Can Canada get past the group stage at the World Cup?
Qatar 2022 really isn’t far away now and even the unlikeliest of sides are beginning to dream of making waves on the world stage. Those dreams won’t be winning the tournament for every nation though with others just aiming to make an impression. If we’re honest, Canada probably falls into that latter bracket and here we ask whether they can make it out of their Group at the World Cup and, if so, just how far will they go?
Who Will Canada Face in Qatar?
Before we answer the question of whether Canada makes it out of their World Cup group, we need to have a look at what they’re facing in group F.
Belgium is probably the pick of the teams in Group F with the likes of Kevin de Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku in their ranks. They’ve got an experienced core of players, most of whom have played at major tournaments in the past and with ambitions of having one more real tilt at achieving something before the opportunity passes them by.
The downside to the Belgian squad, which is obviously a positive for Canada is that they’re always talked up before tournaments and then never deliver; their so called “Golden Generation” is an underachieving one whilst names such as Eden Hazard and Dries Mertens don’t carry the same gravitas they once did.
According to the World Cup soccer odds Morocco are unlikely to progress out of Group F but there is enough about them to trouble teams and they won’t be heading to Qatar to have their tummies tickled by so called bigger nations.
The African side aren’t stacked with top class talents, but they do have a few household names in their squad that show how they could hurt teams in one off games. Achraf Hakimi is the absolute top drawer, Hakim Ziyech is capable of the spectacular and Youssef En-Nesyri is a player with plenty of top-level experience too.
We could almost copy and paste what we’ve just said about Belgium! Croatia is a good side with some truly special players in their ranks; that much is undeniable and there is a reason they’ve been to a World Cup final in the not too distant past.
The thing is, nearly all their talent is getting on a bit and Father Time will catch up with us all. Whilst Luka Modric is a genius talent, he’s also 37-years-old and still their best and most influential player. They’re not going to be the same side that finished as runner up in Russia four years ago.
So, How Do Canada Measure Up?
Of the three teams we’ve mentioned above, Canada is unquestionably more closely aligned with Morocco than anyone else. That means the odds are against them, but their squad contains a few big players that have the opportunity to write their names into the history book with the rest of their hopes of making an impact lay in hard work, organisation and team spirit.
At the back, Alphonso Davies, who left Vancouver to join German giants Bayern Munich back in 2019, is a world class talent to the point where he’d get in the starting XI for pretty much every national team in the world. At the sharp end of the pitch Canada also boost a super talent in the shape of Lille forward Jonathan David who has six goal coal contributions
With a supporting cast of players like Tajon Buchanan, Ike Ugbo and Stephen Eustaquio, who have all tasted football amongst European elites either through playing in a top five league or through European club competitions, the team will arrive with a quiet confidence about them.
The Million-dollar Question…
Right, now we come to the crux of it. Will Canada make it out of their group at Qatar 2022? We’re sitting on the fence more than just a tad as we answer ‘maybe’. Don’t be hating on us though; let us explain where we’re coming from.
Canada kicks off their World Cup campaign against Belgium on November 23rd and then, four days later, take on Croatia. In an ideal world Canada will win at least one of those games, however, the bookies are expecting them to lose both games. If, however, Canada grabs a draw from just one of those matches then there is every chance of grabbing hold of second spot in the group.
Should Belgium and Croatia both beat Morocco that would give them three points. Let’s say Belgium beat Canada but Croatia and Canada draw that then sees the standings as follows heading into the final round of matches:
- Belgium, 6 pts
- Croatia, 4 pts
- Canada, 1 pts
- Morocco 0 pts
In the last round of matches, Croatia would face off with Belgium in a battle for top spot whilst Canada will face an already eliminated Morocco. Should Croatia lose to Belgium then a win for Canada would leave them tied level on points for second place where goal difference would come into play.
There you have it, draw against a big gun, and beat Morocco and there is a real chance of making the knockout stages for Canada.