Canada moves up in soccer qualifying competition


Canada has qualified for the next round of World Cup soccer qualifying competition.

The national team left St. Kitts last weekend with the one point it needed to advance after a dull goalless draw with 103rd ranked St. Kitts/Nevis in its 100th World Cup qualifying match.

The 83rd ranked Canada has won 39, lost 30 and drawn 31 contests since making its World Cup qualifying entry in 1957.

Canadian coach Stephen Hart defended his team’s defensive play, saying the side did exactly what it needed to do to advance.

“We knew they needed the three points and that (St. Kitts) would come out and go for it,” he said. “We came here and we knew we had to get a point by playing a road style and we got that, so all in all we’re OK.”

The national side will join 2010 World Cup qualifier Honduras, Cuba and Panama in a six-match series next year, with the top two teams in that group advancing to the final round of continental qualifiers in 2014.

The next round of the Confederation of North, Central American & Caribbean Associations of Soccer (CONCACAF) will run from June 8 to October 16, 2012.

Antigua & Barbuda and Guyana made history by qualifying for Round Three.

The Antiguans stunned 1974 World Cup participant Haiti 1-0 to book a place in the next round with the United States, Jamaica and Guatemala while Guyana upset Trinidad & Tobago – which competed in the 2006 World Cup in Germany – 2-1 in front of its home crowd.

Guyana, ranked 97th in the world, joins Mexico, Costa Rica and El Salvador in the next round.

Meanwhile, Africa’s qualifiers started last Friday with 28 countries competing for five spots for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

Cameroon, under new coach Denis Lavagne, defeated Sudan 3-1, Botswana held Nigeria to a goalless draw in torrential rain, South Africa and Ivory Coast played to a 1-1 tie, Uganda upset Africa Cup of Nations participant Morocco 1-0, Rwanda and Eritrea drew 1-1, Somalia and Ethiopia played a goalless draw, Congo overwhelmed Sao Tome 5-0, Lesotho beat Burundi 1-0, Tanzania defeated Chad 2-1, Mozambique slipped past Comoros 1-0, Namibia beat Djibouti 4-0 and Kenya shut out the Seychelles 3-0.

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