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Canada tops Cuba to set up Gold Cup quarterfinal showdown with U.S.

Canada got exactly what it wanted advancing to the CONCACAF Gold Cup quarterfinals.

Junior Hoilett, Jonathan Osorio, Jayden Nelson and Liam Millar scored as Canada topped Cuba 4-2 in their group stage finale on Tuesday at Shell Energy Stadium. The triumph means Canada will face Group A winner U.S. in the tournament quarterfinals on Sunday at TQL Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio.

“We were pretty clear coming into this match [about] which team we wanted to play and what game we wanted to experience in the Gold Cup,” Canada head coach John Herdman said at the post-game press conference.

“The football Gods have given us our derby match.”

The last time Canada and the U.S. met was June 18 at the CONCACAF Nations League final — Canada’s first international final since 2000 — where the Americans halted Canada’s hopes of its first trophy in 23 years with a 2-0 win.

Canada is looking to halt a different run with a victory on Sunday.

“Playing in the U.S. is difficult, it’s a home match for them, the Nations League final was a home match for them,” Herdman said. “We haven’t beaten them here since 1957, so we wanna be that first team, we wanna be that first coach, that first staff and we want our fans to experience that moment.

“I feel like these last three games, there’s been a lot of adversity for Canada, it hasn’t been easy. But we’ve played in really difficult conditions. Coming out of this, I feel like the group is tight, it’s connected and they’re hungry.”

Canada entered Tuesday’s contest needing a victory, sitting third — behind Guadeloupe and Guatemala — in Group D with just two points. The victory resulted in Canada (1-2-0) finishing second, with the top two seeds advancing from each group.

Guatemala (2-1-0) concluded atop Group D to advance following a 3-2 win Tuesday versus Guadeloupe (1-1-1) at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J.

Canada earned back-to-back draws to open the tournament, with a 2-2 decision against Guadeloupe in Toronto last Tuesday and a 0-0 result against Guatemala in Houston on Saturday.

The Canadians improved their record to 10-3-2 against Cuba, with their last meeting being a 1-0 Canada win on Sept. 10, 2019.

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