Floro ready for big Canadian challenge

The new coach of Canada's men's national team has a big task ahead of him, but Benito Floro says he's looking forward to the challenge.
TORONTO -- Benito Floro has a massive job in front of him, but Canada's new men's national team coach isn't daunted by the prospect of trying to guide the 88th-ranked team on the planet to just its second World Cup appearance.

"Football is the same in Canada, in Japan, Europe ... what happens [on] the pitch is the same for all," Floro said at his introductory press conference on Friday.

While the 61-year-old's vast experience has led him to posts all over the globe -- most notably in his home country of Spain with club giant Real Madrid -- the unique challenge of trying to rebuild a Canada side coming off its worst official defeat in a generation is something that even Floro won't be accustomed to.

"To lose a match 8-1 is a special situation," he said, referring to Canada's infamous World Cup Qualifying loss in Honduras last October that eliminated the team from qualification and cost former head coach Stephen Hart his job. "It's impossible for me to know what happened, but it's the past."

Floro stressed that he will have Canada moving forward from the get-go, and he wants to implement a culture in which his team aims "to win all the matches: friendlies, official, even the match[es] in training."

The Spaniard -- who speaks English and French in addition to his native tongue -- will officially start on Aug. 1, but he will attend Canada's Gold Cup games next week as an observer. Interim bench boss Colin Miller will run the squad unimpeded during the tournament, after which Floro will take the reins full time from his base in Toronto.

"His contract will take us through to World Cup qualifying, [and] there's obviously options within that contract," said Canadian Soccer Association president Victor Montagliani, who stressed that Floro's post is "results-oriented" and that the new coach is expected to improve upon the last three World Cup qualifications cycles.

"The first object is to get us into the Hex," Montagliani said.  "You can't get into the World Cup if you don't get into the Hex, so that's step no.1. Once you get into the Hex, as we've seen this year, anything can happen."

As for how Floro intends to accomplish his goals, he was specific in his vision for Canada as a soccer nation.

"I want the team [to] play in attack very well," Floro said. "But to play well it's necessary to have the ball, so we need a special system -- a defensive system -- to make [attack] possible."

He continued: "I want all my teams to play football. To play football for me is to be capable to play anywhere, in any conditions."

It's that philosophy of versatility that attracted the CSA to Floro, said Montagliani.

"We're a multicultural country and [we] wanted to have a coach that had the same experience in their travels," Montagliani explained. "And what we saw in Benito is somebody that obviously has the immense experience not only at the highest level with clubs like Real Madrid and Villarreal, but also has experience in other countries in South America, in Asia, in CONCACAF.

"He kind of touched on all the boxes that we were looking at."

In addition to the men's national team, Floro will also helm the Canadian under-23 side. Canada does not have any matches currently scheduled after the Gold Cup, but the CSA is expected to announce a friendly in the coming weeks.