Canada qualify for FIFA WC for 1st time in 36 yrs

Canada qualify for FIFA WC for 1st time in 36 yrs
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Highlights

Pulisic has hattrick in 5-1 win, US on brink of qualifying

Toronto: Canada men's football team qualified for the FIFA World Cup finals for only the second time ever with a 4-0 rout of Jamaica. The nation's only previous appearance in the tournament was 1986 in Mexico. Entering the match on Sunday night, John Herdman's squad needed only a draw against Jamaica to capture one of the three spots from the CONCACAF (North, Central American and Caribbean) region for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar in November.

The team didn't hold back and gave the fans at BMO Field a dominant performance with goals from Cyle Larin, Tajon Buchanan and Junior Hoilett, followed by a late own goal by defender Adrian Mariappa, Xinhua reports.

"When I first took over, I said we're going to qualify for the World Cup and I don't think anyone believed us," said 46-year-old head coach Herdman.

"All of these fans have waited, waited, and hung in with us." When Herman was hired in 2018, men's football had little relevance in Canada due to poor World Cup qualification results and the popularity of ice hockey.

The remaining 12 teams will be decided in the coming days before the draw on April 1 to determine the eight groups. Christian Pulisic scored his first international hat trick, leading the United States to the brink of returning to the World Cup with a 5-1 rout of Panama.

Pulisic converted two penalty kicks during a four-goal burst in the first half that also saw Paul Arriola and Jesús Ferreira score, then boosted the lead to 5-0 on memorable goal with two brilliant touches that evaded a pair of defenders on Sunday. With fans still fretting after the Americans' failure to reach the 2018 World Cup, the U.S. assumed a commanding position to qualify for the November tournament in Qatar.

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