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Canadian men face stiff challenge in Honduras at CONCACAF Olympic qualifier | Bet Regal Sports News

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Canadian men face stiff challenge in Honduras at CONCACAF Olympic qualifier

A triumph or draw versus Honduras on Thursday and Canada is through to the semifinals of the CONCACAF Men’s Olympic Qualifying Championship.

And if Haiti and El Salvador (both 0-1-1) tie in the earlier matchup, Canada and Honduras (both 1-0-1) will go into their final Group B game having already secured a berth in the final four of the eight-country tournament in Guadalajara, Mexico.

Their match then will be about who wins the group while determining their opposition in Sunday’s semifinals, which will decide the two countries that represent North and Central America and the Caribbean at the Tokyo Olympics.

For Canada coach Mauro Biello, the permutations are something for his staff to concern themselves with — factoring in the likes of fatigue, injuries and yellow cards.

The goal is less complex for the players.

“The mindset has to be always to win,” Biello told reporters in a virtual news conference Wednesday.

But Biello conceded that the Haiti-El Salvador result will influence him if his team is assured of moving on before kickoff.

Mexico and the U.S. (both 2-0-0) have already advanced to the semifinals with a Wednesday night showdown to determine the Group A winner.

“For sure, we have to know and understand all these scenarios and have the solutions so we can make those decisions as needed,” he said.

“We don’t want to enter that next round on empty versus one of the two tops teams,” he added. “That’s where we have to be good at managing the game once we know the clarity of that game before us. Could there be subs at the half? What is our game going to look like? Where are we at? Do we push this game to try to finish top of the group. Or is it best to have freshness?

“Look, these are what we’re going through as a staff. It’s not easy because again there’s so many factors. For me to tell you something that’s black and white, I can’t. It’s not right now. But we are looking at different scenarios and what is the best solution for us at that point.”

Both Mexico and the U.S. will present formidable challenges to the Group B survivors.

“Two very good teams. Two teams that have a lot of depth,” Biello said.

“We really haven’t focused in on that,” he added. “What we do know is that either/or will be very difficult, that (semifinal) game for sure. There’s a little bit more familiarity with the Americans in terms of all the players that play in the MLS. But for me right now, I’m really focusing on getting there.

“I know everybody wants to look at what’s that next game but the job is not done yet. So we need to make sure that we take care of business against Honduras.”

Mexico and Honduras represented the region at the 2012 and 2016 Olympics. Mexico won gold nine years ago in London while Honduras finished fourth in Rio de Janeiro.

The Americans, like Canada, have yet to concede a goal at the competition.

The Canadian men have not qualified for the Olympics since 1984 when they lost to Brazil in a quarterfinal penalty shootout. Of the 16 Olympic slots open to CONCACAF men’s teams since the 1984 Games, Mexico (5), the U.S. (5) and Honduras (4) have occupied 14 of them.

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