July 23 2014 Latest news:
Tuesday, October 16, 2012
Norwich City striker Simeon Jackson insists Canada are ready to rise to the challenge in tonight’s make-or-break World Cup qualifier against Honduras.
The Canucks need just a point in San Pedro Sula to reach the final stage of qualifying on the road to Brazil from the CONCACAF section. Canada have only reached the final stages of the global event once in 1986, but Jackson believes Stephen Hart’s squad can create their own piece of history.
“If you asked us before the competition got underway, we would have bit your hand off for this,” he said, after the Canadians eased past Cuba 3-0 last week to move second behind Panama in their pool two points ahead of Honduras with just the top two qualifying. “We are exactly where we want to be. It’s true, we haven’t scored very many, but we’ve made a lot of chances and get into good positions, so when you do that, things have a tendency of going your way. We just need to get the job done. We’ve got some momentum and pride and the time is now to show what we’re all about.
“We’ve done well just to get to this stage. We’ve gone to some tough places and come away with results. We just need to keep fighting like we have done, because that’s why we are where we are.”
Hart’s squad were held to a goalless draw in the corresponding fixture, but the Canucks’ chief is demanding positive intent from the Canadians.
“The most dangerous thing to tell a team is they need a draw. They know they need that but we have to be adventurous and not afraid to play,” he said. “Outwardly, the players look very relaxed. There is always some tension. A few are going into the biggest game of their lives, but we will try to keep them calm but focused on the challenge ahead. This is like a final. This will be my fifth time there, including as a player, and it will be a very loud stadium. The game is also at 2pm, which presents a different challenge that we have to make adjustments for, but its always like that playing from home. It is their home stadium and they are used to it.
“We had a very good game against them at our place but didn’t take our chances. We also played some fantastic football at times (against Cuba), especially attacking-wise. In the past perhaps we were guilty of not hitting the target enough but their keeper had to make some saves and I am sure it was very exciting for the fans.”
Jackson admits reaching the World Cup finals alongside playing for the Canaries in the Premier League would cap a remarkable personal journey.
“I started from nothing, from scratch, I can tell you that much,” Jackson told FIFA.com. “I worked my way up from bottom. I’m very proud of where I’ve ended up; it was a long and hard road. There were a lot of times, more than I can say in the time we have, when I was ready to throw in the towel and go back to Canada. One time I remember, I was released from Gillingham and I was nowhere, there was no future. I was gutted, but my family wouldn’t let me stop, they wouldn’t let me give up on my dream. The glamour, the big stadiums, the crowds, it makes you appreciate the little things on the way up even more. I had to work for everything I got, and I am a grateful man.”