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Canada advances to Nations League Finals with big win over Honduras

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Canada beat Honduras 4-1 in the final group game of the 2022-2023 Concacaf Nations League in Toronto Tuesday.

The result advances the Canadians to the four-team Nations League Finals in June.

A draw would have been enough for Canada to reach the Nations League semifinals. But a day before the game head coach John Herdman said he wouldn’t settle for a single point against Honduras and that he and his squad demanded victory Tuesday.

And so it proved to be.

Larin scores quick fire double for Canada

Canada set the early tempo as Honduras lined up cautiously, looking to hold the hosts and play on the counter attack.

But Cyle Larin found the early breakthrough for the hosts after a neat exchange with Jonathan Osorio in the 8th minute. The Toronto FC midfielder sliced through the Honduran defence before laying the ball off to Larin, who slotted past keeper Luis López to score his 27th international goal.

Canada doubled their lead when the Real Valladolid striker doubled his tally on the night three minutes later when he lost his marker to comfortably head in a corner kick at the far post.

Head coach Herdman was impressed by his two-goal striker and believes Larin’s time in Spain’s La Liga will continue to benefit the Canadian national team.

“He came into this camp as fit as I’ve seen him. You see it in his pressing intensity,” said Herdman of his striker after the match. “I think the Cyle Larin you’re seeing now is a guy that could help us win a Nations League final.”

And Larin had a golden opportunity to grab a first-half hat-trick in the 40th minute when Canada was awarded a penalty kick after a Honduran handball. 

Designated penalty taker Jonathan David unselfishly gave the ball to Larin, who was hoping to complete his hat-trick. But the Canadian striker couldn’t capitalize, sliding his shot wide past López’s left post.

David gets on the scoresheet 

But it took only four second-half minutes for Jonathan David to grab Canada’s third. The Lille OSC striker pounced on a loose ball to score his 25th international goal from eight yards.

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Honduras narrowed the deficit to two goals when striker Jorge Benguché flicked a header past Canadian keeper Milan Borjan after a 73rd minute corner kick.

But Jonathan Osorio put the match beyond doubt claiming Canada’s fourth goal in the 86th minute, chipping López after being played through by Ayo Akinola.

Herdman praises Koné’s performance

20 year-old Watford midfielder Ismaël Koné was singled out by Herdman after a dominant performance in the midfield Tuesday night.

“It’s about one of the best midfield performances I’ve ever seen in my time here,” said Herdman. “That was a real breakout performance for Canada.

“I thought against Curacao he was very disciplined and professional. But I thought tonight he just turned it up a notch and enjoyed his football.”

Up next for Canada

Canada’s men will next come together to compete in the Nations League Finals in Las Vegas in June, where they’ll face either Panama or Costa Rica in the semifinals.

“If you want to be a part of Concacaf’s elite you have to be in these final moments,” said Herdman. “You’ve got to get into these big events. It’s the first in our history to get to Nations League finals. And I think this group believe they can win it.”


About Author

Photographer and Writer | Stuart Gradon is soccer journalist and web communications professional. He covers Cavalry FC of the Canadian Premier League and Canada's national teams. He has also worked on assignment at FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, FIFA Women's World Cup Canada 2015 and FIFA World Cup South Africa 2010.

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