Canada’s national soccer team gets ready for World Cup qualifiers

Canada’s national soccer team gets ready for World Cup qualifiers

March 2021 will see the Canada mens’ soccer team starting their World Cup qualifying campaign. The action starts with games against Bermuda and the Cayman Islands before two further matches in June. All of these World Cup qualifiers should be straightforward wins for Canada. But with the nation hosting the 2026 World Cup alongside the US and Mexico, the stakes are higher than ever.

Hoping to dominate Group B

Canada will begin their World Cup qualifying campaign by playing each of the four other teams in Group B twice. Any soccer fans who read this review on will see that the sportsbook featured gives Canada very short odds for finishing up at the top of the Group B table. 

With the other teams in Group B featuring the relatively weak sides of Suriname, Bermuda, Cayman Islands and Aruba, Canada would have to make some serious mistakes not to qualify for the next round. If any of these teams were to pose a threat, it would either be Suriname or Bermuda. Despite this, it should be fairly easy-going for Canada’s soccer stars. 

Who will be in the Canada squad?

Most of Canada’s hopes will rest upon the shoulders of their Bayern Munich star Alphonso Davies who is arguably one of the best defenders in the world. Plus it’s hard to imagine Canada playing without the defensive capabilities of the Vancouver Whitecaps star Derek Cornelius. Most soccer fans would also expect the likes of Samuel Adekugbe to fill out the Canadian defensive line. 

Image credits:

The midfield will be expected to focus around the core of Toronto FC’s Jonathan Osorio and experienced players like Samuel Piette will be counted on to provide some stability.

However, much of the rest of the Canadian squad could host a few surprises. It’s the arrival of several newer faces like Marcelo Flores that could signal how the Canada national team could evolve over the next couple of years. 

The Arsenal youngster has certainly looked promising and it’s going to be interesting to see how he copes in international football. Similarly the Wolverhampton Wanderers youngster Theo Corbeanu is also widely expected to make a big impression in how Canadian international football develops. All of which means that there will be plenty to prove in the upcoming games which begin on March 26.

Canada hoping to improve on recent form 

The Canadian national soccer team have always had a fairly uneven time in competing on the global stage. But there were glimmers of hope in how Canada had performed in 2020. Much of the year was spent out of action due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but John Herdman’s team managed to complete two convincing victories over Barbados. 

The first friendly took place at the start of January 2020. This saw Canada walking away the clear 4-1 winners thanks to goals from Tosaint Ricketts, Tesho Akindele, Jonathan Osorio and Theo Bair. Canada quickly followed up the rematch against Barbados with the same scoreline as a result of goals from Charles-Andreas Brym, Russell Teibert, Amer Didic and Jayden Nelson.

While these two wins were commendable, there are always big questions when Canada has to play against more established competition. This was seen when Canada were beaten 1-0 at Iceland in an international friendly following the Barbados matches. Canada were actually unlucky to lose having dominated the possession in the match. But with Holmar Orn Eyjolfsson scoring early for Iceland, Canada simply lacked the edge necessary to pull back an equaliser. 

International disappointments in Canadian soccer

Despite the lack of quality opposition, Canada will still have a long way to go if they have any hope of reaching the 2022 World Cup finals. All Canadian soccer fans will have bitter memories of the last qualifying campaign. Over 50,000 people packed into the BC Place Stadium in Vancouver in 2016 to see the national team lose 3-0 to Mexico. While Canada went on to beat El Salvador 3-1, it wasn’t enough for the team to progress and Benito Flores was given the sack from the Canada head coach job. 

Hopes were initially high that the replacement, Octavio Zambrano, would guide Canada to greater things. This initially appeared to be a shrewd move when Zambrano helped Canada to reach the quarter-finals of the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup. But with a familiar drop in form, Zambrano was given his marching orders and John Herdman was brought in to be his replacement. All of which means that Herdman has plenty to prove.

Five new COVID-19 cases, new UK and South African variants (Mar 9 2021)

(Updated with video) Full list of locations: AstraZeneca Vaccine to Roll Out March 20