Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Canada v Belarus match-day post

Canada will take on Belarus in an international friendly today. As far as I can tell, there is no broadcast of the match, but I'll try to gather as much info as possible into this post.

First, the basic details:


Antalya, Turkey

Tuesday, 29 March 2011
6 pm local / 11 am et / 10 am ct / 8 am pt

There were rumours of a video feed, but I don't think there was any truth to those. We will have to get by with whatever information we can gather from twitter and other sources.

Speaking of which, Sportsnet's Gerry Dobson is in Antalya and will be providing updates from the match. So if you're not already, follow @sportsnetsoccer on twitter. The CSA twitter feed, @CanadaSoccerEN, (swap the EN for FR if you prefer le francais) will be providing live updates as well.

He has already provided the starting lineup for the match: Borjan; Klukowski, McKenna, Hainault, Ledgerwood; Simpson, Hutchinson, Johnson, Pacheco, Jackson; Friend

To me, that looks like:

Ledgerwood - Hainault - McKenna - Klukowski
Johnson - Hutchinson
Jackson - Pacheco - Simpson

Hart had mentioned in an interview that he had wanted to see what Pacheco could do supporting the striker, which is why I have him in a more advanced role than Hutchinson. It would certainly be tough to pick a better lineup with the players at his disposal.

Interesting also that Hart chooses Borjan over Lars when both are in season and doing well. Though it is worth noting that Borjan is likely to be the starter come Gold Cup time, so perhaps it is a matter of getting familiarity with the team.

Gerry Dobson interprets the lineup as more of a 4-2-1-3:
Kind of a 4-2-1-3 for , Atiba and Johnson in front of back four, Pacheco behind Friend, Simpson wide left, Jackson wide right.
Either way, you'll see (or more likely won't see) Pacheco in a more attacking role than Hutchinson.

For the gamblers out there, here are some betting lines:
This line has become much closer since I checked earlier in the week. Perhaps a result of Belarus' poor showing over the weekend in a Euro qualifier against Albania.
  • betfair: BEL 1.95; draw 3.15; CAN 3.85
Of course, if this match ends with 5 or 6 penalties, we'll know why.

The Belarus starting XI:
starting XI: Vermenko, Molosh, Shitov, Martynovich, Sosnovski, Onelyanchuk, Kislyak, Zhavnercyk, Hleb, Kalamev, Kovel [via @CanadaSoccerEN]
I'll let you figure out how they'll be arranged on the pitch. Note that the Hleb listed is Vyaschelav Hleb of Dinamo Minsk, not the more well-known Alexander Hleb.

The match has kicked off. Twitter is the place for updates. Will report anything important here, and gather post-match coverage as well.

HT: From the tweets, it sounds like Canada had the better of play in the first half. A number of chances, including several for Rob Friend, but no goals. From Dobson:
Half time whistle. Canada the better team, more chances, 4-0 corner kicks, 4 shots Canada, 2 shots Belarus.
Sub to start the second half. Hirschfeld goes in goal for Borjan.

58th minute: Canada takes 1-0 lead as Will Johnson scores from a corner kick.

Final whistle: Ends 1-0 Canada! First win since match vs Honduras at Saputo in September, first win in Europe since since Cyprus in 2009. Good boost for the team.

Post game coverage:

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