For the first time since 1986, the Canadian Men’s national team will be on their way to the FIFA World Cup. While this is an exciting time for North American football (with the USMNT also qualifying comfortably), the Canadians will be looking forward instead of looking behind, desperately trying to forget the form of their forefathers. Is this Canadian team going to the World Cup just to make up the numbers? Or will they cause some upsets, and challenge some of the best nations in the world?
The rest of the content in this article assesses some of the different realities the Canadian Men’s national team faces as they enter the World Cup. Will le Rouges battle to make it past the group, or surprise all onlookers?
Canada’s Key Players – Davies and David vs. Goliath
A key starting point when assessing how Canada will do in Qatar is to take a look at the personnel they have at their disposal. What is quite clearly different from Maple Leaves’ run back in 1986, is that back then, they didn’t have the same level of quality that they have today.
In the upcoming World Cup, Canada has one of the world’s most exciting young prospects in Alphonso Davies. Davies plays with German giants Bayern Munich, and is a key part of their recent success, having been part of their Champions League winning campaign, along with their dominance in Germany’s domestic league. The Canadians will surely have a boost knowing that they have this immense talent rampaging up and down the left flank.
Another notable player that has been attracting the attention of numerous top clubs in Europe is Jonathan David. The forward, who currently represents LOSC Lille in the French top division is known for his goal-scoring ability, along with his tactical intelligence and work rate. More than just a classic number 9, David is known for his ability to interlink with his teammates, making him the perfect man to lead the Canadian line.
There’s no denying the biblical reference here, Canada will be minnows at Qatar, but if these two key players are on song, and can motivate an already hungry Canadian setup, onlookers could truly see David take on Goliath, and come out on top in some of their trickier encounters. As it currently stands, the list of betting sites in Ontario all have Canada as considerable underdogs in their campaign opener against Belgium.
Canada in Group F – Dark Horse City
The next aspect to assess is who Canada has drawn in the World Cup Group Stage. Les Rouges are in for an immensely difficult time in the opening few games, as they have formed part of Group F, a group that can clearly be referred to as a stable of dark horses. Group F is home to some of football’s biggest names. The group is comprised of Belgium, Croatia, Morocco and of course, Canada.
Belgium is always in with a shot, despite the fact that the nation struggles in international competitions. The Belgians have the likes of Kevin De Bruyne, Romelu Lukaku, Eden Hazard and Thibault Courtois to call upon, while the Croatians, known for upsetting the very best out there, will be calling upon 2018 Ballon D’or winner Luka Modric, Matteo Kovacic and Ivan Perisic to make statements.
It’d be unwise to sleep on the Morrocans, as they have some gifted players to call upon as well. Aschraf Hakimi, Hakim Ziyech and co. will be looking to do Africa proud as they come up agasint their fellow Group F competitors. What is clear is that Canada’s cause is not going to be a straightforward one. They will be coming up against some of the world’s biggest footballing names, representing some of football’s biggest nations. Is there a chance?
A Fighting Chance, or no chance at all?
In football, there is always a chance. Just ask Clauidio Ranieri and Jamie Vardy who saw Leicester to a Premier League title after being promoted. Ask Jack Walker and Kenny Dalglish who saw Blackburn Rovers win the Premier League title back in the 94 – 95 season.
Football is an unpredictable game, and something just feels different about Canada this season. It won’t be easy, and it certainly isn’t likely, but Canada is poised to make at least a few upsets, and potentially get through the group stages at Qatar this year.
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