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Canada ‘reigniting passion’ ahead of 2024 Copa América qualifier

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Interim Canada men’s national team head coach Mauro Biello named the 23-player squad to face Trinidad and Tobago in their 2024 Copa América play-in match next week.

Canadian stalwarts such as Alphonso Davies (Bayern Munich), Jonathan Davies (Lille) and Stephen Eustáquio (FC Porto) were named to the roster.

But it also includes young and emerging talents such as Thelonius Bair (Motherwell), Moïse Bombito (Colorado Rapids) and Luc de Fougerolles (Fulham).

Canada coach wants to see hunger and passion

Speaking to media Tuesday Biello admited the culture of the men’s team needs a reset given a dip in form since qualifying for the 2022 World Cup.

“Coming out of the World Cup, there have been political distractions (and) a coaching change,” said Biello Tuesday. “When these distractions start to multiply things slip a little bit.”

But Biello believes his young squad can turn things around, starting with a positive result versus Trinidad and Tobago.

“(We) definitely want players that are hungry. It’s kind of slipped over the last year. For me it’s about reigniting that passion. That is the mindset.”

Copa America qualification crucial for Canada

Canada face Trinidad and Tobago in a one-game playoff Saturday, March 23. The winner qualifies for the 2024 Copa América tournament to be held in the United States in June and July. 

The South American tournament is serving as a test tournament for the 2026 World Cup, which is to be hosted primarily in the United States, with Canada and Mexico serving as co-hosts. As a result, six Concacaf nations will participate in the 2024 edition. Mexico, USA and Jamaica have already qualified.

If Canada qualifies, they will open the tournament against World Cup champions Argentina in Atlanta June 20, before facing Peru and Chile.

Upcoming friendlies

Canada also announced two friendlies to take place later this year. The men’s team will face Netherlands in Rotterdam Thursday, June 6 and Mexico in Texas Tuesday, Sept. 10.

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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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