (Source: OneSoccer’s Twitter Account). In the 93-minute, Richie Laryea was taken down in the box and Canada was awarded a penalty which Lucas Cavallini converted with a cheeky panenka.
John Herdman On His Thoughts After Canada Stuns Japan
After the match, John Herdman was asked to give his thoughts on his reaction to the late win and the final tune-up before the World Cup.
“It’s a positive start he said.” “I think it was important for confidence tonight to get a result and to get a win was the icing on the cake and all I was interested in was the performance and I needed to see this group of men bring that Identity technically against Japan who is one of the top 20 in the world.”
“This was a real team performance and we were missing some key players and again it’s been the next man up and different players were able to show their quality tonight and it shows New Canada and we got that swagger.”
Stephen Eustáquio Was Out Versus Japan
Stephen Eustáquio was held out of the game due to a minor injury he picked up in training while Alphonso Davies will join the team on Friday but Herdman confirmed he wants him at full speed and right now he isn’t there and he doesn’t want to rush him back.
“It was just precautionary at this stage, Stephen felt something coming in and he was a little bit heavy and he has been used in a lot of games, and for us, he is a key player and his health is the main priority and Alphonso is en route to join us but tonight we showed the next man up mentality but we are really keen to get him back.”
John Herdman on the Mentality, Vision, and Final Message to the Team
He also spoke of the mentality and the vision he wanted his team to play with and was pretty pleased with the result and the win.
“The mentality going into tonight was that they had to score and I wasn’t worried about what was happening at the other end so we brought the joy of the goals and I think that’s important and tonight we showed that defensive quality.”
Herdman was asked about the final message and the final sprint toward the first match in the World Cup on Wednesday.
“We just keep our feet on the ground one game at a time and that has been our philosophy for the 20 games that brought us here and that this wasn’t a friendly match and we wanted to set the tone and I am really proud of the effort but when we face Belgium it’s a different level and our players will need to rise for that.”
Vitória, who managed to score the equalizer in the first half was also asked to give his thoughts on the big win against Japan.
“We are really happy.” he said. “I think we got what we wanted coming out of this game and we knew we were going to be tested against a clever side, a great team in Japan but we were focused on what we wanted to get out of tonight and that last test before the World Cup.”
Steven Vitória on Conceding the First Goal, Fight Back, and Mood of the Team
STEVEN VITORIA from the corner! 😎#CanMNT equalize 1-1 vs. Japan as Vitoria connects on the set piece at the 21st minute
— OneSoccer (@onesoccer) November 17, 2022
Conceding an early goal in the first half Vitoria was asked if that moment was a test for him and the team and how they were able to overcome it.
“We knew we were going to get tested tonight but we have proven that the game isn’t over if something like that happens and it shows our character and our brotherhood and we were able to turn things around and it shows where we want to take this country.”
He was also asked with the final tune-up game in the books how he and the team feels heading back to Doha with the first game on Wednesday.
“We’re in a happy place and it’s all about growing on top of wins but what a way to finish preparations with the World Cup, what a stage and it’s something we all dreamt of and we are going to embrace the moment, and the best way to do it push your individual best, new limits and there is no better way to embrace it than with winning.”
Next Stop: The FIFA World Cup
— Canada Soccer (@CanadaSoccerEN) November 17, 2022
It was a much better game than the draw the CanMNT had with Bahrain. Canada will face Belgium on Wednesday, November 23rd before facing Croatia on the 27th before wrapping up the group stage against Morocco on December 1st. All the games will be televised nationally on TSN and also televised live on RDS.
Photo Credit: Canada Soccer EN’s Twitter Account on November 17, 2022.