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Thursday, 11 October 2012

Head-to-Head: Canada vs. Cuba – All-time Results

    Canada and Cuba take to the pitch on Friday evening in the first of two matches that will determine whether Canada will move on to the final phase of qualification: The Hex.

    Cuba, with zero points, has already been eliminated, but don’t let that cloud the fact that they have been much tougher opposition than would have been expected.

    National Team coach Stephen Hart has reiterated the importance of not looking beyond this first match to Tuesday’s meeting with Honduras.

    The full Men’s sides of Canada and Cuba have met ten times previously. Here’s a rundown of past results:

1975 – January 5th         Friendly            Venue Unknown – La Habana, CUB

    Cuba strolled to a 4-0 win over Canada following a ten-day training camp in Bermuda over the New Year period.

    Of some interest was that Eckhard Krautzun, the first non-domestic or UK-based Canadian National Team coach, was in charge of that side. He had some interesting words to say on the lack of public support for amateur sport in Canada:  – much of which still rings true today – and upon leaving Canada to return to his native Germany he took the reigns at VfR Wormatia 08 Worms.

1981 – November 21st     CONCACAF WCQ        Estadio Tiburcio Carias Andino – Tegucigalpa, HON

    A 2-2 draw in the penultimate of fifteen matches played over a month in the Honduran capital to decide who would represent CONCACAF at the 1982 World Cup Finals in Spain.

    Had either side won, it would have seen them progress to Spain over El Salvador, who qualified alongside hosts Honduras.

    Ramon Nunez put the Cubans in the lead just eleven minutes in, but Wes McLeod drew Canada back level three minutes into the second half. The Islanders again took the lead with eleven minutes remaining, but Bob Iarusci – Robert, to the scorecard – scored an equalizer five minutes later, presumably with a header from a corner (further digging is required for that sort of information).

    These CONCACAF Championships, of which this was the final single host edition, must have been an interesting ordeal. Hopefully more information of those days in the future.

1996 – October 10th        CONCACAF WCQ        Commonwealth Stadium – Edmonton, AB, CAN

    In the first of two meeting in the third round of CONCACAF qualification for the World Cup, Canada strolled out 2-0 winners on goals from Alex Bunbury – the good Bunbury – and Paul Peschisolido.

This was a team under Bob Lenarduzzi chock full of names familiar to those more versed in the history of the national team: Craig Forrest, Frank Yallop, Nick Dasovic, and Tomasz Radzinski, to name just a few.

1996 – October 13th         CONCACAF WCQ        Commonwealth Stadium – Edmonton, AB, CAN

    Three days later the two met again at the same ground with Cuba as the home team this time round, as Cuba played all their matches away from home - a 0-2 scoreline; the Canadians again winners on goals from Peschisolido and Dasovic.

    Canada would go on to finish top of their group in the third round of CONCACAF qualification for the 1998 World Cup Finals in France. They advanced to the dreaded Hex – the last time they would do so – and finish last in that final group, dashing any hopes of an appearance at France ’98.

    Steven Sandor of The11.ca recalls the two-legged series wonderfully in a piece published prior to their first meeting in this bout of qualification back in June.

1999 – October 6th         CONCACAF Gold Cup Qualification    Memorial Coliseum – Los Angeles, CA, USA

    Canada was forced to qualify for the 2000 edition of the Gold Cup. A four-team tournament held in LA the previous October.

    A 0-0 draw in the opening match of the round-robin grouping under Holger Osieck featured a young Dwayne De Rosario, alongside stalwarts of the National Team such as Jason deVos, Pat Onstad, Jim Brennan, Jason Bent, Paul Stalteri, and Marc Bircham.

    Paul Fenwick, Tony Menezes, Carlo Corazzin, Carl Fletcher, Brad Parker, Nevio Pizzolito, Elvis Thomas, Richard Hastings, Mauro Biello, Jeff Clarke, Davide Zausa, Garret Kusch, Mark Watson, Martin Nash, and of course, the evergreen Ante Jazic, comprised the rest of the squad that would go on to top the table, qualify for the Gold Cup Proper and go on to win the whole thing.

2000 – June 4th        CONCACAF WCQ         Estadio Pedro Marrero – La Habana, CUB

    The two sides would be drawn together again in a unique play-off round to gain entry to the Semifinals of CONCACAF qualification for the 2002 World Cup to be held in South Korea and Japan.

    Their first meeting of a home-and-away two-legged series, saw Canada roll of 0-1 winners in Habana on the strength of a Jason deVos goal at the end of the first half.

2000 – June 11th        CONCACAF WCQ        Winnipeg Soccer Complex – Winnipeg, MB, CAN

    The return leg, a 0-0 draw, allowed Canada to progress to the next round where they were placed in a group with Trinidad & Tobago, Mexico, and Panama.

    Largely the same side that had won the recent Gold Cup, Canada struggled and was punished by a lack of goal scoring – only one in six matches during the Semifinal stage and that coming in their lone win over the woeful Panamainans.

    Kevin McKenna was added to the squad, beginning an illustrious National Team career that continues to this day.

2003 – July 14th        CONCACAF Gold Cup    Gillette Stadium – Foxborough, MA, USA

    A 2-0 loss with Lester More scoring both goals for the Cubans, one either side of half-time, in Canada’s second - and final – match of the 2003 Edition all but eliminated the Canadians.

    A squad laden with youthful talent yet to come of age, such as Atiba Hutchinson, Mike Klukowski, Lars Hirschfeld, Iain Hume, Chris Pozniak, Daniel Imhof, and Maycoll Canizalez, alongside some of the more-experienced heads of past campaigns.

    Canada would finish bottom of their group with the lack of finishing again proving their Achilles heel.

2005 – July 12th        CONCACAF Gold Cup    Gillette Stadium – Foxborough, MA, USA

    Canada finished the tournament strong, despite the match being a dead-rubber with the USA and Costa Rica playing out a diplomatic 0-0 draw that saw them both progress in the earlier match, with a 2-1 victory over the Cubans.

    Goals from Ali Gerba and Atiba Hutchinson late in the second half withstood a last-minute strike from Alain Cervantes.

    Once more goal-scoring would prove and issues – a theme is developing here – as a 1-0 loss to Costa Rica (a penalty kick) and a 2-0 loss to the USA (a Hutchinson own-goal followed by a late Landon Donovan strike) dooming the campaign under Frank Yallop.

    A renovated side featuring the likes of Josh Simpson, Patrice Bernier, Olivier Occean, and Jamie Peters, as well as, Greg Sutton, Adrian Serioux, Adam Braz, Patrick Leduc, Sandro Grande, and others, though shorn of some of the bigger names from the past.

2012 – June 8th        CONCACAF WCQ        Estadio Pedro Marrero – La Habana, CUB

    Draw together once more in the current third round of World Cup Qualification for Brazil 2014, Canada won the first meeting in Cuba 0-1 on an Olivier Occean header from an inch-perfect David Edgar cross from the right-flank.

    The two will meet once more on Friday, October 12th in Toronto.

In Canada – Canada 2 Wins, Cuba 0, Draws 1
On Neutral Ground – Canada 1 Win, Cuba 1, Draws 2
In Cuba – Canada 2 Wins, Cuba 1, Draws 0.

WCQ = World Cup Qualification

Self-promotional plug: Cuban News Rounds from the previous meeting back in June. Expect an updated version later this evening.

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