A birthday bash-ing

Canada Simeon Jackson and Chile Arturo Vidal wrestle for the ball during the first half of action...

Canada Simeon Jackson and Chile Arturo Vidal wrestle for the ball during the first half of action between Canada and Chile at the National Soccer Stadium (BMO Field) in the Group "A" opening game of the FIFA U-20 World Cup. (Dave Abel/SUN MEDIA)

ROB LONGLEY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:17 AM ET

Hopes were high that on the occasion of their country's 140th birthday, a group of young Canadian men would show they are part of a soccer nation.

After a 3-0 thrashing at the hands and feet of Chile last night at BMO Field to kick off their U-20 World Cup experience, such proclamations will have to wait.

To the deflation of the pro-Canadian sellout crowd of 19,500, it was chilly in the air and most definitely Chile on the pitch as well.

So complete was the victory that the South American visitors may have left Canadian soccer fans and a nationwide television audience wondering what the fuss of this U-20 World Cup is all about.

"I think this was a dramatic realization for our team of how much we have to pick up our game," Canadian defender Kent O'Connor said. "Our potential is amazing. We can play much better than we did (last night).

"That is the most frustrating part of it."

Yes, the Canadians have much to be frustrated about, mostly that they went down without a fight against a technically strong and cleverly coached foe.

For a starting point at the degree of domination, consider this: The first time Chilean goalkeeper Cristopher Toselli even had to look at a shot on net was in the 66th minute and it was the only one of the game.

The impressive visitors, as you might expect, were far less stingy in their attack.

Nicolas Medina's gift goal from the spot 25 minutes into the contest was a bit of generosity from Canadian defender Marcus Haber, who botched the clearing attempt.

Helped by precise passes to pick apart the Canadian defence, the Chileans fired 20 shots the way of keeper Asmir Begovic with nine of those making it on target.

On defence, Chile barely gave Canadian playmakers Jaime Peters and David Edgar room to breathe, let alone get boot on ball.

Second half goals by Carlos Carmona and substitute Jaime Grondona ensured that the humiliation was complete.

"The better team certainly won the match in pretty much every department," Canadian coach Dale Mitchell said.

"This was an experience. It wasn't a particularly pleasing one, but there's six points still on the table."

Three of those will be offered against Austria Thursday at Edmonton's Commonwealth Stadium where the Canadians shift for the remaining two games of Group-A play.

Mitchell and his staff will watch Austria's opener today against Congo then work to come up with a better attack it hopes will at least compete with the European squad.

Hopes were high coming into the opener, but especially given the geography of their opponent, a tad unrealistic.

With the crushing result, Canada is now 0-7 against South American opponents in this tournament and has been outscored 15-1 in those matches.

The clinic played out before an increasingly antsy crowd and a frustrated Canadian team, which committed 17 fouls and was issued four yellow cards.

"Obviously our boys are a bit disappointed," Mitchell said. "It's a big stage. For a nation like us, it is a big undertaking to host (the tournament.)


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