Under head coach Benito Floro (pictured), Canada is undefeated after two matches in the fourth round of CONCACAF qualifying for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. (Photo: Mexsport)
OTTAWA – Last year was a significant step forward for Canada in terms of results, but despite his team going unbeaten in 12 of 14 games (6W-6D-2L), head coach Benito Floro knows there’s still plenty of work to do.
The Canadians prevailed over Dominica and Belize in the second and third rounds of CONCACAF qualifying for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, respectively, before picking up four points in in two games to begin the fourth round. In the CONCACAF Gold Cup, however, they did not get out of the group stage after being shutout in three games.
“If you speak about the figures, then yes,” Floro told CONCACAF.com in regard to his team’s better play in 2015, adding, “but if you are speaking about the level of play, not yet because we still have room to improve. We need to continue to put forth our best defense, our best attack, and best set pieces.”
Canada opens its first camp of 2016 on Monday in preparation for a February 5 friendly at the United States, all leading up to a pair of difficult qualifiers against Mexico in March.
While similar encounters may have caused concern in the not-so-distant past, Canada now has every reason to believe that picking up positive results is entirely possible. Under Floro, the chemistry shown between players like Will Johnson and Cyle Larin, as well as the addition of quality players like Queens Park Rangers midfielder Junior Hoilett, have created a positive buzz in the side.
“We have had Junior in for three international matches so far and we are very happy with his addition, both as a person and as a player,” remarked Floro on the midfielder who committed his international future to Canada last September. “We need more players like him,”
Floro is hopeful his core players can get key minutes with their club teams so that they come into March’s games fully prepared.
“Our players must use their performances with their clubs to increase individual tactical abilities,” the 63-year-old Spaniard commented. “When they arrive in March, they need to be in the best physical condition.
“I am happy with the intention of all of our players to increase our level of play, but always we would like that to happen more quickly.”
Like by the time Mexico pays a visit to Vancouver’s BC Place on March 25.