Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Canada Set for Must-Win Game at CONCACAF Gold Cup against Panama

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Canada Set for Must-Win Game at CONCACAF Gold Cup against Panama

Article excerpt

Canada set for must-win game against Panama

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DENVER - Canada needs a win against Panama on Sunday in order to mantain its slim chance of advancing to the quarter-finals of the CONCACAF Gold Cup.

But first, the Canadian team will have to score some goals.

Canada has been held scoreless through the first two games of the tournament, losing their first match 1-0 to Martinique and their second 2-0 to Mexico.

Interim head coach Colin Miller understands the predicament facing Canada heading into their third match.

"We just can't pull a rabbit out of a hat here," Miller said Saturday. "We have to have a belief and commit more players forward that desperately want to score goals. I'm a big fan of Panama. I'm a big fan of how they play the game -- the intensity, the organization of the team."

Canada meets Panama on what is expected to be a very hot Sunday afternoon at Sports Authority Field, the home of the Denver Broncos. But even with a win, the team's chances of advancing depend upon other results.

To advance, the Canadians will have to finish the first round with one of the two best third-place records in the 12-team tournament. This means Canada would have to beat Panama and hope for a lopsided result in the Martinique-Mexico match later in the afternoon to squeeze through the second round on goal difference.

It's a tall order but there is reason for optimism as Panama coach Julio Dely Valdes said in his pre-game press conference that he will be resting a number of starters.

Panama has already advanced to the second stage of the Gold Cup with two wins in two games.

Panama stunned Mexico 2-1 in its first game of the tournament and needed a late penalty against a 10-man Martinique on Thursday.

Miller says any Panamanian team that takes the field is a formidable challenge.

"Whoever wears the Panamanian jersey wears it with pride and they're good enough to be with the Gold Cup squad, so we are in a position where we cannot possibly underestimate any opposition," Miler said. …

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