Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Julian De Guzman on Verge of Setting Canadian Men's Soccer Record

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Julian De Guzman on Verge of Setting Canadian Men's Soccer Record

Article excerpt

De Guzman on verge of Canadian soccer record

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Julian de Guzman won his first Canadian cap almost 14 years ago, a late addition to the 2002 Gold Cup squad after Garret Kusch was injured.

"I still have my debut jersey. You could still see the print of Kusch's name on my jersey with de Guzman over it," he recalled with a chuckle

Now Canada's captain, the 35-year-old de Guzman is making his own mark. On Tuesday, the midfielder is set to surpass Paul Stalteri's men's record of 84 caps as Canada continues its World Cup soccer qualifying campaign in El Salvador.

Ranked 102nd in the world, Canada is in a group with No. 24 Mexico, No. 94 El Salvador and No. 95 Honduras in the penultimate round of CONCACAF qualifying. The top two teams will advance to the six-country final round of qualifying in North and Central America and the Caribbean.

Three will eventually book their tickets to the 2018 World Cup in Russia while the fourth-place finisher meets an Asian team in a playoff to see who joins them.

Canada opened the current round with a stylish 1-0 win over Honduras on Friday in Vancouver. El Salvador, its top players absent due to a dispute with the national federation, was beaten 3-0 in Mexico.

De Guzman believes this Canadian squad, with its blend of experience and youth, has the talent to do some damage.

"This particular squad, when you look at it on paper, it's definitely one of the best teams put together in a long time."

The addition of David (Junior) Hoilett paid immediate dividends against Honduras as the Queens Park Rangers winger was a threat all night.

De Guzman says this squad has the most potential since the 2007 Gold Cup team, beaten 2-1 by the U.S. in the semifinals after a late Canadian tying goal was controversially waved off.

"I think we're not just as good but even better," said de Guzman, who was named MVP at the 2007 tournament.

De Guzman said he had the same feeling against Honduras on Friday as he did at the 2007 Gold Cup -- the belief and confidence that Canada was going to win the game. …

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