Canada advance to Copa semis to face Argentina

Canada claimed a 4-3 penalty shootout win over Venezuela on Friday to reach the Copa América semifinals in their debut appearance after an absorbing contest finished 1-1.

With the teams all square after five attempts each, Wilker Ángel had his spot-kick saved by Maxime Crepeau in the shootout and Ismael Kone buried the winning penalty to send Canada through.

“Emotions are running high, I’m so happy for everyone who is supporting us,” Crepeau, who made two saves in the shootout, told Canadian broadcaster TSN.

“It’s a lot of work and now we have the fruit of our hard work. This is amazing to be in the semifinals of Copa América. I think everybody needs to realise this country and its footballers deserve respect.”

Canada will face Argentina in New Jersey on Tuesday for a chance to play in the July 14 final. The semi-final will be a rematch of the tournament’s opener, in which the defending champions Argentina claimed a 2-0 win.

The North American side became the fourth Concacaf team to reach the semi-finals of Copa América, after Mexico, Honduras and the United States.

Canada are the third Concacaf debutant team to advance to the Copa América semifinals.

Sam Hodde/Getty Images

Canada, who scored just one goal across their three group stage matches, began the match with uncharacteristic urgency and their pressure paid off in the 13th minute as Jacob Shaffelburg steered home a Jonathan David cross.

After scoring, Shaffelburg held up the jersey of teammate Tajon Buchanan, who suffered a broken leg in training this week.

Jesse Marsch’s side wasted several chances to extend their lead in the first half, with Shaffelburg testing goalkeeper Rafael Romo from the edge of the area while David sent an effort wide of the post after finding himself through one-on-one.

Venezuela pressed for a goal and had more possession, but were largely limited to speculative crosses and shots from range, with all-time leading goalscorer Salomón Rondón twice drawing saves from Crepeau.

Canada’s Cyle Larin fired over the bar from close range in the 52nd minute. Two minutes later, a rebound fell at the feet of Venezuela’s José Martínez in the penalty area at the other end, but his effort also went high.

Venezuela finally found the equaliser in the 64th minute through Rondon, who spotted Canada’s Crepeau off his line and produced an audacious lob that sailed over the scrambling goalkeeper into the empty net.

It was the former Everton and Newcastle United striker’s 44th goal for Venezuela.

Canada responded well to the equaliser and substitute Liam Millar had an effort from a tight angle saved in the 67th minute before Tani Oluwaseyi sent two shots over the crossbar in the span of four minutes, but neither side was able to find the winner in regulation time.


Updated: Juli 6, 2024 — 6:11 am

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