Venezuela head coach Fernando Batista has branded their Copa America quarter-final exit as "part of the process" after losing on penalties to Canada.

La Vinotinto enjoyed a perfect group stage, winning all three of their games to top Group B while conceding just one goal.

They fought back to force the shootout on Friday, with Salomon Rondon scoring a stunning long-range effort to cancel out Jacob Shaffelburg's early opener.

However, Wilker Angel missed his spot-kick when it went to sudden death, and Canada, making their tournament debut, went into the semi-finals.

Batista has remained positive though, saying his team will use this tournament as a springboard to try and qualify for the World Cup for the first time in their history.

"This is a long process," Batista said.

"We have a huge dream that we're going for. All Venezuelans want to qualify for the World Cup.

"And the Copa America gave us a possibility of strengthening our squad."

Jesse Marsch has praised Canada for their "willingness" during a "fast learning curve" after they booked a place in the Copa America semi-final.

Les Rouges earned a 4-3 penalty shootout win over Venezuela after Salomon Rondon had cancelled out Jacob Shaffelburg's opener as the match finished 1-1 in normal time.

Maxime Crepeau then saved two penalties before it went to sudden death, and Ismael Kone scored the decisive spot-kick to send them into the next round.

After a poor string of results at the start of Marsch's tenure, Canada were tipped to make an early exit during their maiden Copa America.

However, they have defied the odds, and the American credited the spirit of his squad for pushing them forward.

"All the things that I know about them now, I sensed back then; their commitment, their desire, their willingness to learn," Marsch said.

"All of that has led to bigger belief and self-confidence.

"It's a very athletic team. It's a very fast team. I've tried to build in the right kind of aggression for them to go after opponents, to go after big games and to believe in how we're building this.

"Their commitment to try to learn, their belief in what I'm doing with them is very, very high. They're capable because they're athletic, because they're strong, because they're young.

"We've seen an incredibly fast learning curve, but it's because they're excited about playing this way, and they're excited about what we're trying to achieve together."

Captain Alphonso Davies was one of the players who stepped up during the shoot-out as he picked out the top corner with the penultimate penalty, knowing a miss would have sent them home.

After seeing a tame penalty saved in a defeat against Belgium in the 2022 World Cup, Davies was pleased to replace that memory with something more positive.

"Obviously, I had flashbacks to the World Cup, but I did not let that get to me. I knew where I wanted to go before I walked up to the ball," Davies told Canadian broadcaster TSN.

"It's going to take everything. We played them in the group stage. We played well but didn't get the win we wanted."

Canada will face Argentina in the semi-final at MetLife Stadium on Tuesday, having lost their tournament opener to the Albiceleste 2-0.

Ismael Kone sent Canada to their first Copa America semi-final as they overcame Venezuela 4-3 in a penalty shootout to edge a classic encounter. 

Jacob Shaffelburg opened the scoring for Canada, only for Salomon Rondon to net a stunning long-range equaliser to take the quarter-final the distance. 

With 32 shots shared between the two sides, penalties would decide who would face Argentina at the MetLife Stadium next week. 

The decisive miss came from Wilker Angel, with Kone's stuttering run up allowing him to coolly slot the ball beyond Rafael Romo to secure the victory. 

Despite the nerves of playing in their first-ever knockout fixture at the Copa America, it was Canada who would strike the decisive blow early on in Texas.

Having seen appeals for a penalty waved away moments earlier, Shaffelburg dusted himself down to open the scoring, squeezing home Jonathan David's cross at the near post in the 13th minute. 

Jesse Marsch's side had opportunities to double their advantage, as Shaffelburg saw his effort saved while David fluffed his lines with only Romo to beat as a pulsating first half came to a close. 

Canada's dominance continued after the break but Cyle Larin was unable to hit the target, and their wastefulness in front of goal was punished spectacularly. 

A long ball up front saw Rondon win a tussle with Moise Bombito, taking aim from just inside the Canada half to lob Maxime Crepeau for a goal of the tournament contender. 

David continued to threaten for Canada, chipping the ball in behind for Tani Oluwaseyi who could only find the roof of the net in the final chance of normal time. 

Both sides would miss two spot-kicks as the encounter reached sudden death, but Angel saw his effort saved by Crepeau, handing the responsibility over to Kone, who clinched a landmark victory for Marsch's side. 


Venezuela's young guns can be proud of their efforts

Fernando Batista can count his team unlucky following their gut-wrenching exit from the tournament, but his young squad can take pride in their performances at the tournament. 

Venezuela battled an onslaught of Canada pressure, but fought back with their own attacking talents, with Rondon's strike their fourth consecutive goal at the Copa America, their longest run of games with a goal in the competition since a run of five games in June 2015. 

However, hopes of reaching a first semi-final since 2011 were dashed. 

Nevertheless, Venezuela can leave the tournament with their heads held high, having equalled their highest goal tally (seven) in a single edition of the tournament. 

Canada through, but must improve in front of goal

Marsch said he wanted to build something special with Canada, and his side's run in the Copa America has been nothing short of sensational. 

Canada started brightly through Shaffelburg's early strike, with all three of his international strikes coming in knockout matches. However, it should have been more. 

From their 16 shots on goal, only seven were on target, with 12 of their efforts coming inside the box. Marsch's side underperformed their expected goals (xG) by 0.84, and had four total big chances compared to Venezuela's 0. 

Despite those underlying statistics, Canada will be hopeful of keeping their fairytale run in the competition alive against Argentina, who they lost to in the group stage of the competition. 

Jesse Marsch believes Canada can build something special as they prepare for their Copa America quarter-final against Venezuela.

Canada are playing in their maiden Copa America and finished second in Group A behind defending champions Argentina after a win over Peru and a draw with Chile following their opening-day defeat to Albiceleste.

They now know that beating the Group B winners will set them up for a rematch against Argentina in the semi-finals if they win on Friday.

Marsch says he knew it was going to be tough when he took the job earlier this year, but has praised the “positive” support that has spurred the team forward.

"I was thinking, 'Why did I take this job with those three opponents [coming] up?'" Marsch said. "I knew when I took the job that the schedule was going to be very difficult, and by the way – put Peru and Chile in there as well – the first five opponents I knew were going to be very difficult.

"But I thought that it would give us a chance to create really high standards for how we wanted to play and that these games would show the players that we need to uphold ourselves to very high standards. I felt that if we could execute, then we could have some success.

"There's real excitement in Canada about the team and the way we've played. That comes with, I think, a real hunger to keep this thing moving forward."

"I'll tell you: I'm glad I'm here, man. Because the people that I work with and the players that I work with, the things that we know that we can achieve together, the support that we have from inside the country, the support system for this entire national team is so positive.

"So, I think it gives us a real chance to develop something and build something and be ready for a big tournament come 2026."

Canada have done better than their 2026 World Cup co-hosts USA, who crashed out in the group stage after winning just one match in Group C.

Asked about his home country's performance at the tournament, Marsch admitted he was disappointed by what he saw.

"I'd like to say that I'm only focused on what we're doing here in Canada, but obviously, I'm paying attention to the U.S. men's national team as I always do, and like you, I'm sad," he added.

"I'm disappointed with the performances, the lack of discipline. There are a lot of things that I think we've tried to embody about the game in the U.S., and we've always believed in this group of players."

Fernando Batista acknowledged Venezuela's perfect Copa America group-stage record is no longer relevant, as his side prepare to face Canada in the quarter-finals.

La Vinotinto won their opening three matches at the tournament for the first time in their history, as they soared to the top of Group B with victories over Ecuador, Jamaica and Mexico.

Only Uruguay (nine) scored more goals during the group phase than Venezuela (six), who are now aiming to reach only their second Copa America semi-final (matching their performance of 2011).

While Batista was delighted by his side's early exploits in the United States, he insists they must put it behind them in their quest for victory over Canada.

"It's all very nice what we experienced in the first round, but it's over now," he told reporters during his pre-match press conference.

"Nothing has been achieved yet. We are a growing team that knows that the next final is tomorrow.

"There's still a long way to go, and what's over is over. Now, a new tournament starts, because you can't rely on a draw or a previous result."

"Defensively, Canada are strong and aggressive, and they have a lot of strength in midfield," he added.

"The idea is to try to win in the 90 or 95 minutes of the game. Obviously, we practise penalties, but it's not our objective."

Jesse Marsch believes Canada can mount "something special" as they aim to build towards the 2026 World Cup, starting with the Copa America.

Marsch's team somewhat surprisingly made it through Group A behind Argentina, at the expense of Chile, who won back-to-back Copa America titles as recently as 2015 and 2016.

In their maiden Copa America, Canada will now go up against Group B winners Venezuela for a place in the last four.

And looking ahead to the next World Cup, which Canada will co-host along with the United States and Mexico, Marsch thinks the sky is the limit.

"I was thinking, 'Why did I take this job with those three opponents [coming] up?'" Marsch joked in an interview with FOX Soccer NOW, with his team having played pre-tournament friendlies against the Netherlands and France.

"I knew when I took the job that that the schedule was going to be very difficult, and by the way – put Peru and Chile in there as well – the first five opponents I knew were going to be very difficult. 

"But I thought that it would give us a chance to create really high standards for how we wanted to play and that these games would show the players that we need to uphold ourselves to very high standards. I felt that if we could execute, then we could have some success.

"There's real excitement in Canada about the team and the way we've played. That comes with, I think, a real hunger to keep this thing moving forward."

Canada have fared better than their 2026 World Cup co-hosts USA, who crashed out in the group stage.

"I would love to say I'm just focused on what we’re doing here in Canada, but obviously, I’m paying attention, as always, to the U.S. men's national team and, like you, I’m sad," Marsch added.

"I'm disappointed by the performances, by the lack of discipline. There’s a lot of things that I think we've tried to be about, about the game in the U.S., and we’ve always believed in this group of players.

"I’ll tell you: I'm glad, I'm here, man. Because the people that I work with and the players that I work with, the things that we know that we can achieve together, the support that we have from inside the country, the support system for this entire national team is so positive, so I think it gives us a real chance to develop something and build something and be ready for a big tournament come 2026."


Venezuela - Salomon Rondon

Rondon has scored two goals at this tournament for Venezuela.

Only three players can better Rondon's 1.98 xG across the tournament so far, while the 34-year-old has had 13 shots, which matches the total of the tournament's leading scorer Lautaro Martinez.

Canada - Jonathan David

Canada might have made it through, though they did only score one goal across their three Group A games. They are the fourth team to advance from the group stage in the Copa America despite scoring only one goal, following Mexico in 2001, Uruguay in 2007, and Colombia in 2015.

That came from Jonathan David, who is Canada's key attacker, and if they are to reach the last four, he is likely to be crucial.


Marsch's confidence is not shared by Opta's model, which fancies Venezuela to win in Arlington.

Venezuela have lost only two of their last 10 matches played in the United States, including friendlies, winning six of those games (D2). Additionally, La Vinotinto kept a clean sheet on seven of those occasions (W5 D2), with Colombia, Italy, and Ecuador being the only teams to score against them.

One more goal will match Venezuela's highest scoring tally in a single edition of the tournament, having scored seven goals in the 1967 and 2011 tournaments.

Venezuela are also unbeaten in their last four matches against teams from CONCACAF in this tournament (W3 D1).


Venezuela - 48.7%

Canada - 26.9%

Draw - 24.4%

The Copa America is well under way, with the group stages already done and dusted.

Argentina made light work of progressing from Group A, even though Lionel Messi had to sit out their last fixture.

And key to their success has been the goalscoring form of Lautaro Martinez, who is making up for some bad misses at the 2022 World Cup.

Brazil also progressed, with Vinicius Junior their talisman as expected, while Darwin Nunez is the key attacker for Marcelo Bielsa's free-flowing Uruguay.

Ahead of the knockouts, how is the Copa America Golden Boot race shaping up?


Lautaro Martinez (four goals)

We'll start with the leader in the race, and that is Martinez.

The forward had an outstanding season for Inter, who he led to the Scudetto while finishing as top scorer in Serie A, scoring 24 goals in 33 appearances, and comfortably outperforming his 17.6 xG.

However, he came into the build-up to this tournament in poor form for his country, having not netted for Argentina in 2026 World Cup qualifying.


But he scored a double in a 4-1 win over Guatemala in a pre-tournament friendly, and even though he has started just one of Argentina's matches so far, he has netted four times.

Martinez is also the Argentina player with the most shots (nine). In fact, since his debut in the Copa America in 2019, Martinez is the tournament's top scorer with nine goals (two in 2019, three in 2021, four in 2024), four more than Messi and Luis Diaz (five each).

It remains to be seen whether Martinez will have to settle for a super-sub role once Messi returns to the fold, but with Ecuador next up, and then a potential semi-final against either Canada or Venezuela, Argentina's path to the final is opening up nicely, and Martinez should fancy his chances.

Vinicius Junior (two goals)

Fresh from winning the Champions League with Real Madrid (and scoring in the final – again), Vinicius came into the Copa America as Brazil's talisman.

With Neymar absent through injury, the onus is on the winger to provide the creative spark and clinical edge to drag what looks like a more dogged, workmanlike squad through to the latter stages.

However, he will be absent for Brazil's clash with in-form Uruguay, who are arguably the favourites going into that tie, due to picking up two yellow cards in the group stages.

Vinicius' booking tally matches his goal tally at the tournament so far, with both of those having come in the first half of a 4-1 rout of Paraguay.

But with Brazil only having a maximum of two games left, will he have time to catch Martinez?

Darwin Nunez (two goals)

One player who could end Vinicius' hopes altogether is Uruguay forward Nunez.

The Liverpool striker is an erratic finisher, but he is an integral part of Marcelo Bielsa's free-flowing attack.


The 24-year-old may never be ultra-clinical, (he had a shot conversion rate of 10.2 per cent in the Premier League in the season just gone) but his pace, tenacity and work rate make him the ideal Bielsa folly up top.

Indeed, he has converted just one of his six Opta-defined big chances so far at this Copa America, but his two goals have come from an xG of 1.8, showing he's about on track.

If Uruguay can get past Brazil, they will face Colombia or Panama in the semi-finals. Nunez should be locking in on that Golden Boot.

Salomon Rondon (two goals)

An unlikely name on this list is Venezuela veteran Rondon, but his two goals – scored in wins over Mexico and Jamaica – helped his side top Group B with nine points.

Venezuela will face Canada in the quarters, and while Jesse Marsch's team are a surprise package in the last eight, they have proved they can be wide open defensively at times.

Only three players can better Rondon's 1.98 xG across the tournament so far, while the 34-year-old has had 13 shots, which matches Martinez's total.

He is getting into good positions and having plenty of attempts. If Venezuela indeed get the better of Canada, who's to say Rondon cannot claim this prize?

Daniel Munoz, Eduard Bello, Maximiliano Araujo (two goals)

There are three other players tied on two goals, though perhaps they are a tad more unlikely to challenge Martinez.

Munoz grabbed his second goal of the tournament in Colombia's 1-1 draw with Brazil, though as a right-back, he cannot be expected to keep up the scoring run.

Bello, meanwhile, has scored his two goals from just three shots, so that does not seem particularly sustainable.

Araujo, on the other hand, has netted twice from an xG of just 0.6, so he is overperforming.

What about Messi?

Not only did Messi finish as joint-top scorer at the 2021 Copa, he was also the leading assister and then, 18 months later, he went on to lead Argentina to World Cup glory, scoring seven goals in the process, from 6.6 expected goals – only Kylian Mbappe (eight) netted more times in Qatar.


Messi has scored 13 Copa America goals, which puts him joint-seventh on the all-time list, alongside fellow Argentina great Gabriel Batistuta. 

However, he has been unable to add to that total so far.

He took on the role of creator in Argentina's opening win against Canada, and has had seven shots in total, but so far, no luck.

Jaime Lozano is unsure over his future as Mexico coach after his team exited the Copa America with a whimper.

Mexico were the favourites to progress from Group B at the start of the tournament, yet instead the 2026 World Cup co-hosts find themselves as the biggest casualty so far.

Ecuador held out for a 0-0 draw on Sunday that sent them through at the expense of Mexico on goal difference.

And Lozano, who led Mexico to the Gold Cup title last year, conceded a decision on his future is out of his hands.

"Whenever an objective is not meant, there is certain discomfort and doubts, that's only natural, no matter who's here," Lozano said.

"But the players kept believing until the very end, that's not easy. It's not easy to play that strong union and the commitment that they showed ... over the whole tournament.

"That decision about my future is not up to me."

Mexico had 19 shots but only got three on target, accumulating just 0.89 expected goals (xG) against Ecuador, who will face Argentina in the quarter-finals.

Ecuador coach Felix Sanchez said: "We know it is an unmatched opponent, and we know how tough it's going to be, but our players are happy that they've moved to the next round, and we'll see how that unfolds," he added.

"It is another final for us, and we will try to compete against the world's champion and the world's best team.

"I believe that our team is going to be extremely motivated with a very high morale and trying to play a good match.

"I have full confidence in our players. I know they are going to give their best as they've done in the three matches. We know how tough it is, but it is 11 against 11, and we're going to do whatever we can to win it."

Venezuela, meanwhile, stayed perfect by hammering already-eliminated Jamaica 3-0 in Austin.

They will take on Canada in the last eight.

 Jamaica bowed out of the 2024 CONMEBOL Copa America with a 3-0 defeat to Venezuela in their final Group B match on Sunday at Q2 Stadium in Austin, Texas. This loss marked Jamaica’s third consecutive defeat in the tournament, concluding their participation without a win.

 The match started with a glimmer of hope for Jamaica as Michael Hector, making his record-extending ninth Copa America appearance, struck on target in the sixth minute. However, the early optimism quickly faded as Venezuela began to assert their dominance.

 Jamaican goalkeeper Jahmali Waite made a crucial save in the 42nd minute, deflecting a powerful shot from Darwin Machis to keep the score-line level at half time. Despite Waite’s efforts, Venezuela broke the deadlock early in the second half. Eduard Bello headed home a cross in the 49th minute to give Venezuela the lead.

 The South American side doubled their advantage in the 56th minute when Salomon Rondon found the back of the net with a precise hit inside the box. Jamaica continued to search for their first goal of the match, with Kaheim Dixon coming close in the 77th minute, but his attempt was off target.

 Venezuela sealed their victory in the 85th minute as Eric Ramirez scored their third goal, ensuring their place at the top of Group B. Jamaica had one final attempt from Alex Marshall in stoppage time, concluding their eight attempts on goal for the day.

 Despite a valiant effort, Jamaica exits their third Copa America participation at the bottom of their group. The Reggae Boyz managed to score their first goal of the tournament on the second matchday through Michail Antonio but could not secure any points in their three group matches.

With no shot at progressing beyond the group stages, Jamaica’ senior Reggae Boyz will at least be hoping to salvage some pride from their final Group B contest to possibly end another failed Copa America campaign on a high in Austin, Texas.

Kickoff is 7:00pm Jamaica time.

The Boyz, who lost 0-1 to Mexico and 1-3 to Ecuador, will now have group leaders Venezuela to contend with, which means their task of securing an historic point or win at the prestigious CONMEBOL tournament that much more difficult.

However, the feat is by no means beyond the Jamaicans, and with Michail Antonio already accounting for their maiden goal at the tournament, it should lift their confidence significantly.

In fact, if the head-to-head statistics is anything to go by, then it puts the Boyz in good stead, as Jamaica has won two of six meetings with their South American counterpart, with one ending in a stalemate. This will be their second meeting in the Copa America, with the first being in the Centenario 2016 (USA), where Venezuela registered a 1-0 win.

Knowing very well that his team can compete at this level, Head coach Heimir Hallgrimsson pointed out that the aim is for nothing less than a win. But, to achieve the feat, they will require a more compact display in the midfield, fluent passing, and certainly more creativity in the attacking third.

“We are going for for the win in this game,” Hallgrimsson declared in a pre-game press conference.

“Of course, we hoped and wished that we were in a different position than where we are, but it is what it is. There is good morale and the players are happy and together, and I give them a lot of credit for the atmosphere still in the camp. So we go into this match wanting to win for a lot of reasons that are important for us to get a win,” he added.

The Boyz are rooted at the foot of the standing without a point, with Venezuela on maximum six points from two games, while Ecuador and Mexico, on three points each, will do battle for the second spot to the quarter-finals.

Despite Venezuela’s current vein of form, Hallgrimsson believes they are by no means infallible.

“Well, they are the surprise package of the tournament, I would say. We have analysed them before and we knew they are a hard-working, honest team with great individuals. But, how they have performed, especially with the confidence they have displayed now, is impressive to see,” he said of the opponents.

“For the players, it is just margins that we can control that made it that we don’t have a point today. We go into this match knowing that we can get a win for sure, but there is balance,” he noted.

Still, the Icelandic coach pointed out that regardless of the outcome, the Boyz have shown glimpses of their potential to prove formidable at the highest level. This he believes is a significant positive, especially as they target a successful World Cup qualifying campaign.

“No matter what the result will be, I think this is a really important tournament for Jamaica in working towards qualifying for the World Cup 2026, and probably the closest thing to the World Cup that we can participate in,” the tactician reasoned.

“There has been a lot of questions about whether we are good enough to qualify for the World Cup. With how we’ve played Mexico and how we’ve played Ecuador, who played in Qatar World Cup, we’ve matched them in some areas. So, if anyone were to doubt if Jamaica can qualify for the World Cup 2026, I hope that some doubts are gone,” Hallgrimsson stated.

Venezuela are savouring a famous win after defeating Mexico 1-0 to reach the Copa America quarter-finals.

Mexico's hopes of progression from Group B will now rest on the final matchday, with Ecuador still in the mix to advance after defeating Jamaica 3-1 in Wednesday's other game.

Jamaica are now the first team to be eliminated from the tournament, as Venezuela celebrate joining defending champions Argentina in the last eight with a game to spare.

Salomon Rondon converted a second-half penalty to secure the crucial victory, sending Mexico goalkeeper Julio Gonzalez the wrong way.

It was the veteran striker's 42nd international goal, extending his record tally for the country having also hit the post earlier in the contest.

Mexico had a huge opportunity to level the match from the spot, but Venezuela keeper Rafael Romo repelled a spot-kick from Orbelin Pineda three minutes from time.

Romo is the seventh keeper, and the first from Venezuela, to save a penalty in the competition since 2011 (excluding shoot-outs). 

"Sometimes we were not in possession of the ball, but we never gave up," Venezuela coach Fernando Batista said. "They give it their all and that makes me very proud."

Mexico play Ecuador in Arizona on Sunday to determine who will progress with Venezuela.

Venezuela will still be targeting at least a point in their last match against Jamaica, as that would ensure they top the group and likely avoid a clash with Argentina in the quarters.

Romo was the star man for Venezuela, making five saves including the penalty, and Mexico can consider themselves unfortunate not to have scored, racking up an expected goals (xG) total of 2.52 from their 18 total shots.

Mexico coach Jaime Lozano said: "If you generate opportunities as we did, if the man of the match is the opponent's goalkeeper, then yes, things weren't as we expected.

"But there are 90 minutes ahead. No one is getting off this ship. And we will make it. I am sure we will make it."

But Ecuador go into that clash with Mexico on a high. They went ahead against Jamaica courtesy of a Kasey Palmer own goal and were two up before the break after Kendry Paez scored from the spot.

Ecuador will be excited about Paez, whose goal at the age of 17 years and 53 days made him the youngest Copa goalscorer since Johnnier Montano, who netted for Colombia against Argentina in 1999 as a 16-year-old. 

Paez attempted the second-most shots (six) by an Ecuador player in a Copa match since Opta began recording this data in 2011. Only Enner Valencia, with seven against Mexico in 2015, has had more attempts in a game.

Jamaica did score their first-ever Copa America goal thanks to West Ham striker Michail Antonio, but Alan Minda made sure of the win for Ecuador by capping a late counter-attack with a goal.

For Shamar Nicholson, Jamaica's senior Reggae Boyz 1-0 loss to Mexico in their Copa America opener was a bittersweet occasion, as that encounter marked his 50th international appearance for the country.

Though Nicholson would have loved to celebrate the significant milestone in victory, but it was not to be. As such, he was left ruing what could have been, as he reflected on his career journey which started at Trench Town High school, blossomed at Boys' Town Football Club, and he is now bearing fruit as one of Jamaica's top-rated strikers.

Across those 50 games, Nicholson has so far tallied 19 goals and won three medals –silver and the 2017 Caribbean Cup and Concacaf Gold Cup, and an historic bronze at 2023-24 Concacaf Nations League.

"Yeah, it was special moment," Nicholson declared in a recent interview with Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) media.

"It's just a pity that we didn't get to win to make it more special, but it was a proud moment for me and my family, my friends, coaching staff, and everyone, who have supported me along the way during bad time and good time. So it was really a proud moment," he added.

Shamar Nicholson (right) and rising sensation Keheim Dixon.

Nicholson’s rise to becoming one of Jamaica's key players has been marked by determination and hard work. Though a man of few words, the 27-year-old's achievements on the international stage is a testament to his dedication and talent, as his true personality comes to light when the ball is at his feet.

Since making his debut in 2017, the towering striker has become a mainstay in the senior Reggae Boyz team, especially giving his scoring prowess and physical presence on the field, which makes him a constant threat to opponents.

In fact, it is for that reason why Nicholson has made the rounds at clubs in Slovenia, Belgium, Russia and now France. In Slovenia he scored 18 goals for Domzale, and later tallied 30 goals for Belgian outfit Charleroi. He later moved to Spartak Moscow, where he had eight goals and won the Russian Cup, before being loaned out to French Ligue 1 side Clermont, where has four goals to date.

Each league and club offered a different challenge, but for Nicholson, the experiences were worthwhile contributions to his development.

"Yes, I will say culture wise (France and Belgium are somewhat similar), but I think it was also a good experience, you know, because the level is high and really physical, and it also challenges you mentally. So I think it was a good experience and I learned a lot," Nicholson shared.

Despite the defeat to Mexico in keen contest where Michail Antonio had a goal ruled out for offside and the Boyz generally squandered a few good half chances.

While that result was not in their favour, Nicholson believes there were positives to take from the game, and, as such, he remains optimistic and focused on the challenges ahead, particularly the upcoming clash against Ecuador.