Since the likes of Valentine, Wilson, and Lenarduzzi were guiding Canada into the 1986 FIFA World Cup, it has been 36 years.
It was a time when Canada’s play was more based on the ancient English style, which involved not ball possessing but stretching the field with the long balls, and having the quick Valentine sprint while being pressured by the defense.
Canada’s performance in international soccer matches during the previous 36 years has been uneven, but there has generally been one persistent theme: disappointment.
This resulted in poor CONCACAF performances and failures to qualify for the World Cup. The distance between Canada and some teams in the region widened over that time, between Canada, the United States and Mexico; and between Canada and teams like Costa Rica and Jamaica.
However, the situation has changed recently. So, could Canada surprise in the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022? The answer is yes! Keep reading!
From Position 122 in the FIFA Ranking to Qatar 2022
Canada climbed from the 122nd position in the FIFA ranking in 2014, to the 43rd position it currently holds. This is due basically to have qualified for a World Cup after 36 years (the first and last was in Mexico in 1986).
The pivotal moment came in 2018 with the appointment of John Herdman. Herdman has managed Canada’s team since taking over, with a 70.73% winning record after winning 29, losing 8, and drawing 4. For comparison, US Gregg Berhalter has a 68.00% in 50 games, while Mexican coach Gerardo Martino has a 67.31% through 52 games.
Herdman’s appointment also coincided with an unprecedented depth of Canadian talent, headed by Concacaf Player of the Year and current Bayern Munich winger Alphonso Davies, a former Vancouver Whitecap. The Canadian football sensation Davies, now 21 years old, made his professional debut at 15. Jonathan David, a 22-year-old attacker for Ligue 1 Lille who has scored 20 goals in 30 appearances for Canada, is also on the team.
As talented as David and Davies are, Tajon Buchanan, who is 23 years old, might be the player with the most top-end potential. In the CONCACAF U-23 tournament last year, the quickly developing Buchanan established himself as a leader of the Canadian U-23 team by scoring twice against El Salvador in their opening round game.
The Canadian team continues to grow and is likely to be one of the surprises of the upcoming World Cup. The young Canadian squad might have a chance to win against the European powers on the decline. Croatia and Belgium, which are in group F alongside Canada and Morocco, have aging key players and some observers think their window closed in 2018.
Are you thinking of betting on the World Cup? If the answer is yes, you have to read our article How Much Can Be Won Betting on the World Cup and our article World Cup Qatar: Tips, Odds betting, and Soccer Predictions.
How Did Canada Get to the 2022 World Cup?
The qualifying first round was easy for Canada. They won Group B after defeating Suriname, Bermuda, Aruba, and the Cayman Islands.
The second round was also easy: Canada won 4-0 in two matches against Haiti.
However, the Maple Leafs struggled a little at the beginning of the third qualifying round, drawing to Honduras and then the United States in two 1-1 game.
They then defeated El Salvador by a score of 3-0, continuing their unbeaten streak for the remainder of 2021.
October was completed with victories over Panama (4-1), and road draws against Mexico (1-1) and Jamaica (0-0).
After two tremendous home victories against favorites Costa Rica (1-0) and Mexico (2-1), Canada was in a great position going into the World Cup at the top of the qualifying group.
During the January-February international break, they won three crucial games without giving up a point (Honduras 2-0, USA 2-0, and El Salvador 2-0).
Then came the defeat: Mark-Anthony Kaye’s red card reduced the Canadians to 10 against a formidable Costa Rica team, ending Canada’s winning streak.
Despite this, they recovered and defeated Jamaica (4-0).
Last but not least, Canada fell to Panama in the final match of the third round of qualifying, but they still won the group.
Will Canada Surprise in Qatar 2022?
Canada will reach the World Cup finals for the first time in 36 years in Qatar in 2022. And it’s certain that they aren’t just participating in filling up the statistics. In the knockout rounds, Canada has a chance to advance, and from there, anything is possible. Here is why:
Compared to the group that played in Mexico in 1986, this team is very different. The Canadian roster has a lot of potentials, and some of those names are competing to reach the final team.
Alphonso Davies and Taejon Buchanan of Club Brugge are two candidates to be the best player on the squad. And Jonathan David has demonstrated his world-class skills at Lille, but Lucas Cavallini should not be underestimated. If Canada is able to spring a surprise or two, he will probably be right in the middle of the action.
On a Winning Run
The way Canada advanced through the World Cup qualifying matches was nothing short of amazing. They won their qualifying group, with the 2-1 victory over Mexico in November serving as a crucial dividing line. Their lone setback was a loss to Panama in the last round.
An Opportunity to Make History
This is the fifteenth time Canada has participated in qualifying for the World Cup, but just the second time the country has advanced to the finals. They were there only once before, in 1986, when Canada lost all three of its group games to the Soviet Union, France, and Hungary, respectively, by scores of 2-0, 1-0, and 2-0, and failed to score a consolation goal. Qatar 2022 offers Canada the chance to make history and establish itself as a serious player on the international stage.
If you want to read more about betting on the soccer World Cup, you should take a look at our article about Qatar World Cup 2022 Odds, Analysis, and Best Betting Sites and our article about Qatar 2022, World Cup Ultimate Team Guide.
Canada vs. Croatia: The First Test
The match between Canada and Croatia is slated to begin at 11:00 on Sunday, November 27 (Canadian time). The Khalifa International Stadium in Doha, Qatar, will host this Group F match. Canada will fight against Croatia after taking on Belgium in their initial game.
The clear favorite to win in Croatia. However, Canada shouldn’t be ignored because both teams won their respective qualifying groups. Croatia, however, won over England in the semifinals and went on to lose to France in the last World Cup finals.
The Zlatko Dali team is ready to compete in another important tournament. It should be intriguing to watch because this match between these two teams has never taken place in an international competition.
Croatia is typically listed as the favorite at 1.83 (0.83/1, -120), while the underdog Canadians are overpriced at 4.60 (3.6/1, +360) in most sportsbooks. The likelihood of a draw is typically 3.60 (2.6/1, +260). A wager on both teams’ scoring has odds of 1.85 (0.85/1, -118), while a wager on more than 2.5 goals has odds of 1.91 (0.91/1, -110).
Croatia, which advanced to the World Cup final in Russia in 2018, has lost several significant players and witnessed the deterioration of others. The team is still strong and well-known in the world of football, nonetheless. In fact, Zlatko Dalic’s team has gone nine games without losing since Spain knocked them from the Euros in the quarterfinals.
Canada participated in the 2021 Gold Cup, which is the CONCACAF region’s equivalent to the Euro, and was hosted in the United States last year. Mexico, however, defeated Canada’s team in the semifinals. The rigorous June calendar for the Canadian men’s national team came to an end with a 2-1 loss to Honduras after a commanding 4-0 home victory over Curacao.
The series of friendlies that Canada will play before the World Cup will be used to test out any tactical eccentricities and, more importantly, close any holes in either the conventional 23-man or the extended 26-man roster, depending on FIFA’s final decision regarding squad sizes. Canada will play against Qatar on September 23, Uruguay on September 27, and Japan on November 17 before their participation in the World Cup.
If you want to bet for Canada, you might want to read some of our content on the topic, like Bet365 & BetWay: Are predictions the same for Canada Team? and FIFA Qatar 22: Will Canada Beat Predictions Against Croatia?
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