Canada at the World Cup: believing in your chances

The last time the Canadian men’s soccer team took part in the World Cup was in Mexico in 1986. Nearly 40 years later, the Maple Leaf will return to this legendary tournament in a few days, one of the most important global sporting events.

And for the occasion, it is in Doha, Qatar, that the football planet will meet.

Usually, the Mondial takes place in the middle of the summer season while this year, the grand finale will be held on December 18. What’s more, the host country is lambasted by the international community for its treatment of migrant workers and the number of deaths recorded in connection with the construction of the eight World Cup stadiums. Several boycott movements have also been launched around the world.

Despite the controversies surrounding the tournament, columnist Sydney Fowo believes that the excitement will still be there.

“Everything surrounding the competition is very unfortunate, it raises a lot of questions and I hope we will change the process that led to the awarding and the organization. We will have to learn lessons from all that, but one thing is certain, as soon as the ball rolls, everyone is watching, ”said Sydney Fowo.

Oh Canada!

The Canadian team will arrive in the Qatari desert as 41e nation in the FIFA rankings. However, John Herdman’s troops looked very good in the qualifying phase, rising to the top of Concacaf, ahead of the Mexicans and the Americans, respectively 13e and 16e in the world.

Canada finds itself in a strong group with Belgium, Croatia and Morocco.
Photo credit: Canada Soccer

Can Canada hope to make a breakthrough in Group F and qualify for the finals?

“Absolutely. They have a lot of attacking skills, a lot of speed, a lot of flair and experience. I think it can really make a difference if the opportunities arise, “said Sydney Fowo, who will act as a columnist for the Sports Network (RDS), for the duration of the World Cup.

However, the Maple Leaf will have to tighten up its defense if it hopes to trap its opponents.

“I want to believe in it defensively. To hunker down and then punish opponents on opportunities for quick raises. If the opposing selections do not do their homework, they could be very surprised at the level of Canada, ”continues Sydney Fowo.

2022 World Cup Group F
– Belgium
– Croatia
– Morocco

Montreal well represented

Several CF Montreal players will trade the blue and black jersey for the benefit of the red and white, for the World Cup.

Representing your country on football’s biggest stage is an opportunity of a lifetime for many CFM players. Alistair Johnston, Kamal Miller, Samuel Piette and Ismaël Koné could well be part of John Herman’s starting lineup on November 23 against Belgium.

Samuel Piette with the Canadian National Team.
Photo credit: Canada Soccer

“Miller and Johnston, it’s locked. There is no question to be asked about this. They are two essential players in John Herdman’s system. As for Piette, it will depend on the state of form of Atiba Hutchinson, but if we want to strengthen the environment, there would be a place for Piette, ”analyzes Sydney Fowo.

The presence of Ismaël Koné in the starting line-up is more difficult to predict.

“Koné is an X factor, he has great potential and he is realizing it. Herdman will certainly be tempted to play him. We could find ourselves in a situation with four CFM players, it is possible, but if I want to be careful I would rather say three players, and I still hesitate between Piette and Koné, ”continues the columnist at Kan Football Club.

Hope, with or without Alphonso Davies

Canadian soccer fans had a good scare on November 5, when star Alphonso Davies suffered an injury with his club Bayern Munich, in the Bundesliga.

Davies Canada
Alphonso Davies should be available for Canada’s first game on November 23.
Photo credit: Canada Soccer

The side had left the meeting at the 65e minute due to a tendon injury in his right leg. The Canadian should however be in his post on November 23 for the start of the World Cup. The question remains: will he be at the top of his game?

“It’s difficult to play when you’re not physically at your best, especially for Alphonso Davies who has a very demanding style of play. We saw Canada manage to play without him during most qualifying matches. They would be able to overcome his absence, but it would not be an ideal situation that’s for sure, ”concludes Sydney Fowo.

In 1986, Canada was unable to claim a victory in its three group stage matches. Will the scenario repeat itself in 2022? Will the Maple Leaf be able to qualify for the round of 16? The answer in the next few weeks.

Canada Group Stage Schedule
– November 23 against Belgium at 2 p.m.
– November 27 against Croatia at 11 a.m.
– 1er December against Morocco at 10 a.m.

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