Canada coach Stephen Hart sounded a note of caution despite the Canucks securing their place in the next round of the CONCACAF 2014 FIFA World Cup™ qualifiers at the weekend. Hart's side wrapped up a spot in the next stage with a goalless Group D draw away to St Kitts and Nevis on Friday, a result which renders tonight's rematch immaterial.
Yet rather than celebrate, Hart has warned his side they must improve if they are to navigate their way through a group featuring Honduras, Cuba and Panama in the next round. "We need to start playing like we need to play when we're away from home," Hart told Sportsnet.ca in the wake of Friday's drab but sufficient goalless draw in the Caribbean. "I don't think we passed the ball well at all we came here and said 'all we need to do is get a point'. We didn't perform well."
There is nothing at stake but pride in tomorrow's games, with spaces in the next round already wrapped up. Canada joined Panama and Guatemala, who had already qualified from Groups C and E, while El Salvador (Group A), Guyana (Group B) and Antigua & Barbuda (Group F) put themselves through.
We need to start playing like we need to play when we're away from home. We didn't perform well.
Guyana grabbed their semi-final spot with Friday's 2-1 home win against traditional favourites Trinidad and Tobago and coach Jamaal Shabazz was delighted to see their hard work pay off. Ahead of tomorrow's repeat of the fixture, this time away from home, he told Trinidad and Tobago Newsday: "This is history for Guyana and we created it by showing what belief, determination and a will to accomplish something can do for our lives and our country. It was a moment we dreamed about and we worked together and made it happen".
Opposite number Otto Pfister was philosophical about his side's predicament. "When you look back now, for me this campaign was lost when we lost to Bermuda," he said. "If you look back at the round, that result made it difficult for us and we did not come back as we should."
Panama and Guatemala play Domenica and Grenada respectively tomorrow while El Salvador host Suriname in what is bound to be a carnival atmosphere. Guyana travel to Trinidad and Tobago while Antigua and Barbuda, also jubilant after securing their place, travel to face a dejected Haiti.
Other games see Puerto Rico at home to St Lucia, the Cayman Islands host the Dominican Republic, Belize go to St Vincent and Grenadines and Curacao welcome the US Virgin Islands.