Canada soccer sword back after it was seized in Costa Rica

TORONTO (AP) — Canada’s soccer team intends to be armed at the World Cup — the team travels with a sword that was seized by Costa Rican officials before last week’s qualifier in San Jose.

“The sword’s something that symbolizes New Canada,” coach John Herdman said Sunday after Canada clinched its first World Cup berth since 1986 with a 4-0 win over Jamaica.

“I said to these boys we’ve always had a shield. But we created a sword, and on the sword it says ‘Nihil timendum est,’ which is ‘Fear Nothing,’” Herdman said of the Latin words. “And that’s New Canada. That’s the swagger we want to play with. And it goes in into every stadium to symbolize we’ll own their ground and be New Canada.”

That tradition was derailed during last week’s trip to Central America to face Costa Rica. La Nacion reported customs officials had seized the sword upon the Canadian team’s arrival by charter flight because of “regulations that govern the type of weapons that can enter our country.”

The newspaper ran a photo of the sword, a long two-handed weapon nestled in a black carrying case with a red interior. On the handle are the words: Qatar 2022.

Without the sword, the Canadians saw their 17-game unbeaten streak in qualifying end in a 1-0 loss to Costa Rica.

“We’ve got it. We got it back. It was in that turf yesterday,” a happy Herdman said of the sword after Sunday’s win, pointing to the BMO Field playing surface.

The team had kept the existence of the sword to itself. Jason deVos, Canada Soccer’s director of development and a member of Herdman’s coaching staff, demurred when asked about it Sunday.

“I can’t talk about that,” the former Canada captain said with a chuckle.

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