Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Coach Stephen Hart Says Teamwork the Key for Canada in World Cup Qualifying: Hart Says Teamwork the Key for Canada

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Coach Stephen Hart Says Teamwork the Key for Canada in World Cup Qualifying: Hart Says Teamwork the Key for Canada

Article excerpt

TORONTO - Coach Stephen Hart says Canada's success in World Cup qualifying will come down to teamwork.

No pie-in-the-sky coach, Hart knows the talent pool in Canada is thin.

"So if you have key players that are not at their best or, like the last campaign, get injured early in the campaign, you could be in trouble," Hart said Thursday as the Canadian Soccer Association unveiled its centennial team uniform at BMO Field.

Hence the need to play as a team, hopefully one whose talents are greater than the sum of its parts.

"That might sound very cliche-ish, but we do not have or have yet to produce the one or two individuals that a lot of countries or clubs have that can make a difference if all things are equal," he added.

Canada, currently ranked 75th in the world, opens the next round of qualifying play June 8 in No. 136 Cuba. The other teams in the Canadian group are No. 52 Panama and No. 62 Honduras.

The top two teams in the group will advance to the final round of qualifying in the CONCACAF region, which covers North and Central America and the Caribbean.

"If Canada plays as a team and play effectively, we can get results," Hart said. "We can get results away from home, because in a lot of instances we are a little more comfortable playing away from home. And we can get results at home."

Hart's optimism for the team on the road will be welcome, since dropped points at home have cost Canada in the past.

The Canadian men failed to survive this stage of qualifying for the 2010 World Cup after picking up just two of nine possible points at home and losing all three games on the road.

Canada (0-4-2) finished the stage tied with Suriname for lowest points total (two) among the 12 CONCACAF countries still involved.

The Canadian men also stumbled in the penultimate phase of regional qualifying for the 2006 World Cup. Canada (1-3-2, five points) managed just one point at home, collecting four more on the road.

In 2002 qualifying, Canada (1-3-2, five points) also failed to reach the final stage of qualifying but did manage a win and tie at home. …

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