It was very unlikely that Canada would beat France. But they drew against them, which is massive. What is even more impressive is that Canada played well.

After the 4-0 defeat against the Netherlands on Thursday, Jesse Marsch and his team headed to Bordeaux to play against the French. France, of course, is the number two ranked team in the world and were the finalists of the last World Cup. They are also the favourites to win the upcoming Euros.

The loss in Dresden was a learning lesson for the Canadians and they wanted to prove that they could be better than they were in that second half. It is safe to say that they were.

In other circumstances, feeling satisfied or even fired up after a 0-0 draw feels wrong but in this case, it feels really good.

What we learned

Canada’s press was very noticeable against the Netherlands. However, it was France who pressed more on Saturday. It didn’t help that Canada looked very sloppy with the ball. They looked like they were trying to pass a bar of soap around or something like that. The passes looked poor, especially on the transitions and France nearly made them pay.

Fortunately, Maxime Crépeau made some big saves off Marcus Thuram and N’golo Kante in the first half. Canada’s backline of Derek Cornelius, Moise Bombito and Alistair Johnston were solid. They kept the likes of Olivier Giroud and Antoine Griezmann in check.

As the match went on, Canada looked more settled in the game. They started passing more cleanly. However, the decision-making in the final third was lacking. Liam Millar and Tajon Buchanan started the game with some poor passes but slowly got better. Alphonso Davies was also very instrumental in the transitions. Unfortunately, there was no one to help him out in the box. Davies was in heated battles with Ousmane Dembélé and it was a delight to watch, absolute cinema.

This wasn’t a game where Canada parked the bus. They had some chances and none was better than Millar hitting the crossbar. What a banger this would’ve been.

One of the reasons why France had trouble unlocking Canada was because of the midfield of Stephen Eustaqio and Ismael Kone. The two of them were creating turnovers and starting the transitions. It is hard to pick a man of the match because several could make the case. Kone makes a really strong case.

He outplayed Kante and Eduardo Camavinga. It is only a matter of time before he gets a big move from Watford to a top-five European league.

It seemed like Didier Deschamps didn’t want to use Kylian Mbappe. However, the French superstar came on in the 74th minute. He had chances to win the game for his country but Canada held their ground. Crépeau in particular, came to the rescue late.

This was a really good performance from Canada and it showed that there is progress under Marsch and his system. They did a really good adapting to France and kept their shape and structure. However, the big negative is the final third play. There were bad touches and times when players needed to take a shot. For example, Jonathan David chose to pass to Jonathan Osorio while he ran down the wing and found himself in front of Mike Maignan. But that looked like the wrong decision as his pass to Osorio was deflected away by William Saliba.

However, the result is massive for them and that has to build some momentum heading into the Copa America.

What was said

“Our tactical discipline was very good,” said Marsch after the game per Canadian Soccer Daily.“It was a big step forward. But there’s still so much work to be done. It’s one day, a friendly against a very good opponent, a draw not a win…but there’s confidence in the group right now.”

Marsch spoke highly of Kone.

“He’s a young player, but he doesn’t play like it,” he said per Felipe Vallejo of AFTN and Northern Tribune.

He was also asked about the play of Crépeau.

“It wasn’t just the saves but a complete performance in terms of tactical understanding & positioning,” said Marsch on his goalkeeper per CSD.

Stat of the match

According to FotMob, Kone completed 41 out of his 44 passes. (93%) He’s only 21 but is playing like a veteran already.

Onto to Copa America

Canada’s Copa America begins on June 20 in Atlanta against reigning champions and World Cup winners Argentina. The dress rehearsals are over and the real show is going to start.

The game against France was only a friendly and it was just one game. But it showed that Canada is capable of playing against the best teams in the world. There were lots of positives but still things to learn from. Bring on the Copa America. We will cover those games for the Area 51 Sports Network and the Terminal City FC Podcast.