Canada coach: Young squad got harsh 90-minute lesson

Canadian international Doneil Henry

Photo Credit: 
Courtesy of CSA

TUCSON, Ariz. – It was somewhat expected that an inexperienced Canada team would endure a tough test against Denmark on Saturday. But it was still disappointing to see how the Danes manhandled the young Canadians – not by superior skill and experience, but by taking advantage of one Canadian mistake after another in a 4-0 rout.

All three of Denmark’s goals in the first half came down to poor marking, with hat trick hero Andreas Cornelius the main beneficiary of the Canadians’ slack defending.

“The glaring thing for me was how we defended on all four goals,” Canada interim head coach Colin Miller told reporters postgame. “At this level of football, against such a quality team as Denmark, then this 4-0 scoreline is going to be repeated.”

OPTA Chalkboard: Canadian defense overrun by Danes

Cornelius got things started eight minutes in by out-jumping Canada defender Doneil Henry (above) and heading the ball in. And Denmark kept it up, with Kasper Lorentzen being played in all by himself just three minutes later with plenty of space to place his shot past Lars Hirschfeld for the Danes’ second.

Then in the 35th minute, it was Cornelius in the right place again after Canada couldn’t clear Jores Okore’s header off the crossbar. They knew they were likely going to be taught a lesson and Denmark was more than willing to show what happens when a team makes mistakes.

“One chance down in our end and it was a goal,” said veteran Dwayne De Rosario, who started in the attack but played in a more withdrawn role before coming off in the second half. “I don’t think we had enough pressure on the ball defensively and enough tenacity in the back. We picked it up as the game went on, but by that time, we were 3-0 down.”

FULL LINEUPS AND BOX SCORE

Henry was certainly thrown right into the deep end for his first senior cap. Still just 19 years old, the Toronto FC defender had a difficult afternoon, missing some marking assignments and being a bit too reckless lunging into tackles.

But as Miller pointed out, if ever there’s a time for a player to learn from making mistakes, a friendly like this one is certainly that time.

“Did you see him give up? Absolutely not,” said Miller. “So there’s a positive right there. The back four were a lot better in the second half. Those guys have probably learned more in those 90 minutes than they have done in their entire career playing against this level of football.”