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Wed 13 June 2007, 12:00|Tottenham Hotspur

Paul Stalteri is relishing captaining Canada in the CONCACAF Gold Cup in the United States.

Paul Stalteri is relishing captaining Canada in the CONCACAF Gold Cup in the United States.

The full-back has led his side to the quarter-finals of the showpiece tournament of the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) and could be heading for a semi-final showdown against the USA.

Paul played a full stint against Costa Rica (a 2-1 win), Guadeloupe (lost 2-1) and Haiti (won 2-0) and set up the opening goal against Haiti as Canada topped Group A.

The Maple Leafs now face surprise-package Guatemala in the quarter-finals in Boston on Saturday (1pm local time, 6pm UK) with the winners likely to face hosts America – three wins out of three to top Group B – in the semi-finals next week.

“It’s a fantastic honour to captain your country and to do it in a major tournament like this is something special,” said Paul, who took time out of his busy schedule to talk to us from Miami. “It’s something I take great pride in and hopefully we’ll continue to progress.

“Things are going well so far,” he continued. “We had a hiccup against Guadeloupe, but that was a strange game, one of those where they had two shots and one ended up a freak goal, the other was a great strike and we had 70 per cent of possession but couldn’t score.

“The other two results were promising, especially against Costa Rica, who were highly-fancied before the tournament started. A lot of people have described that as one of our best results in the last decade or so in terms of the way we played.”

So could it be a case of the squad coming together at the right time for a major tournament – just like Canada did in 2000 when they beat Colombia to win it?

“That certainly can be the case in tournament football,” added Paul, who earned his 57th cap against Haiti. “Usually we’ll only get together for one game but we’re here for two or three weeks, we played two, three, four games in succession and suddenly everything gels.

“We’ve a good squad with the right mix of youth and experience, we’re growing in confidence and once you get through to the knockout stages of these tournaments anything could happen.”

We’ll have more from Paul in the US before Saturday’s quarter-final...

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