5 things to watch for as Canada looks for a miracle against Mexico at Azteca

Dec 19 2017, 11:16 am

Just four days after losing 3-0 to Mexico on home turf, the Canadian Men’s National Soccer Team will face El Tri again, this time at the Estadio Azteca in Mexico City.


Time: 8:30 p.m.

Here are five things to watch for tonight, as Canada tries to pull off a miracle.

1. History lesson

It’s not hyperbole to suggest that Canada needs a miracle to get a win tonight. It might not be hyperbole to suggest that earning a draw would take a miracle too.

Canada’s all-time record versus Mexico is 3 wins, 21 losses, and 9 draws. Canada has only ever beaten Mexico once in World Cup qualifying, which came in 1976 at Empire Field in Vancouver.

Canada has only ever earned a draw at Azteca for a World Cup qualifier once, a 1-1 result that came in 1980.

2. Azteca

Getting a result in Mexico seems awfully daunting when you consider how handily they won in Vancouver on Friday.

Tonight’s match will be played at the 95,500-seat Estadio Azteca in Mexico City. To say that Mexico is tough to beat at home is an understatement.

If they could beat Canada 3-0 away from home, what are they going to do to Canada at Azteca?

“We will have to fight every second of the game (on Tuesday) and hopefully come away with something on the road,” said Canadian left back Marcel de Jong. “It will be a nice experience at Azteca: it is a pretty impressive and pretty intimitading stadium, but that is part of football.”

3. Finish your chances

The final score looked ugly on Friday, but Canada actually had some glorious chances to take a 1-0 lead. Unfortunately for Canada, they were unable to convert.

The first chance came from 25-year-old Junior Hoilett:


The second chance came from 20-year-old Cyle Larin:


Convert on one of these chances and Canada had a chance. Miss them both, and you’re destined to watch ‘Chicharito’ and the rest of Mexico’s goal scorers stomp on your heart.

Canada has more talent up front than they have in years past and it’s about time that they prove it. With just one goal in three World Cup qualifying matches this round, the time is now.

4. Park the bus

Canada have to be gunning for a 0-0 draw tonight, so expect them to be a lot less wide open play from them.

“We are going into their home place, so they will have the home field advantage,” said Hoilett. “We will have to keep compact and be hard to break down. We need to try to get a result.”

That probably should have been a strategy for them on Friday, also.

If Canada tries to run and gun against a more talented Mexican team, things are not likely to end well. Canada will need to try to limit Mexico’s chances, and convert on the few that they get themselves.

5. Out of town scoreboard

More important than what happens tonight in Mexico City is what happens in Honduras, as the Hondurans will finish off their home-and-home against El Salvador tonight.


The top-two teams in Group 1 will advance to the final stage of World Cup qualifying. Mexico appears to be a lock to take one spot, while Canada, El Salvador, and Honduras will battle for the final ticket into the final round.

The best result for Canada would be if El Salvador and Honduras tied, as they did on Friday.

Canada will play in Honduras, and at home to El Salvador later this year.

While a result tonight for Canada is a long-shot, advancing to the final round of qualifying for the first time in 20 years is a real possibility.

[youtube id=”YmoNfXxlld8″]

DH Calgary StaffDH Calgary Staff

+ News