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Eight Not Out

By TERENCE HILTON-CLARKE

(c)copyright




12 July 00  


This is the statistic that pretty much sums up Canada’s full international record against Trinidad and Tobago. With six victories going to the North Americans  with two drawn games thrown into the bargain  this country has yet to record its first senior win over Canada. Now that the national team has to face the Canadians twice in its semi-final group, this situation will most likely have to change.

But, what chance does Trinidad and Tobago have against Canada. There have already been three meetings this year: a 0-0 draw and two 1-0 defeats. The first of the two losses occurred in what, to date, has been the only competitive game between the two countries  the Gold Cup semi-final in Los Angeles in February. That particular game was a summary of some of those that went before it. Trinidad and Tobago dominating possession and getting all the chances: Canada scoring the only goal. Just like in March 1985 when Igor Vrablic and Pasquale de Luca scored two goals against the run of play, rendering Adrian Fonrose’s last minute item moot. Just like three years later, when Dexter Skeene scored first, only to see Canada hit back through John Catliff and Dale Mitchell.

The second 1-0 win for Canada this year occurred in a friendly in Toronto on May 27. Since then, Trinidad and Tobago has won one, drawn one and lost two of its last four internationals. Clearly, it would seem that both the on-field and psychological advantage must go to the Canadians. However, Trinidad and Tobago’s performance in the Gold Cup semi  the one game that did feature full-strength Trinidadian and Canadian teams - suggests that Trinidad and Tobago DOES have what it takes to at least get a point in Edmonton on Sunday.

But, everything will depend on whether the national team is capable of making a recovery from its current dry run. Coach Ian Porterfield may be forced to make one or two emergency changes in both defence and midfield for this match. Dwight Yorke is finally enjoying a good spell in a Trinidad and Tobago uniform  so far this year he has scored five goals in five appearances  but Stern John has not recovered his peak as yet and Porterfield may be compelled to make a last minute change up front.

It is likely that Trinidad and Tobago may attempt to take the game to the Canadians early on  indeed, it will be in Trinidad and Tobago’s best interest to take control of the game as soon as possible. Canada will be seeking to gain full points at home and Holger Osieck’s team will try to pursue this objective in the usual cautious and practical manner. It is unlikely to be a memorable match and it is important that the Trinidad and Tobago team puts its recent troubles behind it and takes the early initiative.

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