Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Canada Draws Mauritania in Soccer Friendly in Benito Floro's First Game as Coach

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Canada Draws Mauritania in Soccer Friendly in Benito Floro's First Game as Coach

Article excerpt

Canada draws Mauritania in soccer friendly

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OLIVA, Spain - In a game that had tackles flying in from start to finish, Canada picked up a scoreless draw against Mauritania on Sunday in what was the debut for new national team coach Benito Floro.

"At the moment we are teaching how to play collectively," said Floro, who is tasked with rebuilding the program in the build up to qualifying for the 2018 World Cup in two years time.

"It's necessary to play a lot between us and to test with the friendly matches. But I understand it's very difficult to get a result against a very good national team like Mauritania, who press very excellently."

The game started under hot, but windy conditions, but grew more comfortable as the afternoon progressed. Mauritania pressured Canada relentlessly in the opening few minutes, many times getting overly physical.

"It was a friendly but definitely very physical," said midfielder Atiba Hutchinson, who was captain for this game. "I think we expected that a little bit but maybe at times it was a little out of hand but no excuses. I think we need to look at the video after the game and we have to play them in another game and it's important that we can come back and get a result in the next game."

With more than 30 players in camp, Canada dressed 18 for the game, and save for their teammates that didn't play, a delegation from the Mauritanian embassy in Spain, and a few curious locals, there weren't many people there to take in the game at the resort where both teams are camped.

A young Canadian team looked shaky early as the quick Mauritanian side pressured the ball.

"I think we just needed to be a little bit more calm and maybe read the game at times," said Hutchinson. "I think at halftime the coaches said we need to play in behind them and find the pockets and create space. In the second half I thought we did that a bit better. …

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