Canada’s World Cup sword explained: ‘A symbol of brotherhood on a significant international quest’

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When Canada kicked off their 2022 World Cup, they did so by running into a walled ground.

Yes, this Canadian team traveled with the sword dreamed up by coach John Herdman as a way to embody the team’s warrior spirit, and the night before their thrilling loss to Belgium on Wednesday, they did as they did before every game in the final round. Qualified for the World Cup and pushed a sword into the middle of the field where they were going to play.

Why do they do that?

The Wall is the most memorable of John Herdman’s unorthodox methods of team building and individual motivation. He played with other medieval images, from shields symbolizing the need to defend with purpose, to helmets that could only look forward to symbolize persistence in the task at hand.

But as Herdman said after Canada qualified for the World Cup, that’s because it represents “the swagger we want to play with.”

Throughout the final round of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying, Canada’s custom was as follows: The team would gather in a circle at half past one in the stadium they were scheduled to play on the night before the match. One member of the team will pick up the sword and, after a short speech intended to galvanize the group, the sword is run onto the pitch. Herdman wanted the team to believe they would “own their turf,” as he put it, after qualifying, and Canada did just that for most of the qualifiers.

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Where is the sword from? What does it say?

Ahead of the final round of qualifying, Toronto-based swordsmith Steve Karakostas received a cryptic email to create a sword “as a symbol of brotherhood in a major international quest”.

Karakostas was skeptical that the sword was actually meant for the Canadian men’s national team, until a visit to their hotel room during qualifying convinced him, and he got to work.

Inscribed on the sword are the words “Qatar 2022” and, more importantly, the Latin phrase “Nihil Timandum Est” or “Fear Nothing”.

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That phrase suggests the team’s all-out, attack-heavy approach and newfound bravado that have long disappeared from the Canadian men’s soccer psyche.

“This whole journey is symbolic of us,” midfielder Jonathan Osorio said Athletic In the mixed zone after the defeat against Belgium. “Of course, we have to bring it here. It symbolizes the warrior (spirit) of our team. It is our weapon. It represents our ambition.

How did they get through customs?! Who carries it on board?

It’s unclear how the team got it through customs, but they managed to get it to other Central American countries through qualifying.

“It’s over,” Osorio said with a smile.

When the sword isn’t being used in pregame discussions, 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 latter went to Panama after Canada had already qualified. But first came 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 Wall into the country.

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A Costa Rican news agency ran a story the next morning that told the world about Herdmann’s latest strategy to boost team spirit at the time.

You could call Canada’s loss to Costa Rica a fluke, sure, because they didn’t have a sword.

After the loss, Karakostas told the Toronto Star: “I’m not a superstitious person, but I might be after that.”

How did they get to Qatar?

Bringing the sword into the country was not an overnight process. We know Herdman is meticulous in his planning, and to go through the sword rituals, he and other Canadian organizations would have started planning for this shortly after qualifying.

We may not have seen the last of Qatar.

“It goes to every stadium to symbolize that we’re going to own their ground and be the new Canada,” Herdman said in March.

(Photo: Getty Images)


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