Canada will be competing in its second-ever World Cup in 2022, which will be held in Qatar in the winter. Only one of the players, captain Atiba Hutchinson, was alive last time Canada competed in the ultimate soccer competition in 1986. Therefore, this return to the world stage marks a momentous occasion for Canada and it will be an opportunity that head coach John Herdman and his charges will want to make the most of.
Under Herdman, Canada has risen from 72nd in the world rankings to 33rd. Nobody will be giving them a chance in the competition, but they can use this underdog status as inspiration to push harder.
Canada Got Lucky with Their Group
Canada may be one of the lowest-ranked teams going into the World Cup, but they will be pleased to know that they don’t have the worst odds. According to DraftKings, which is established as one of the top Canada sportsbooks, Costa Rica has the lowest chance of winning the tournament at odds of +100000. Seven other teams are considered to have a lower chance of winning than Canada, including the likes of South Korea, Scotland, and Australia. As it stands, Canada can be backed a odds of +25000 to win.
These odds reflect the progress that Canada has made in recent years, along with their impressive qualifying campaign. However, they also take into consideration the difficulty of the groups that the team has been placed in. Herdman and his players will undoubtedly have felt that they got reasonably lucky with their group draw for the competition that starts in November. They are up against Belgium, Croatia, and Morocco in Group 5. Belgium and Croatia will be favoured to progress, but there are certainly harder groups that Canada could have ended up in.
Who Will be the Key Players for Canada?
With soccer growing in stature in North America over the last few decades, Canada has started producing some top talent in the game. Many of the most precocious players in the country are now moving to more competitive foreign leagues and this has benefited the national side greatly.
One of the key players for Canada in the World Cup will be Jonathan David, the 22-year-old forward who plies his trade for Ligue 1 club, Lille. He’s scored 20 goals in 30 appearances for his country and is one of the hottest strikers Canada has ever had. His experience against some of the world’s greatest defenders in France will be vital.
Alphonso Davies is another up-and-coming Canadian star who is already regarded as one of the best fullbacks in the world. The 21-year-old has made 80 appearances for Bayern Munich since 2018 and has played 30 times for Canada. The fact that he’s scored 10 goals for his country in that time highlights his attacking prowess from the flanks and is why he was named the top CONCACAF men’s player for 2021.
It’s Canada’s youngsters that are carrying the team forward, and they will be exciting to watch in the upcoming tournament. The team is an unknown entity on the world stage, and they have the potential to surprise people. The Canadian players are about to appear in two consecutive World Cups and could soon establish themselves as a top national team.