In one of the major surprises of global soccer, Canada are looking good for qualifying for their first World Cup since 1986. It followed a stunning first-ever win over Mexico, and with an excellent victory against Costa Rica, the Canadian soccer team have shot up the FIFA rankings to hit their joint-highest ever 40th position.
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John Herdman’s team has managed to overcome no shortage of setbacks to be the only side with an unbeaten record in the CONCACAF qualifying round. Much of this has been put down to a new generation of Canadian talent including the likes of Jonathan David and Alphonso Davies. But with some massive matches ahead including a crunch game against the USA on January 30, there’s still everything to play for if Canada want to be at Qatar next winter.
It’s been a great year so far for Canada’s soccer team who are at the top of the World Cup qualifying group and remain a favorite to qualify at many online sportsbooks featured on wetten.com. With an impressive 55 goals scored to just 11 conceded in 2021, it shows how John Herdman has created a team that attacks with speed yet defends robustly. Plus with just two defeats this year by the USA and Mexico, Canada is now a soccer force to be reckoned with.
Much of the focus has been put on the Bayern Munich star Alphonso Davies who has an impressive backstory as he made his way from a refugee camp to become one of the most promising soccer players in Europe. Plus the Canadian forward Jonathan David has also been expanding his skillset in European football with the French club Lille.
New coach brings new vision to Canada
However, it’s the way that head coach John Herdman has transformed the team that is perhaps most impressive. The UK-born coach previously managed the Canadian women’s soccer team in 2011 and helped them win bronze medals at the 2012 and 2016 Olympics. Such was Herdman’s impact in the women’s team that it caused no shortage of controversy when he quit to become the boss of the Canadian men’s team in 2018.
His appointment came at a time when the men’s team weren’t playing together as a unit and it had even failed to qualify for the final rounds of the 2018 CONCACAF tournament. Thankfully Herdman managed to get the team to work together more cohesively and as such the current squad has been labelled the golden generation of Canadian soccer.
Nowhere was the transformation more evident than the freezing night in Edmonton where Canada beat Mexico for the first time in 21 years. The 2-1 victory was heartwarming in many ways, none more so than when Sam Adekugbe dived into a snowdrift following Clye Larin’s winning goal.
Only the three highest-placed teams in the CONCACAF World Cup qualifying group will automatically qualify for the World Cup. Currently Canada are one point clear at the top ahead of the USA, with both Mexico and Panama both close behind. Normally Mexico would be favourites, but Canada’s strength has upset matters and there is now all to play for.
If Canada do the unthinkable and qualify for the 2022 World Cup, then things will get even tougher. In the 1986 World , the national team were brutally crushed by France, Hungary and the Soviet Union without scoring a single goal. However, there’s a real sense of optimism among the Canadian soccer team at the moment, and players like Jonathan David have plenty of experience of playing against the world’s elite. All of which should make for a fascinating few months for Canada’s soccer fans.