Canada’s national men’s soccer team got a taste of some Polish home cooking on Wednesday, falling 1-0 in an international friendly played in Bydgoszcz.
Polish midfielder Maciej Rybus fired the game’s only goal in the first half beyond Canadian keeper Lars Hirschfeld.
“It is a very different challenge playing in Europe than in Canada,” said Canadian head coach Stephen Hart. “The game here is much quicker and the playing conditions are different. We knew coming into this game that Poland was very strong at home, as they lost only one home match during FIFA World Cup qualifiers.
“Today, we learned a lot about what is necessary for us to play at the international level."
The Canadians held their own throughout the match and nearly beat Polish goalkeeper Tomasz Kuszczak, who stopped a Jaime Peters shot in the game’s 27th minute and stood his ground the rest of the match.
Hirschfeld was solid for the Canadians, and kept the game within reach in the 54th minute, when he tipped a shot by Dariusz Dudka over the crossbar.
“I thought Rybus and (Ludovic) Obraniak were very good for Poland in the first half,” said Hart. “Defensively, we struggled to deal with Poland’s movement. At times we gave Dariusz Dudka too much room in the midfield. Those three players controlled the midfield in the match today.”
Defender Paul Stalteri made his 79th appearance with the Canadian team, moving into second place on the all-time list. Randy Samuel tops the list with 82 appearances.
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