With Canada embarrassingly crashing out of World Cup qualifying, head coach Stephen Hart didn’t make any excuses for the way his team played, but he did plead for its forgiveness.
SAN PEDRO SULA, Honduras – To call that game a disaster simply wouldn’t quite do it justice.
Needing just a point to reach the Hexagonal for the first time in four World Cup cycles, Canada wasn’t just hit by a Honduran truck: they were hit and run over repeatedly as Jerry Bengston and Carlo Costly each had hat-tricks and helped Honduras to an 8-1 victory which crushed Canada’s World Cup aspirations.
The game was already over before the conclusion of the first half as Bengston scored twice and Costly and Mario Martinez each added a goal apiece to give the Hondurans a 4-0 lead at the break.
Canada head coach Stephen Hart didn’t excuse his team’s performance.
“You’re supposed to go down all guns blazing,” said an emotional Hart. “You’re supposed to fight. You’re supposed to die out there. We were horrible.”
Two minutes into the game, Canada came close to scoring first when Tosaint Ricketts couldn’t control a Simeon Jackson cross, one that would have probably been easier to head in the back of the net instead. And a few minutes later, with Canada unable to clear, Bengston was through on goal and Honduras found itself on the scoreboard.
Canada tried to respond and came close when Simeon Jackson’s shot went off the post and Ricketts missed the impending rebound, but again it was Honduras that would score as Bengston found himself unmarked in the 16th minute and banged in a rebound off a Lars Hirschfeld save.
“It was almost like you get a little foothold and a couple passes and then we give away a stupid pass, it breaks down and bang—it’s a goal,” said Kevin McKenna, who admitted he’ll be taking a few weeks to decide what his international future holds.
“I can't believe they’re scoring on every single chance.”
With the game and their World Cup hopes all but dashed, it was just a matter of finishing the second 45 minutes, but it was an agonizing one as Honduras added four more.
Costly banged in a Martinez cross just three minutes into the half and Martinez’s left-footed stunner made it 6-0.
Though Iain Hume scored on a free kick in the 76th minute, Honduras answered with two more goals of its own as both Bengston and Costly capped off the game with hat-tricks and put an end to what had been a promising qualifying run for the Reds.“You want desperately for Canada to do well,” Hart said. “All I can do is ask the fans’ forgiveness on behalf of the players. I know they’ll never forgive me.”
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