Canada vs. Belarus
2013 International Friendly
6pm AST (11am ET), March 25, 2013
Aspire Zone Sports Facility, Doha, Qatar
Canada's brief Qatari adventure concludes tomorrow with a game against Belarus, 11 a.m Eastern watch it live on, um, the CSA's twitter feed. No stream for this one sadly. It's a chance for the current interim coach Tony Fonseca to learn a bit more about the players in the squad, whether by sticking with the same players against a different type of playing style, or changing things up, resting some of those who played on Friday and making sure everyone who made the trip gets some playing time.
It'll probably be a bit of both, you'd hope to see the younger players who impressed get a chance, Randy Edwini-Bonsu for example, or Marcus Haber who, though fairly quiet overall, managed to score a goal. Given Canada's lack of reliable options up front, may as well give him a chance to get on a roll and press his case for more time when the serious games happen in the Gold Cup.
Of the people that didn't play, hopefully goalie Tomer Chencinski can get some action to win his first cap, and from a TFC perspective, it'd be good to have Ashtone Morgan out there. He's struggled a bit this year so a chance for him to get some playing time in a friendly game is a good thing, hopefully he can get his game going and get some confidence to bring back to Toronto with him.
As for Belarus, I'm not going to pretend I know a whole lot about them, but they're a good level of opponent for Canada. Ranked 62nd in the world right now (Canada's at 68, would a win here take us above them? Wouldn't that be exciting and worthwhile) the last time the teams met Canada came out on top 1-0 thanks to an Andre Hainault goal. They're currently 4th in their group for world cup qualifying, their 1 win in 4 games coming against Georgia.
They played against Jordan on the 21st, losing 1-0 with what looks like a bit of a B squad called up for the games, missing some of their most experienced or high profile players. Vitali Rodionov is the highest scoring of the current squad, with 6, though Renan Bressan jumps out as one to watch, a Brazilian/naturalised Belarussian midfielder who has 3 goals in 8 caps for them and was voted their player of the year for 2012.
In and of itself of course, this game doesn't really matter, but it's another good test, against what is probably a more physical team than the technically adept Japanese side.. In Januray, an awful performance against Denmark was followed by a much improved game against the US. Hopefully there'll be a similar improvement here, some good performances, fresh insight into some players and all those good things. Not that we'll be able to see them for ourselves, what with the lack of stream. Because of that, id doesn't really seem worth having a seperate game thread, so we'll have major updates, team news, goals and whatever conversation might come from all that in the comments section here, so join us tomorrow morning for all the exciting twitter copy and paste action you can handle.
In the meantime, here's a preview video from the CSA, with Fonseca, David Edgar and Kyle Bekker throwing out all the cliches you'd expect, amusingly with an unfortunate freeze frame of Edgar looking like he's doing the classic British 'finger under your nose' Hitler impression.