We are in group A and will be playing Canada. Mexico and Honduras are already in group A. The winners of the games between El Salvador and Curacao and Belize and Canada will join Mexico and Honduras in group A.
Belize will play in Toronto Canada at the BMO Field on September 4th- and then Canada comes to play in Belize on September 8th.
Talking about the Belize Jaguars…it’s been a while since we’ve heard about the team and their preparations for the third qualifying round of the World Cup 2018 Games. Late July, it was announced that Belize will be facing off with the Canadian national team. Those games will be played on the fourth of September in Canada and four days later, on the eighth, a return match at the F.F.B. Stadium in Belmopan. The Jaguars have been in camp training since June and have been perfecting its strategy, while monitoring the technique of its new opponent. Assistant Coach, Charlie Slusher spoke to News Five today about the training process and preparing for the September games.
Charlie Slusher, Asst. Coach, Belize Jaguars
“We have laid down a good foundation when it comes to the amount of preparation. Now we are about to be close to what we call crunch time. So the next two to three weeks is total concentration and even if the guys were not serious and were holding back, this is not the time for it. Now we are in game mode in the sense that everything we do from now until then is working on our strategy; more or less how we will be playing the away game in Canada. So we already started to work our system in how we will approach that game in Canada because it is different playing away than home.”
“Are you confident that you will be able to defeat an elite team such as Canada?”
“What I can say is that we have confidence in our team; that is the most important that. Like I have been saying, we have a fighting chance to advance and I say fighting meaning that as long as we go out there and give our best… and I think with the preparation that we have been doing, we have a great, great chance to advance.”
“I know you spoke about developing a strategy, but is there anything that looking at their games, is there anything that the national team is going to do to match what they are doing?”
“First of all, we have to work on our strength and try to maintain that because we cannot change the way we play football or what have brought us the success. As you said, it is very important to watch those guys and we have been doing that and that is how we are strategizing. What we know is that they are very big, they play a lot of long ball; so height they might have an advantage over us. So we have to work a lot on the air balls and how to defend the balls on the back, corner kicks and a lot of dead balls situations. So like I said, we have been watching games of them and we have been strategizing basically from what we have been seeing. Definitely our strength is basically speed; we are not a ticky tacky type of team when it comes to those quite of quality. We are a counter attacking team so we gotta continue use that. And that’s is what we have been practicing and how we can work on our strengths. We cannot divert from Belizean football and our qualities; we are not gonna fool ourselves. So we are going to continue to work on the things that have given us the greatest success.”
Belize Jaguars Need Your Help
This past week, the Football Federation of Belize has been ensuring that the players and the delegation heading to Canada were able to get their visas and required documents to travel. But that aside, the training and the participation of the Belize Jaguars in the qualifiers is an expensive venture – one, which Assistant Coach, Charlie Slusher says can only work with assistance and support from the public.
Charlie Slusher, Asst. Coach, Belize Jaguars
“The success of the national team in this era is because of the amount of time that they have been training together. But it is very expensive to hold a team for this long. For example, after the DR game…just for the Canada game, we have been in camp for two months and that’s full camp. So just getting the stipend for the players and the food and every other things…you are not even talking about traveling to Canada as yet. So it is a very expensive venture and we can only appeal and ask the Belizean public to support this cause because at the end of the day, we want our team, our players, to be comfortable going to Canada with peace of mind and just concentrate on football and don’t have to concentrate on…maybe we don’t have this and we don’t have that because of financing. So we definitely need the public support and a lot of people might just want to find…it is easy to find an excuse why I don’t want to give. But just think about the team and the benefit of the team.”
Right now, the Belize Jaguars are on their way to Toronto, Canada for a World Cup Qualifier on Friday. It's the first time Belize has reached the third round of qualifying - and this will be their toughest matchup yet, against the team that is ranked 101 by FIFA. Belize is ranked 123rd but has a lot to prove, after Canada beat us 8 to nil on aggregate goals, back in 2004 - which is the last time the two countries met in world cup qualifiers.
So, Friday's game at the BMO Stadium in Toronto will be a time for the ascendant Belize team to prove itself against first world competition.
High stakes, and our 7News team was at the airport this morning when they checked in to fly out, and we spoke with a few of the players about the game:
Dalton Eiley - Member, Belize National Team "The feeling is great. The team is together. We are happy with everything. We've worked out all the details. Now it's just to go over there and get the job done. Get a draw if possible. A win would be better, but just a draw would be fine enough - come home and seal it."
Danny Jimenez - Member, Belize National Team "The team is focused. The team is together right now and a lot of love is about and everybody is worked hard and the objective is to go out there and do good and come back with a victory and advance to the next stage. Because we reached far, yes, but this is not where we want to reach. We want to reach to the end. I know Belize on a whole and the fans, the football family is expecting the team to reach as far as we could go and that i what we will do for them."
Woodrow West - Member, Belize National Team "The team is doing well. I trained with them last night and the spirit is there to move ahead and that's what we want them to understand that the team want to go as far as we could and we are just on game away from the 4th round. That's the aim right now to reach the 4th round and I think it's going to be another history for Belize and that's in the mind of all players - that we want to win against Canada. We know it's going to be a difficult game and it's not easy because Canada is a very good team as well. But we know how we could play ball and with heart and love and unity I think we could pull it off."
Daniel Ortiz "Their roster is filled with all professional players and where we are we have mostly semi-professionals and a few guys like yourself who has gone out and played with professional teams, but the odds would be in their favor."
Evan Mariano - Member, Belize National Team "At the end of the day that is true and we can't take that away from them and then on the football its 11 vs 11 and one ball. So the more we could contain the ball, the more position we could keep on the ball and then we keep our formation and the way we've been working out for the last couple of months, I guess we could come out with a victory. I means its 11 vs 11 and we are all men on the field."
Shane Moody Orio - Member, Belize National Team "We need to know that the level of play we are facing is much different than the last series and the development. What we do, we do respect the Canadian team and I know they respect the Belizean national team. So hopefully we would be able to move forward from there, move forward in the aspects of knowing our strengths, knowing our weakness, knowing when to capitalize and know when to take advantage of specific situations during the series. But again, like I said the most important things is for us to stick to our game plan come Friday and be safe at all times and that's the most important thing."
Elroy Smith - Member, Belize National Team "We already know it's going to be a hard game. We know that the players from Canada are professional. I think our main key is to go out there focused, well concentrated and try stop any attack that they bring. It will be hard, but I know the team is ready for it. I feel that the defenders worked hard for the last 3 months and so I feel that we could do it."
Deon McCaulay - Member, Belize National Team "Going to Canada, playing in front of all those fans, there will be pressure. But you have to know how to deal with the pressure."
The team arrives in Toronto late tonight.
Friday's game in Canada will be played at 5:30 Belize time - and you can see it here on Channel 7. The return match will be played at the FFB Stadium in Belmopan on Next week Tuesday, September 8.
Canada vs. Belize | CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying Preview
Things are starting to get serious for Canada in 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying, with CONCACAF’s semifinal round getting underway in November. But before play begins in that group, Canada must first get past Belize in a home-and-home series.
While the two teams are surprisingly close to one another in the most recent FIFA rankings (Canada at No. 101, Belize at No. 123), most Canadian fans will view the series against the small Central American nation (with a population under 350,000) as a mere formality.
Belize has never reached the penultimate round of World Cup qualifying, and will be motivated to make a bit of national team history. Canada, meanwhile, has some motivation of its own after a disappointing CONCACAF Gold Cup tournament over the summer.
With the first leg coming at BMO Field, where Canada has never lost an official match, Les Rouges will be anxious to put themselves in a comfortable position ahead of the second leg. Anything less than a victory by several goals will leave the team’s emotionally scarred supporters feeling supremely antsy heading into the return leg down in Central America.
Roster note: Veteran midfielder Julian de Guzman was medically cleared to join the national team following the initial roster release, and was subsequently added to the squad.
Broadcast note: The game can be seen live on TLN in Canada and a live stream will be available on the CSA’s website, canadasoccer.com.
The two teams met in a similar two-legged World Cup qualifying series back in June 2004. Both games were played in Kingston, Ontario (Belize did not have a suitable stadium at the time), and both were won 4-0 by Canada. Those are the only two historical meetings between the squads.
The Canadians have four wins, three draws and two losses in 2015—but whether it’s been a “good” year so far is a matter of some debate.
Canada exited the Gold Cup without scoring a goal (two scoreless draws and a last-minute 1-0 loss to Jamaica), causing much consternation among pundits and fans. But head coach Benito Floro, who has worked to implement a disciplined defensive structure in his two years at the helm, chose to focus on his side’s ability to stop opposing goals rather than its inability to score goals of their own.
Indeed, Canada’s defense has been stingy in the last 18 months, conceding just eight goals in 14 games. And despite the goalless Gold Cup, Canada did post a 6-0 aggregate win over Dominica in World Cup qualifying in June.
But while grinding out low-scoring results against CONCACAF’s heavyweights might be Floro’s long-term plan, a narrow result against a minnow such as Belize will do little to ease the growing concerns amongst observers of the team.
Fresh off a pair of aggregate victories in the first two rounds of World Cup qualifying (an away-goals win over the Cayman Islands in March, and a 5-1 aggregate decision over the Dominican Republic in June), Belize shot up to an all-time high of No. 118 in the FIFA rankings in July.
But those wins over fellow regional minnows might be deceiving. Against tougher opposition at the Copa Centroamericana in September 2014, Belize posted three straight losses (against Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras). But with a little bit of momentum behind them in a thus-far-undefeated 2015, the Belize squad will be crossing their fingers for a shocking result against Canada.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Canada – Will Johnson. The Portland Timbers captain is expected to make his first appearance for the national team in over two years, after an extended absence due to injury and other circumstances. The 28-year-old looks to be one of the key veterans upon whom Floro will rely for leadership during this World Cup qualifying campaign.
Belize – Deon McCaulay. The 27-year-old striker is the all-time leading scorer for the Belize national team, with 20 goals in 35 appearances. Like virtually all of his teammates, he’s spent most of his career playing in Belize, though McCaulay did spend part of the last two years with the NASL’s Atlanta Silverbacks. He’ll be the main—perhaps the only—offensive threat for his squad.
GOALKEEPERS (3): Milan Borjan (PFK Ludogorets Razgrad/Bulgaria); Maxime Crépeau (Montreal Impact); Kenny Stamatopoulos (AIK Fotbol/Sweden)
DEFENDERS (7): David Edgar (Sheffield United/England); Luca Gasparotto (Greenock Morton/Scotland); Manjrekar James (Diósgyöri VTK/Hungary); Sam Adekugbe (Vancouver Whitecaps FC); Marcel de Jong (Sporting Kansas City); Nik Ledgerwood (Energie Cottbus/Germany); Karl W. Ouimette (New York Red Bulls)
MIDFIELDERS (10): Tesho Akindele (FC Dallas); Kyle Bekker (Montreal Impact); Julian de Guzman (Ottawa Fury FC); Atiba Hutchinson (Beşiktaş JK/Turkey); Will Johnson (Portland Timbers); Issey Nakajima-Farran (Terengganu FA/Malaysia); Michael Petrasso (Queens Park Rangers/England); Samuel Piette (Racing Ferrol/Spain); Adam Straith (Fredrikstad FK/Norway); Russell Teibert (Vancouver Whitecaps)
FORWARDS (3): Marcus Haber (Crewe Alexandra/England); Cyle Larin (Orlando City SC); Tosaint Ricketts (Boluspor/Turkey)
GOALKEEPERS (3): Woodrow West (Belmopan Bandits/Belize); Shane Orio (Suchitepéquez/Guatemala); Keith Allen (unattached)
DEFENDERS (6): Khalil Velasquez (unattached); Dalton Eiley (Belmopan Bandits/Belize); Ian Gaynair (Belmopan Bandits/Belize); Elroy Smith (Platense/Honduras); Jessie Smith (unattached); Evral Trapp (Verdes FC/Belize)
Canada looks to keep focus against Belize For training, Belize’s national team pits cops against robbers.
Not the pre-teen version you played in your backyard. Rather, the domestic soccer derby version.
After all, it’s CONCACAF, where bizarre things happen throughout World Cup qualification.
Canada hosts a Belizean side Friday night at BMO Field that consists of players predominantly from two domestic clubs: Police United and the Belmopan Bandits. The former was – and maybe still is – comprised of actual law enforcement. We can’t be sure. They don’t have a proper website.
As for the Bandits, well, we don’t want to speculate about alleged criminal pasts.
It’s safe to assume Canada’s staff likely doesn’t know much about Belize heading into CONCACAF’s third round.
Canadian men look to dispatch underdog Belize in FIFA World Cup qualifying Superstitious Canadian soccer fans may not be happy to know that Belize is home to the world's largest sinkhole.
Located 100 kilometres from the mainland, "the Great Blue Hole" is 300 metres wide and 125 metres deep.
Canadian coach Benito Floro will be looking to avoid blundering into a Belize-made hole as his team opens a home-and-away World Cup qualifying series Friday at Toronto's BMO Field.
On the surface, it should be smooth sailing. British bookmaker William Hill has Belize as a 12-1 underdog.
Canada is ranked 102nd in the world while Belize -- whose population is around 350,000 -- is No. 128. The Canadian men dispatched the Jaguars 8-0 on aggregate when they met in a similar qualifying tie in 2004.
Canada vs Belize 3-0 All Goals & Highlights 04-9-2015
Canada Downs Belize In World Cup Qualifier
Today in Toronto Canada, the Belize Jaguars lost three nil to the Canadian Men's' National Team. The Canadians one goal in the first half, and two in the second - against a Belize defence - which was undermined by a midfield which was slow to rotate to the corners.
Now, the National Team returns home for the return match at the FFB Field on Tuesday where the Jaguars need to score at least three goals - which would force a penalty - or four goals clear, which would make us qualify. And they have to make sure Canada does not even score goal. Not an easy task - but just like tonight's game - you'll be able to see that one live on Channel 7 on Tuesday night at 8:00.
Canada all but booked its spot in the fourth round of CONCACAF qualification for the 2016 FIFA World Cup following a 3-0 win over Belize on a gorgeous Friday night before 10,412 fans at BMO Field.
Tosaint Ricketts was the star of the show, bagging a pair of goals for Canada, who now holds the distinct advantage over Belize going into the second leg. Atiba Hutchinson also scored for Canada.
This is a two-game CONCACAF qualifier with the winner based on aggregate score moving on. Canada just needs a draw in the return match next Tuesday in the Belize capital of Belmopan to advance to the fourth round. A 2-0 loss is also good enough for Canada. Belize needs a four-goal win in the second leg.
Canada was clearly the better side, and it was one-way traffic for most of the match. Still, it was a bit of a laboured performance for Canada, especially against a Belize team that only boasts three full-time professional players—the majority of their players have other jobs.
Canadian coach Benito Floro was pleased with the performance and felt his side comfortably controlled the match, and created a number of chances. But he also bemoaned his players’ lack of finishing, feeling Canada could have scored more goals.
“We can say the result was a little soft, but good,” Floro offered.
He later added: “Three goals is a good result but not enough to relax for the next game.”
Ricketts didn’t sound as concerned as his coach, pointing out that Canada did have scoring opportunities.
“As long as we’re getting chances I think things are okay. If you get enough chances the ball is going to go in. It’s better to get chances than not get any,” Ricketts offered.
Hutchinson concurred: “We controlled the game from start to finish. We played some good football. ... It was a good attacking performance from us.”
Curiously, Floro used a holding midfielder to shield the back four, almost acting as a fifth defender. At times, Hutchinson was deployed in the role—an odd assignment for Canada’s best attacking midfielder, to say nothing of why Canada needed an extra defender against a side the calibre of Belize.
Midfielder Will Johnson started for Canada on Friday, making his first appearance for the national team in over two years. It was also his first game back at BMO Field since breaking his leg in an MLS match against Toronto FC last September.
Canada is ranked 102nd in the world while Belize is No. 128.
A tediously dull first half saw Canada dominate but struggle to create anything in the final third of the pitch. Belize couldn’t connect its passes, and was only able to venture over the halfway line a few times. Canada had six shots on target in the opening 45 minutes—Belize didn’t have any. As the game wore on, Belize put more men behind the ball, making it harder for Canada to break through.
“It is true that Belize was very compact in front of their box, but it was not their defensive qualities that caused problems for us. It was our fault for not scoring more goals,” Floro assessed.
Veteran Canadian midfielder Julian de Guzman was subbed out in the 14th minute with a calf injury and was replaced by Samuel Piette.
The breakthrough came in the 25th minute. Belize goalkeeper Woodrow West made a fantastic save from in close, but he couldn’t control the rebound and his defenders couldn’t clear it. Ricketts managed to poke it past West in a mad goalmouth scramble.
The Canadians came out with more fire to start the second half. Ricketts made a number of swift moves to cut into the box from the wing, but his pass to Issey Nakajima-Farran had too much weight on it for the veteran to control, and he hit a weak shot right at the Belize goalkeeper.
Canada padded its lead in the 65th minute. Nik Ledgerwood whipped a fantastic ball from the flank deep into the box that Ricketts side-footed home for his 12th goal in 43 appearances for his country.
Hutchinson added a third goal for Canada late in regulation on a scrappy play just moments after West made a brilliant save to deny Johnson, tipping the midfielder’s blast from just inside the box just over the crossbar.
NOTES: The winner of this series advances to the semifinal round of the CONCACAF qualifiers, and will compete in a round-robin group with Mexico (No. 26 in the world), Honduras (No. 81), and either El Salvador (No. 107) or Curacao (No. 148). The top two teams from that group move on to "The Hex," the final round of CONCACAF qualifying... Former national team star Dwayne De Rosario was honoured in a special ceremony conducted on the field before kickoff. De Rosario, who retired earlier this season, is Canada’s all-time scorer with 22 goals. He also ranks third in appearances with 81...