Canada & The 1986 World Cup

You wouldn’t know it from the absolute lack of media coverage in the UK, but the CONCACAF Gold Cup – North & Central America’s equivalent of the European Championships – is currently being played out in the USA, and one of the minor surprises of the competition so far has been the progress of the Canadian national team, who have comfortably qualified for the quarter-finals with two wins from their three group matches against Jamaica and El Salvador. In the next round, they take on Honduras next Saturday in Philadelphia. The Canadian men’s national team has, however, a somewhat less than glorious record in the international stage. They have already been eliminated from the 2010 World Cup Finals in South Africa, picking up just two points from their six matches in a group which also contained Honduras, Mexico and Jamaica. They did qualify for the World Cup Finals once, though, in 1986, and they did so against what should have been insurmountable odds. The story of Canada’s run to the 1986 World Cup Finals begins two years earlier at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. They qualified from their group, beating Cameroon 3-1 on the way, to make the quarter-finals of the competition, where they met Brazil at the Stanford Stadium in Palo Alto. What should have been a very one-sided match, however, didn’t go according to plan...

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