Team Canada regroups

Chile's Carlos Carmona kicks the ball away from Canada's Jaime Peters in their U-20 World Cup...

Chile's Carlos Carmona kicks the ball away from Canada's Jaime Peters in their U-20 World Cup opener in Toronto on Sunday. (Sun Media/Dave Abel)

ROB LONGLEY -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:43 AM ET

TORONTO -- There was no rest for the wretched yesterday as Canada's entry in the U-20 World Cup had no choice but to look forward after a miserable start to the tournament.

First there was a lengthy flight from Toronto to Edmonton where the home side will spend the remainder of Group A play.

BETTER PREPARATION

Then coach Dale Mitchell and his staff had some work to do to ensure the team is better prepared for Thursday's potentially lethal date with Austria at Commonwealth Stadium.

The chips are certainly starting to pile higher after Sunday's 3-0 loss to Chile at BMO Field, a match in which the young Canadians were outplayed, outcoached and outclassed.

The disheartened group that shuffled onto the team bus afterwards was certainly down, but as Mitchell stressed, far from out.

"Six points are still on the table and six points is enough to take you to the second round," Mitchell said following the loss. "There's still plenty to play for and that's what I told the boys after the game. We can still advance."

Mitchell knows from experience that unlike the senior World Cup, it doesn't take nearly as much to get through to the Round of 16 where anything can happen.

In 2003, Canada advanced with just one win under Mitchell and made it to the quarter-finals, a huge accomplishment for a country not expected to make it out of group play.

Numerically, the road to move on is not as difficult as in a senior World Cup, where the top two from each of eight divisions advances to the Round of 16.

In this 24 team event, the top two from each of six divisions are guaranteed to go through as well as the four best third-place finishers.

So even a loss against Austria wouldn't necessarily end hope, though it would certainly add to the desperation in advance of Sunday's final Group A meeting against Congo. Still, with a veteran heavy squad and the weight of a host nation not expecting an early exit, an improved effort on Thursday is crucial.

Mitchell planned to watch closely last night's Austria-Congo match at Commonwealth to avoid getting as outfoxed as he was by Chilean coach Jose Sulantay on Sunday night.

Afterward he will decide on potential roster changes. Edmonton native Tosaint Ricketts, who didn't start Sunday despite having a hat trick in a recent friendly match, is one possibility if the coach is looking to liven up the attack.

The Canadian players are hopeful they won't be in for as much of a surprise with their remaining two foes.

TYPICAL PACE

Chile brought a typical South American pace and aggression on offence, but they also had a defensive plan to completely void Canada's key offensive weapons.

"Both Austria and Congo play a different style," Canadian defender Kent O'Connor said. "Playing Chile was probably the toughest opponent in terms of style of play.

"(Austria) play the basic European style and I think we match up well. Our athleticism helps us against that."


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