Canada advances to World Cup for first time in 36 years

Mar 27, 2022, 3:03 AM | Updated: 6:57 pm
Canada's Tajon Buchanan does a backflip after scoring against Jamaica during first-half CONCACAF Wo...

Canada's Tajon Buchanan does a backflip after scoring against Jamaica during first-half CONCACAF World Cup soccer qualifying action in Toronto, Sunday, March 27, 2022. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press via AP)

(Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press via AP)

TORONTO (AP) — Cyle Larin, Tajon Buchanan and Junior Hoilett scored and Canada secured its first World Cup berth in 36 years with a 4-0 victory over Jamaica on Sunday.

Canada has been to the World Cup just once before, in 1986.

“Speechless. Dream come true,” midfielder Jonathan Osorio said. “We all dreamed of this as little kids, and as a Canadian that was impossible. Today the impossible happened. It’s an incredible feeling.”

Canada missed out a chance to secure a spot in Qatar last week with a 1-0 loss to Costa Rica. It was Canada’s first loss in three World Cup qualifying rounds and it snapped a six-game winning streak.

Boosted by the home crowd at BMO Filed, Canada rebounded in a big way against the Jamaicans, who were already eliminated from World Cup contention.

Following the match the fans broke into the Canadian national anthem and Osorio led the crowd for a drum chant before the team danced on the field. Buchanan circled the field waving Canada’s flag.

Canada coach John Herdman became the first coach ever to lead both a men’s and women’s team to a World Cup berth. He coached the Canadian women’s team from 2011-18.

In a post-game interview Herdman was doused with champagne by Canadian goalkeeper Milan Borjan.

“Canada is a football nation, man. We better believe it,” Herdman said. “And we’re going to keep coming. We’ve only gotten started.”

Canada sits atop the table in the final qualifying round with 28 points, followed by the United States (25 points), which held the edge over third-place Mexico (25) on goal difference. The United States defeated Panama 5-1 and Mexico downed Honduras 1-0 in the late games Sunday.

Costa Rica won 2-1 at El Salvador to maintain fourth place with 22 points and prevent the U.S. from being able to clinch Sunday night. Anthony Contreras scored on a bicycle kick in the 30th minute, Christian Gil tied the score one minute later and Joel Campbell put the Ticos ahead in the first minute of first-half stoppage time. Costa Rica hosts the U.S. on Wednesday night.

The top three finishers in the North and Central American and Caribbean region book the trip to Qatar. The fourth-place team goes to an intercontinental playoff against a team from Oceania.

The Canadians wrap up the qualifying round Wednesday in Panama.

Because Canada was ranked 73rd in July 2020 when the format was announced, it had to advance through two early rounds and was playing its 17th qualifier Sunday. Canada has improved to 33rd.

Snow fell at times at BMO Field. Temperatures were in the 20s at game time but its didn’t daunt a red-clad crowd of more than 29,000.

Larin put Canada in front early with his team-leading 13th goal of the qualifying tournament. He had another clear chance in the 38th minute but the ball went just wide.

Larin is one goal behind Ali Mabkhout of the United Arab Emirates for most goals in qualifying for Qatar. Larin, who leads the national team with a best-ever 24 goals, has had six goals in the final round.

Buchanan scored in the 44th, celebrating with a backflip, to put Canada up 2-0 going into the break.

Hoilett added the final goal in the 82nd and an own goal in the 88th to round out scoring.

“Look, I’m just happy for these lads,” Herdman said. “When I first took over and I said `We’re going to go to the World Cup, we’ll qualify. I don’t think they believed us. “

Just one of Canada’s players Sunday was alive when the nation was last in the World Cup: Captain Atiba Hutchison was 3 when the Canadians lost to France, Hungary and the Soviet Union by a combined 5-0 at the 1986 tournament in Mexico.

Canada has been playing without star Alphonso Davies, who missed the previous three qualifying matches because myocarditis was discovered after he caught COVID-19 un January.

___

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Bump & Stacy Show

AP

Norway's Casper Rudd plays a return to France's Ugo Humbert in a second round men's singles match o...
Associated Press

French Open runner-up Ruud loses in 2nd round at Wimbledon

WIMBLEDON, England (AP) — Yet another of the highest-ranked players on the men’s tour is out of the tournament at Wimbledon. Novak Djokovic or Rafael Nadal are not among them. Casper Ruud, the runner-up to Nadal at this year’s French Open, became the seventh of the top 11-ranked male players to be out of the […]
1 day ago
FILE - Barclays Center Chief Executive Officer Brett Yormark is shown during a press conference at ...
Associated Press

Big 12 picks Roc Nation’s Brett Yormark as next commissioner

DALLAS (AP) — Brett Yormark, an executive with Jay-Z’s Roc Nation and former CEO of the Brooklyn Nets, was named Big 12 commissioner Wednesday, another unconventional hire by a major conference amid the rapidly changing landscape of college athletics. Yormark is taking over for Bob Bowlsby, who came to the league a decade ago after […]
1 day ago
Tropicana Field is viewed after a baseball game, June 5, 2022, in St. Petersburg, Fla. The mayor of...
Associated Press

St. Pete mayor reopens talks on future of Rays stadium site

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — The mayor of St. Petersburg, Florida, is reopening talks about the future of the Tropicana Field site where baseball’s Tampa Bay Rays play their home games. Mayor Ken Welch said Wednesday that two previous proposals for the 86-acre (348,000-square-meter) downtown location are being scrapped, with a new round of plans […]
1 day ago
Serena Williams of the US waves as she leaves the court after losing to France's Harmony Tan in a f...
Associated Press

Analysis: If this was it for Williams at Wimbledon, it works

WIMBLEDON, England (AP) — If this turns out to have been the last time the world gets to watch Serena Williams at Wimbledon — and she says she doesn’t know, so how could the rest of us? — it would not be how she would want to depart, naturally. Yet it still would be, in […]
1 day ago
France's Harmony Tan celebrates after beating Serena Williams of the US in a first round women's si...
Associated Press

Tan’s doubles partner angered by Wimbledon withdrawal

WIMBLEDON, England (AP) — A day after eliminating Serena Williams from Wimbledon in her debut at the grass-court Grand Slam, Harmony Tan surprised and angered her doubles partner by withdrawing from that tournament on Wednesday with a thigh injury. Tan, a Frenchwoman ranked 115th who beat the 23-time Grand Slam singles champion 7-5, 1-6, 7-6 […]
1 day ago
FILE - Archbishop Gregory Aymond conducts the procession to lead a live streamed Easter Mass in St....
Associated Press

FBI opens sweeping probe of clergy sex abuse in New Orleans

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The FBI has opened a widening investigation into sex abuse in the Roman Catholic Church in New Orleans going back decades, a rare federal foray into such cases looking specifically at whether priests took children across state lines to molest them, officials and others familiar with the inquiry told The Associated […]
1 day ago
Canada advances to World Cup for first time in 36 years