Monday, July 9, 2007

Under- 20 level too much for Canada

Canada created more chances in one half then it had in two previous games.

Yet it could not take advantage of any of them and bowed out of the Under-20 World Cup without a win, a point or a goal.

Last night on a wet evening at Commonwealth Stadium, Canada lost 2-0 to Congo in their final group game of the tournament, and in the process, became the first host not to score a goal.

"It's disappointing for all the boys," Canadian captain David Edgar said. "We've worked so hard for the past two years and we're frustrated with the performance.

"We can't put our inability to score on anyone. Maybe it's a psychological thing for us when the ball is not going in the back of the net you think you're never going to score."

Needing to win by three goals to advance because of Gambia's 2-1 victory over Portugal earlier in the day, Canada launched an attack from the kickoff. The best opportunities in the first half fell to Tosaint Ricketts.

But the Alberta striker was unable to convert a header from eight yards out on a corner kick. He then failed to hit the target from a sharp angle and to top it off, was unable to get a foot on a dangerous cross through the box.

Ricketts wasn't the only player unable to convert. Andrea Lombardo, Will Johnson, Jaime Peters and Edgar all had opportunities.

Abandoning their defensive 4-5-1 formation, the Canadians pushed two strikers up front looking for goals. They were able to earn 10 corner kicks in the first half but did not produce anything.

At the other end, Congo converted on its one chance of the first half as Gracia Ikouma headed a ball to the foot of Ermejea Ngakosso who blasted it past Canadian goaltender Asmir Begovic.

Jonathan Beaulieu-Bourgault nearly scored before the end of the half, but his shot was stopped by Congolese goalkeeper Destin Onka.

Beaulieu-Bourgault had another chance before the end of the half.

In the second half, Canada again took the play to Congo. It again created chances, again failed to convert and again conceded a goal.

Ikouma scored after turning his defender at the edge of the box and blasting a shot along the wet grass past Begovic.

It's was Congo's third shot on net.

"I think if Canada would have capitalized on one of those chances early, things would have been a lot different,"

Canada was in the situation because of a 3-0 loss to Chile and a 1-0 loss to Austria in its first two games. If Canada had taken a more offensive approach they may have been in a different situation.

"I think they would have done a lot better if they had played this way against Austria, I can't say that they would have won, but they would have caused them a lot more trouble"

"They have a lot of attacking players and they could have played a lot more aggressive."

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