Mississauga’s Lucas Cavallini gets game-winning goal against Japan in World Cup tuneup
Published November 17, 2022 at 1:41 pm
The Canadian men’s national team won its final FIFA World Cup tuneup against Japan on Thursday, thanks to a goal in extra minutes by Mississauga’s Lucas Cavallini and a game-tying assist from Brampton’s Atiba Hutchinson.
It was a penalty kick in extra time by Cavallini, barely crossing the goal line, that gave Canada a 2-1 upset at Al Maktoum Stadium in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
Japan goalie Shuichi Gonda got his arm on Cavallini’s floater down the middle, but the ball had just enough steam to bounce beyond the goal line.
“It was important for our confidence to get a result, and to win was the icing on the cake,” said Canadian head coach John Herdman.
“I needed to see that this group of men could bring that identity against a team like Japan, which technically is one of the best in the world.”
Canada tied the match in the 21st minute off a corner kick. Brampton’s Junior Hoilett found fellow Bramptonian and team captain Atiba Hutchinson, whose touch found the 35-year-old Steven Vitoria near the far post.
Seven Brampton players have made the cut for Canada’s 2022 FIFA World Cup squad as Canada heads to the tournament for the first time in nearly 40 years.
The Canadians secured their ticket to Qatar with a 4-0 win over Jamaica in March at Toronto’s BMO Field with one game to spare. They finished with a 14-2-4 record across three rounds of qualifying in the region, outscoring the opposition 54-8.
Canada had possession for 55 per cent of the game and exhibited plenty of pressure in an intense first half, but the final 45 minutes were spotty from both sides.
Japan enters the World Cup ranked 24th, compared to Canada at 41. Canada was ranked 78th at the time of the 2018 World Cup.
The Canadian team will be part of Group F when the tournament kicks off, playing their first match against Belgium on Nov. 23. They will then face Croatia on Nov. 27, and finish group play against Morocco on Dec. 1.
With files from The Canadian Pressinsauga's Editorial Standards and Policies advertising