Follow Brazil vs Serbia score updates.
When Canada kicked off their 2022 World Cup, they did it with a sword in the ground.
Yes, the Canadian team travels with the sword that coach John Herdman dreamed up to embody the team’s fighting spirit, and a night before their gutsy loss to Belgium on Wednesday, he did the same before each game in the final round. World Cup qualifying and pushed Talwar into the middle of the field in which they are set to play.
Why do they do this?
The sword is the most memorable of John Herdman’s unorthodox methods of team building and personal inspiration. He has played with other medieval imagery, from shields to symbolize the need for defense with aim and helmets that can only look forward to stick to the task at hand.
But it’s the sword that resonates because, as Herdman said after Canada qualified for the World Cup, it “represents the swagger we want to play with.”
During the final round of Concacaf World Cup qualifying, Canada’s ritual was as follows: the team would gather in a circle at half past one the night before the match in the stadium in which they were to play. One member of the team would pick up the sword, and, after a short speech intended to motivate the group, carry the sword into the field. Herdman wanted the team to believe they would “own their land,” as he put it after qualifying, and for much of qualifying, Canada did just that.
Where did the sword come from? What does it say?
Before the final round of qualifying, Toronto-based swordsmith Steve Karakoustis received a vague email ordering him to create a sword “as a symbol of brotherhood on an important international struggle.”
Karakoustas doubted the sword was actually for the Canadian men’s national team until a visit to their hotel room during qualifying convinced him and he got to work.
More importantly, the sword is emblazoned with the words “Qatar 2022” as well as the Latin phrase “Nihil timendum est” or “Fear nothing”.
It’s a phrase that signifies the team’s all-out, attacking style and new bravado that has long been missing from the psyche of Canadian men’s soccer.
“It’s been our symbol throughout the journey,” midfielder Jonathan Osorio said. Athletic In the mixed zone after losing to Belgium. “Of course, we had to bring it here. It’s a symbol of our team’s warrior (spirit). It’s our weapon. It represents our ambition.”
How did they get through customs?! And who takes it on board?
It is not clear how the team got it through customs but they have been able to get it through qualifying in other Central American countries.
Osorio said with a smile.
When the sword isn’t being used in pre-game talks, it resides in the team’s hotel meeting room.
What happened in Costa Rica?
Canada suffered only two defeats in the final round of World Cup qualifying. The second came to Panama when Canada had already qualified. But first came to Costa Rica. Canada had a chance to qualify but as we learned the day after their 1-0 loss, Costa Rican customs did not allow the sword into the country.
A Costa Rican news agency ran a story the next morning, informing the world of Herdman’s latest tactic to boost the team’s morale at the moment.
You could call the loss that Canada has suffered from Costa Rica purely coincidental because they didn’t have a sword.
After the loss, Karakoustis told the Toronto Star: “I’m not a superstitious guy, but after that I might be.”
— Canadian Premier League (@CPLsoccer) March 25, 2022
How did they get it to Qatar?
The arrival of the sword in the country was likely not an overnight process. We know Herdman is meticulous in his planning and to get the sword through customs, he and the rest of the Canadian organization will likely have started planning for it right after qualifying.
We probably haven’t seen the last of the sword in Qatar either.
“It’s a symbol in every stadium that we’re going to own their ground and be the new Canada,” Herdman said in March.
(Photo: Getty Images)