Canada faces Honduras in the final group stage match of the 2022-2023 Concacaf Nations League in Toronto Tuesday.
And a draw would see the Canadians top the group and advance to the final stage of the competition to be held in Las Vegas in June.
But head coach John Herdman says he and his squad don’t plan on settling for a stalemate against the visiting Central Americans Tuesday.
“We want to win something, for sure,” said Herdman to media Monday. “If you’re top four in Concacaf, with your quality, and you have a home match to seal a (final round place), then we should win.
“We should win this game. It’s an expectation. It’s a demand on each other.”
Nations League important to improving on world stage
Canada’s men qualified for and played at their first World Cup in 36 years last year in Qatar. But results were a slightly underwhelming, losing each of their three group games before heading home.
But Herdman believes this squad can use success at this season’s Nations League as a stepping stone towards improving performances at World Cups.
“What do we need to do to make sure that as a group the confidence is there to win at a World Cup, to really compete at it? Winning things is going to be important,” said Herdman. “Winning things in Concacaf is going to be important for us.”
Canada to enjoy the moment
This is Canada’s first home game since the 2022 World Cup. And Herdman expects this players to make it an enjoyable night for the fans.
“The players have to play with freedom,” said Herdman. “That’s the big part of the mentality for this game. Just to embrace being at home. Enjoy being on a grass pitch in conditions we don’t mind playing in. And enjoying that moment. We know we’ve got the quality to win this match at both ends of the field.”
Canadian midfielder Jonathan Osorio echoed his coach’s words and believes the midfield contribution will be key to securing the three points Tuesday evening.
“We’re looking forward to the challenge,” said Toronto FC midfielder Osorio Monday. “We want to control the game. We take that responsibility, the three in the midfield. We’re very excited to help the team on both sides of the ball, and hopefully put in a dominant performance.”
Canada’s mission to be best in Concacaf
A successful evening will take Canada to the Nations League finals where they’ll meet the likes of USA and Mexico in June. And Herdman admits Canada’s resources are limited when compared to the region’s traditional soccer powers.
But he still wants to end the 2022-2023 season on a high and he’s convinced they can win a trophy in the coming months.
“We may not have the biggest player pool. We may not have the biggest budgets,” said Herdman. “But we’ll be the best team. And that’s our mission.”