Mauro Biello urged his Canada Under-23 males’s national team to choose up their slingshot and take down closely favored Mexico in Sunday’s Concacaf Olympic qualifying semifinal in Guadalajara (9 pm ET | Fox Sports activities, TUDN in US, OneSoccer in Canada).
That upset would send them to the Olympics for the primary time in 37 years and rank as “in all probability one of many greatest achievements in Canadian soccer history” as well as “a David-and-Goliath story,” in Biello’s phrases.
“We’re well conscious of who the opponent is, it’s the large in Concacaf,” said the former CF Montreal head coach in a Saturday press conference. “We’re able the place we needed to be, by way of now attending to that one recreation that permits us to undergo to the Olympics, and we’re it as that: It’s a one recreation, something can occur.
“We’re making ready to play the large and for us it’s all about now decreasing these areas, denying these areas for them to function in and being very particular of how we attack them and how we put them under stress in several moments. Clearly Canada has by no means received in Mexico, however on the identical time it’s an amazing alternative for us to make this occur.”
Mauro Biello supplies an UPDATE on the standing of #CanM23 captain Derek Cornelius 🚨
⚽ 🇨🇦 vs. 🇲🇽
⏰ 9PM ET/6PM PT
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— OneSoccer (@onesoccer) March 27, 2021
Biello faces a number of lineup selections however in all probability the most important query is the fitness of Derek Cornelius, the commanding center back and team leader who’s been pivotal for Les Rouges. The Vancouver Whitecaps standout scored Canada’s goal of their group-stage finale vs. Honduras however later limped off with a knee or lower-leg injury that raised doubts about his standing for Sunday.
“He obtained therapy yesterday so it’s progressing every single day,” said Biello of his defensive talisman. “We really feel at this point, from the medical team, they’re very assured that he’ll be obtainable.”
Few outside of the Canada camp are giving them a lot of a chance, given Mexico’s history of dominance a) on home soil, b) in Olympic qualification and c) head-to-head vs. Les Rouges. However they’re embracing the lengthy odds, with a watch in direction of the glory it may reap them ought to they navigate past what has up to now been the best team on this match by some margin.
“We’re enjoying against host nation, the favorites. However that just offers us a bit of bit extra motivation to take down the host of their country, proper?” said U-23s and Montreal goalkeeper James Pantemis, who confirmed that he and his teammates have been working towards penalty kicks in preparation for the chance that this conflict should be determined in a shootout.
“We’ll be going into that recreation, clearly, realizing we’re the underdogs however we will feed off that. And I believe it could be a fantastic story not solely to qualify for the Olympics, however to take down the hosts. So that is what we’ll be seeking to do.”
Biello had loads of reward for Mexico’s sharp urgent and dangerous attack, spearheaded by Alexis Vega and former LA Galaxy winger Uriel Antuna and fueled by the late-arriving runs of Carlos Rodriguez and Sebastian Cordova, this occasion’s main scorer with 4 goals to this point.
“Cordova and Rodriguez, two excellent players that really play well between the strains and really function their actions coming into the field late. These are all issues that we have to mitigate and pay attention to, and then the forwards corresponding to [JJ] Macias or Vega – Vega is also an excellent player, technical player that finds areas, he can shoot from distance,” said Biello.
“I believe the mindset for us was all the time to stay compact and tight and not give area to the opponent and really be aggressive once we will be vs. these players. I believe if we do that well, we may gradual the machine down and develop – and it is about rising on this recreation and then believing we may get one thing out of it.”