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Canadian collapse: a better border rivalry will have to wait

Canada flag

Our neighbors to the south cruised through semifinal round qualifying the way I cruise through a plate of delicious enchiladas.

In fact, Mexico could have given me and 10 other journalists citizenship and dispatched us to compete in the country’s final World Cup semifinal round qualifier. No matter how terrible the beating, the Mexicans still would have moved into next year’s final round; They had booked passage with a game to spare.

But not our northern neighbors. Not by a long, long way.

Canada went into Honduras yesterday in need of a tie to move on. As I wrote before, I had hoped that the Canadians could move into final round qualifying, the better to add some regional diversity to the field and tick up the interest on both sides of the U.S.-Canadian border.

Well, what a swing and a miss this was. And that’s being kind. You might even call this a collapse of the very worst kind, an 8-1 loss in San Pedro Sula, Honduras.

The sackings and recriminations are ahead. Believe it. Manager Stephen Hart has already said that he doesn’t expect to be forgiven for this one.

So, let the media excoriations begin! You’ll find a lot of words like “humilation,” feeble” and “surrender” in that one. Not surprisingly, of course.

Perhaps this can be the moment that Canadian soccer, an enduring underachiever in the game, needs to finally pull its head from its royally mounted … well, you know.

It was the second worst defeat ever for Canada’s national soccer team. The only worse thrashing came in the 1993 Gold Cup, where the stakes were significantly smaller.

This is Canada’s low-water mark. Let’s hope they can fill up the tributaries and streams and build this thing back up.