Canada's quest to make their first World Cup since 1986 continued on Friday in Cuba where they got a good result, but hardly inspired confidence in their ability to get many more. The Canadians struggled with the lowly Cubans and had to play the last 30 minutes with 10 men, but Olivier Occean's second half goal held up and delivered Canada a 1-0 win.
Occean earned Canada the win early in the second half when he head home from close range. The goal was the result of a gorgeous David Edgar cross and Occean's finish was tidy.
Prior to the goal, Canada had their share of problems. Cuba was able to generate a few chances and Canada spent parts of the match on their heels, which is not what you would expect of a team that believes it can qualify for the World Cup.
Lars Hirschfeld was sent off not long after Canada went in front when he handled the ball outside of the box. Amazingly, it looked like Canada got better once they went down a man. They created more chances and kept more of the ball, keeping Cuba at bay and showing more fluidity than they did at 11 men. Dwayne De Rosario had several chances to score, but he couldn't convert. None of the misses mattered on this day, though.
This was the first match of the third round of qualifying, which is a four-team group that will see the top two advance to the final round. Canada got the three points they did to start off the third round of qualifying right. Still, they know they will have to play better in the future if they want to return to the World Cup.