Canada (pictured), shown before a World Cup qualifier against visiting El Salvador on September 6, 2016, has two wins in five all-time games against Korea Republic. (Photo courtesy of Canada Soccer)
OTTAWA -- With an important World Cup qualifier coming up next month against Uzbekistan, a home friendly against Canada will be an important preparation for Korea Republic.
Because of that, Canada interim head coach Michael Findlay expects to see a full-strength starting lineup on the other side of the field when they meet on November 11.
“Our expectation is they’re probably going to match up with us probably with their strongest squad to begin,” said Findlay in a conference call Wednesday. “They have some very key players with a lot of quality that are playing in the (English) Premier League and the (German) Bundesliga.”
It’s a long way to go for the Canadians, who will travel to Asia for just the one game in the middle of the international window, but Findlay believes it’s a chance to test his players on how they will respond to the strain.
The flights of individual players from clubs in Europe and North America promise to be draining, but it will be crucial to get in some meaningful training sessions before a tough game against a talented Korean team.
“Our motivating factor in this match is the fact that we’re able to get such a high quality game given the worldwide schedule,” Findlay expressed. “In terms of lessons, I think it will logistically be the travel. It’s a short window, so our focus is going to be very specific in building on some of the things we talked about in Morocco (in October) and also those players entering the fold of getting another opportunity to affect us.”
In a May friendly, Canada earned a 2-1 win over Uzbekistan. Findlay admitted that game compelled the Koreans to seek out Canada as a final preparation before facing a common opponent, hoping to glean some knowledge on to replicate that result.
For Canada, a match against a consistent World Cup qualifier will offer a taste of the level it must reach for future success.