'Proud' Marsch sets sights on 2026 World Cup after deep Copa run

By Sports Desk July 10, 2024

Jesse Marsch is "very proud" of what his Canada players achieved in the 2024 Copa America as their tournament ended with defeat to Argentina.

The competition debutants finished second to Argentina in Group A before defeating Venezuela on penalties in the quarter-finals.

After defying the odds to reach the last four, Canada's dream run was ended on Tuesday as they lost 2-0 to Argentina in New Jersey.

Canada will co-host the next World Cup along with the United States and Mexico, with that tournament now very much in Marsch's sight.

"What I said to the team afterwards is I know that they're very disappointed, but I'm very proud of them," Marsch told reporters. 

"We've put together some incredible performances and we're just starting our process. We need to find a way to expand our player pool. 

"We need to continue to challenge our group to come together and be able to perform in moments like this.

"But in general, we've had a wonderful five-six weeks together and it's gone way better than any of us could have scripted. 

"There's still a lot of work to do, but we've built a really good foundation."

Marsch only took over as Canada head coach two months ago but his style of play was already clear to see across the tournament.

Canada now have a third-place play-off against either Colombia or Uruguay to come on Saturday, with Marsch planning on making changes.

"I'm trying to really build and develop every single player in this pool so that we can have a real 26-man squad when it comes to 2026," he said.

"So the match on Saturday will also be vital for that because we'll make some changes. 

"We'll get some new faces on the pitch and challenge them to be able to see if they can hold up in these kinds of matches."

Canada started the better against Argentina at the MetLife Stadium and squandered chances prior to Julian Alvarez's 22nd-minute opener.

Lionel Messi added a second for the reigning world champions early in the second half, but Canada can still be pleased with their run.

"They're the best team in the world, but we had our chances in the beginning of the game," midfielder Stephen Eustaquio told TSN.

"If we scored one of our chances, the story of the game would probably have been different. 

"To get here, the last four of the Copa America, it's a big achievement."

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