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Johnson looking to future after "bitter pill" exit for Canada

Will Johnson is a fixture with Canada, and he's as disappointed as any after his nation fell 8-1 to Honduras and exited from World Cup 2014 qualifying.

Russ Isabella-US PRESSWIRE

Will Johnson has been a fixture in the Canadian national team in the last two years, so some disappointment is to be expected following his nation's 8-1 defeat to Honduras - a defeat that eliminated the nation from World Cup 2014 qualifiers.

But it wasn't the manner of defeat that stung most for the Real Salt Lake midfielder.

"I'm just disappointed we didn't make the Hex," Johnson said after Friday's training with Real Salt Lake. "If we lose 100-1, we still don't make the Hex."

The steep scoreline didn't make anything easier, of course. Canada's success in the group otherwise was encouraging - in fact, a draw would have seen them through alongside Panama.

"As far as an 8-1 scoreline, it's a bitter pill to swallow, no doubt," Johnson said. "But nothing hurt the guys as much as not being able to get out of that group. Looking back at those six games, even more than the Honduras game, we were one of the top two teams in that group and we didn't get out."

... transition ...

"Obviously, we just got it wrong," he said. "We had a bunch of guys who had their worst performance in a national team jersey all in the same day. It went downhill quickly, and we were all over the place."

The loss ruled Canada out of a chance to make it to its second-ever World Cup - their first appearance came at Mexico '86. The exit isn't the worst thing to happen to the Canadian national team, but Johnson described it as a "huge setback."

"We were punished by a Honduran team who were very, very good on the day," Johnson said. "It happens. It's football. It's not going to kill the program. It's a huge setback after the positive games that we've had - I think that was the biggest shock to everybody."

Johnson, whose full national debut as an 18-year-old came in 2005 against Luxembourg, is looking to the future. Only 25 years old now, he'll be 31 during the 2018 World Cup in Russia, and seeing him play then is easy to foresee.

"I'm excited for the future of the program," he said. "Hopefully we can learn from it and go forward. There's no pointing fingers and going down that road. I just don't see any value in that."