Canada Men's Soccer returns to World Stage after 36 years! - FIFA 22
Canada’s men’s soccer team will hit the ground running at the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium in Qatar on 23rd November 2022. This will be the first time since 1986 that they have qualified for the FIFA World Cup. The 26-member team coached by John Herdman has an uphill task ahead of them in Group F, facing off 2nd (second) ranked Belgium on Wednesday. Group F also comprises of FIFA 2018 finalist Croatia and Morocco.
The men’s soccer team must be upbeat and confident considering their previous outings, topping the CONCACAF FIFA qualifying round with 28 points in 14 games. Further, victories against 11th ranked USA during qualification and a win against powerhouse Japan in the warmups should give the team the required confidence.
The team led by Atiba Hutchinson will move on to play Croatia on 27th November and Morocco on December 1st. While both Croatia & Morocco are ranked higher (12 & 22 respectively) than Canada who is ranked 41st in the FIFA rankings, the news of Saudi national team’s performance against title favorites Argentina should provide momentum.
The return of the injured star man Alphonso Davies should add to the confidence level. The three-time Canada soccer player of the year who also plays club football with Bundesliga club Bayern Munich will start for their encounter against Belgium, after recovering from a strained right hamstring which sidelined him since Nov 5.
Diversity in the Team- CANADA’s Team
The world cup team headed by Herdman also boasts of being diverse fielding at least 7 foreign born players including star man Alphonso Davies.
“It’s a team people can relate to,” said Sam Adekugbe, the defender born in England with Nigerian lineage. “Young Black kids can see themselves. Young South Americans can see people like [Lucas] Cavallini and [Jonathan] Osorio. A Serbian kid can see Milan [Borjan] playing … We’re a group of different people from different societies and different backgrounds. When we’re able to gather and unite together, we can bring the nation together because the nation is built of different ethnicities.”
A kid born in a refugee camp wasn’t supposed to make it! But here we are GOING TO THE WORLD CUP. Don’t let no one tell you that your dreams are unrealistic. KEEP DREAMING, KEEP ACHIEVING!, tweeted Alphonso Davies.
The Yugoslavian born veteran goalkeeper Milan Borjan also expressed his gratitude to Canada, “Canada gave us peace, better schools, better life, better everything,”. “This is just the way [for] us to return it to Canada.”
Other foreign players include Jonathan David (Brooklyn, New York, USA), Ismaël Koné (Abidjan,Ivory Coast) Iké Ugbo (London, England) & David Wotherspoon (Perth, Scotland)
Herdman’s immediate focus will be to qualify for the knockout stages of the tournament. The English coach has made great strides in Canadian soccer; firstly, helping Canadian Women’s soccer team consecutive bronze medals in Olympics and finally guiding the men’s soccer team to only their 2nd ever FIFA world cup after a hiatus of 36 years by topping the CONCACAF playoffs.
Canada’s FIFA World Cup History
Canada has a disastrous debut to the FIFA world cup in Mexico 1986 crashing out in the group stage with back-to-back losses against France, Hungary & Soviet Union.
Canada FIFA 2022 Schedule
· November 23, Wednesday: Belgium vs Canada (Ahmad bin Ali Stadium)
· November 27, Sunday: Croatia vs Canada (Khalifa International Stadium)
· December 1, Thursday: Canada vs Morocco (Al Thumama Stadium)