Believe it or not, the 2022 World Cup in Qatar is only the second tournament finals Canada have made in its history. But, they’re more deserving of their place there, especially after impressing during qualifying. The road to Qatar was an impressive one, but how did they travel along the path, and how will they fare at the World Cup?
The first task for John Herdman’s Canada side on the road to the World Cup 2022 in Qatar was to navigate an opening round group stage, one which they breezed through, booking their place in a second round where eight teams were competing. Of course, the further Canada went, the more difficult things became, but you wouldn’t have picked up on that as they finished in first place against the heavily fancied Mexico on goal difference. And their wait to appear at their second World Cup finals, a wait of thirty-six years, was over.
Canada’s challenge in Qatar is a big one, as they’ve been drawn in Group F alongside Belgium, Croatia and Morocco. Both Belgium and Croatia are teams who have fared well at previous international tournaments, so Canada’s chances of making it through the group stages at this point are described as slim. And, when you check the odds of potential tournament winners and see that Canada is one of the least fancied teams, you could suggest they face an impossible task. But it’s one they’re keen to take on, and after upsetting the odds by qualifying in the first place, anything is possible.
Canada’s manager, John Herdman, has been in post since 2018, and in that time, he’s overseen forty-five games, with Canada winning on thirty-one occasions. His points per game average is impressive at 2.16, so this will surely give the team confidence heading into the biggest tournament in their history. Herdman has also shown he’s willing to change his team’s shape when required, moving from a four at the back to three centre back systems, and this versatility could also prove key in Qatar.
The Canadian player who everyone will be talking about at the tournament is undoubtedly Bayern Munich star Alphonso Davies. The twenty-one-year-old left-back is one of the best in his position on the planet. He already has a whole raft of honours to his name, including four Bundesliga titles, a Champions League winners medal, and thirty-two caps for his country, in which he has weighed in with twelve goals.
You can’t be negative about how Canada have ended their thirty-six-year wait to appear at their second World Cup. And they have a manager with a good record and a megastar of the footballing universe, which are surely good things. They may not be a team people feel will fare well pre-tournament, but they’ve shown they have that special something to upset the apple cart, and they could well pull off several more shocks out in Qatar.