July 14, 2024
  • July 14, 2024
  • Home
  • National Team
  • Analysis: Canada Clinch To Reach Copa Semi-Finals In Dramatic Fashion

Analysis: Canada Clinch To Reach Copa Semi-Finals In Dramatic Fashion

By on July 6, 2024 0 490 Views

It was a nail-biting finish to an already drama-filled match, but on Friday evening Canada made history by defeating Venezuela on penalties after the game finished with a goal a piece. Jacob Shaffelburg got the early goal while Ismael Kone and Maxime Crepeau were the heroes in the penalties for a Canada team that shall look to get some revenge against reigning Champions Argentina in the next round.

Jacob Shaffelburg: The Maritime Messi

While it might be well-past the point of ‘corny’ to dub someone as “The ___ Messi”, it felt fitting for Jacob Shaffelburg in this game with the impact that he had throughout his appearence. The Nova Scotia native was a constant threat down the left side, engaging in heated battles with Aramburu, who just about managed to deal with his threat throughout the 90.

Nevertheless, Shaffelburg never faltered in his approach to be direct and dangerous down his side, and connected well with Davies to wreak havoc. His goal was a thing of beauty by Jonathan David, who slalomed his way into the box before laying it off for Shaffelburg to tap in, but it was a deserved moment for the winger as he has Canada’s brighest outfield player all tournament.

Despite this, he was withdrawn from the match just 60 minutes into the match. There was no indication of any injury, so perhaps Jesse Marsch had his fitness or his yellow card in mind when he took Shaffelburg off, but Canada simply did not look the same afterwards. It might be pure happenstance that Canada conceded not two minutes after he was taken off, but his energy and dynamism is both in the attack and the defense is something that Canada cannot afford to waste. He should definitely be one of the first names penciled into the team-sheet from now on, and could play a massive part in the upcoming match against Argentina.

Lack Of Killer Instinct Nearly Cost Canada Dearly

Don’t take anything away from the result, as Canada were deserving winners on the night. However, they could not have made it any more difficult for themselves after missing sitter after sitter in the match. They missed four big chances according to FotMob, including a one-on-one with David and Rafael Romo, Cyle Larin on the breakaway, Richie Laryea with a trivela cross that missed Larin by a hair at the back post, and more.

Fans were pulling their hairs at these missed chances, as they knew how much it could cost them if Venezuela came back to bite them. Then came a controversial moment in the 63rd minute that led the way to Venezuela clawing one back to make it level on the night after Salomon Rondon audacioulsy chipped Maxime Crepeau, who was caught in no-mans land.

Even still, Canada kept the pressure up and had another handful of decent chances to put the game to bed, but still struggled to get the shots on target. It almost felt like the ball had a magnet that kept getting repelled by the Venezuelan net, but in truth it came down to confidence. Jonathan David, in his usual form at club level, would have buried that chance with ease instead of poking it well wide of the net. Cyle Larin from 2022 would have come close to a hattrick in more than one ocassion in this tournament. But neither striker has been able to find that composure that they’ve been known for throughout their career.

While Larin is deservedly a look-in to the squad because of his history with the team and his proficiency for scoring for Canada as their top-scorer, it might be time for Marsch to look towards his bench. There are players like Theo Bair, Jacen Russell-Rowe and Tani Oluwaseyi who are more than hungry to get their chance. Canada just about got away with it tonight, but they will likely be not so lucky against an ever-clinical Argentina.

Marsch’s Mentality Monsters

Canada had proven themselves more than capable of going toe-to-toe with these South American sides in the group stages. The tussled with the likes of Chile and Peru to come second in the group. But tonight, they had to face a different battle entirely: officiating.

Wilton Pereira Sampaio was the main official in this match, and quickly became the heart of the ocassion with some less-than-equal calls in the match. Despite being the more aggressive and tenacious side, Venezuela got nearly half as many fouls called on them as Canada did. This included some ocassions where elbows were flying, shins were kicked and men where pushed to the ground with no signs of a whistle.

Perhaps the most astounding of calls was just before the Venezuelan equalizing goal. Romo came out to clear a ball for a throw-in, and Larin tried to play it quickly with the goalkeeper way out of his net. Instead of retreating to his box, Romo got up to Larin and smashed the ball out of his hands to deny the quick play that could have easily been Canada’s second goal. Instead of calling for a clear foul, Sampiao allowed the play to go on and not 90 seconds later was the ball in the back of Canada’s net.

Nevertheless, Canada kept playing to their strengths, even when it felt like Venezuela had 12 men on the pitch. Had they had their shooting boots on, the officiating would not have mattered as Canada were clearly the better side. That was then solidified in the penalty shoot-out. Crepeau made up for his mistakes by saving two Venezuelan penalties to give his side the chance to win the shoot-out. And while some players like Liam Millar and Stephan Eustaquio could not keep their composure, the likes of Moise Bombito and Ismael Kone were the picture of cool in their efforts, as the latter’s goal became the match-winner in the end.

Should Canada continue this mental fortitude that they have forged across these four matches, they will have more than an outside chance to pull an upset and reach the Copa America final for the first time in their history.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *