John Herdman says sealing Canada World Cup spot at home is 'in the stars'

Chris Smith
Herdman believes Canada will seal their World Cup spot on home soil.
Herdman believes Canada will seal their World Cup spot on home soil. / Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Canada head coach John Herdman believes fate has taken over to allow his side to seal their long-awaited World Cup qualification in a home match.

The Canucks went down to Costa Rica on Thursday unbeaten after 11 games, knowing a single point would have booked their place at Qatar 2022 - their first World Cup appearance since 1986.

But it wasn't to be. A Mark-Anthony Kaye red card in the first minute left the CanMNT with an uphill task, with their backs pushed further against the wall when Celso Borges put the hosts 1-0 up on the stroke of half-time.

Canada rallied in the second half and bravely dominated the match, even hitting the woodwork on a couple of occasions. But in the end, it wasn't to be, though Herdman optimistically suggested the footballing gods could have dealt his players a strange gift.

“We could have stayed there till 2 am, 3 am,” the head coach said after the match. “We won 17 games, we’ve set the other side of the table and tonight, I think the football gods were not going to give us what we need. So maybe it's in the stars – qualifying at home, and it's given us the extra motivation.”

Though both players and fans will be disappointed to lose the unbeaten record, Canada must be praised for the hard work put in to get to this point. They're in control of their own destiny and know World Cup qualification is still more likely than not, even if they ended this trio of fixtures without a point.

"We're not looking over our shoulder. [Our] destiny's in our hands," Herdman added. "We've got the quality here, we've got the spirit to go and win this outright. We can take control of our destiny. We'll take care of business this weekend. And if doesn't get taken care of there, we'll take care of it in Panama. We'll get to Qatar."

Up next is a home tie against Jamaica at Toronto FC's BMO Field on Sunday before a tough away trip to Panama on Wednesday.