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Canada loses to Martinique in Gold Cup opener

Martinique's Reuperne falls on top of Canada's Henry during their CONCACAF Gold Cup soccer game in Pasadena

Martinique’s Fabrice Reuperne falls on top of Canada’s Doneil Henry (bottom) after attempting a shot during the second half of their CONCACAF Gold Cup soccer game in Pasadena, California, July 7, 2013. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT SOCCER)

REUTERS

The game was already a disaster for Canada before stoppage time, with Martinique -- sometimes pronounced by its full name: not even a FIFA member, Martinique -- dominating one of the Gold Cup’s three automatic entrants. Though Canada were keeping more of the ball, they were also on their way to being outshot 27-8 by the French island’s team.

Then came stoppage time, when 37-year-old Fabrice Reuperné launched a rocket from 25 yards, one that may have doomed Canada’s chances of being one of the eight teams that advance from the 12-nation opening round. Just before the 93-minute mark, a left-footed volley of a clearance bounding out of the Canadian area gave goalkeeper Milan Borjan no chance to prevent a shocking opener to this year’s Gold Cup:

Martinique may have only have a population of around 403,000, but nine of their squad’s 23 players make their living off the island, playing in leagues such as France’s Ligue 1 (Kévin Olimpia), Ligue 2 (Olivier Thomert), Spain’s Segunda Division (Jean-Sylvain Babin, Grégory Arnolin), England’s League One (Yoann Arquin), and Major League Soccer (Frédéric Piquionne). While that doesn’t necessarily make them a great side, it does speak to the implied notion that something named Martinique can’t field a decent squad.

All the same, Canada didn’t just lose to Martinique. This wasn’t an against the run of play, one-off goal that made the final score uncharacteristic of how the game was played. The Canadians were decidedly second best, a humbling experience for a team that, while having struggled in recent World Cup qualifying campaigns, has a paved road into this competition.

Compounding the embarrassment: This result puts Canada on track to finish last in Group A. Without an upset over Mexico or Panama, Canada’s going home after three games, with a history set to reflect they not only lost to Martinique, they finished behind them in Group Play.