Tactical move paid off: Canada coach

Canada coach Sean Fleming credited a subtle switch in his playing personnel for turning the tide in their 1-1 draw with Iran in Group E.

By Alex Leach

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Published: Thu 24 Oct 2013, 11:19 AM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 7:08 PM

Mathew of Canada and Bazaj of Iran in action. — KT photo

Fleming tinkered with the team that started against Austria for Tuesday afternoon’s encounter with Ali Doustimehr’s side, who duly took a ninth-minute lead at Rashid Stadium thanks to Amirhossein Karimi’s thunderbolt.

With Canada’s strikers initially misfiring in the final third and his defence seemingly in danger of being overrun early on, Fleming turned to Jordan Haynes to add some much-needed bite and energy in the middle of the park.

That alteration worked a treat too, with Haynes cutting off many of Iran’s attacks at their source and providing a foothold at helped Canada to level things up with Jordan Hamilton’s equaliser.

“The change at the 34th-minute mark was a tactical one and it really settled us down,” Fleming said of the introduction of Haynes, whose all-action display rivalled Canada goalkeeper Marco Carducci’s heroics in the man-of-the-match stakes. “We probably played much better for periods of time after that change.”

That’s not necessarily to say though that the original selection wasn’t capable of getting the job done themselves, with Fleming re-affirming: “We made the three changes (from the Austria game) because we thought that it was a better mix to try and compete against the strengths of Iran. I believe in all of our players, so I’ve got to believe that the starting XI we had was the best possible chance for us to perform well and get the result.”

Doustimehr meanwhile was left to reflect upon a second outing in succession whereby Iran has been pegged back after hitting the front in the opening exchanges. An understandable lack of know-how and nous is apparently the reason for that shortcoming with the coach citing inexperience and insufficient match practice overall.

“Canada are a strong team, especially at youth levels,” he explained. “They have been at World Cups six times and it showed that they are experienced enough, whereas we’ve been to the World Cup three times.

“At this age, players are not experienced enough to keep clean sheets. We can solve this by having more friendly matches.

“Although we were better in this match statistically, we just shared the points and these players should gain more experience in future matches.

“We weren’t as ambitious in this match as we were against Argentina. We played well, but playing well doesn’t always mean scoring goals. We are – of course – not satisfied with this result.”


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