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Canadian qualifier kerfuffle; who were those Cubans anyway?


Canadian fans celebrate Canada’s 3-0 win over Cuba in their FIFA 2014 World Cup Qualifier at BMO field in Toronto, Ontario, October 12, 2012. AFP PHOTO/Geoff Robins (Photo credit should read GEOFF ROBINS/AFP/GettyImages)

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While most of the teams in CONCACAF qualifying are either fighting for their World Cup lives or looking to close out the semifinal round with a little pride, one team has kicked up quite a kerfuffle for its motives and intentions – which seem difficult to explain.

Cuba brought a small squad of unknown players – even more unknown than we usually get from Cuban soccer. And a few people are not happy about it.

A writer from the Toronto Sun wonders if Cuba should be sanctioned or even banned from future regional events for “failing to field a competitive side during Friday night’s World Cup qualifier in Toronto.”

The Canadians won, 3-0, but it was a fairly ridiculous score considering the lopsided nature. Consider that Canada took 37 shots and you get a pretty good picture.

Cuban head coach Alexander Gonzalez told reporters that his team travelled just 15 players. Four of those have apparently defected. (And at the risk of making light of a serious situation that does affect lives, we’ll go ahead and say it: Whoa! Who saw that coming?)

Meanwhile, some around the Canadian team are wondering if their inability to fully exploit the situation might be costly, should passage into the final round come down to goal difference? (That situation seems less than likely, as it would require a Cuban win over Panama – but it’s not totally out of the question.)