‘This is what we’re built for’: Canada target octagonal split in pursuit of Qatar 2022

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The possible substitutes are plentiful, from Hoilett to Liam Millar. Cyle Larin could potentially fill the left wing in a similar role as an inside striker at Turkish Süper Lig club Besiktas.

That’s nothing Canada isn’t used to. They qualified for a Gold Cup semi-final for the first time in 14 years without the Bayern Munich star, nearly forcing an overtime against Mexico in the semi-final. That night four or five key starters were missing, but it lasted a nerve-wracking 98 minutes El Tri to achieve victory.

In October, Canada Larin – the team’s top scorer in 2021 – was absent from Hoilett, Atiba Hutchinson and Lucas Cavallini. Also, they’ve dealt with bans on other key players like Tajon Buchanan during this three-game window.

“That’s what we were built for,” Herdman said. “We built those experiences and we traveled to Miami or Florida in March to play those games at the height of COVID. … To go to places like Haiti and then get into a Gold Cup with a squad that in the eyes of many people was very depleted.

“These experiences have just laid a foundation where we are approaching these windows with the confidence that everyone is engaging.”

Losing a player the size of Davies is obviously a challenge, but the squad approach the news with a glass half full.

“Off the pitch he brings good vibes to the camp and it’s nice to know that a guy who plays at such a high level is calm and relaxed and can crack jokes with us,” said defender Kamal Miller after a CF Montreal Training session on January 18th. “When [other teams] If you don’t see his name on the list, you might think, “Oh, today is our day, they don’t have an Alphonso.” But again, Canada have a squad with so much depth. We have so many people that could fill in there, I don’t think teams can really predict how we’re going to play against them.”

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