The countdown to the start of the 2022 World Cup is well underway, and one of the big stories heading into the global competition this year is the return of the Canadian national team. Canada has only qualified for the World Cup on one previous occasion, with their last appearance ending in three defeats in the group stage of the 1986 tournament held in Mexico.
However, there will be a great deal of excitement when it comes to Canada and the national team over the next decade or so, as the national side will be represented in each of the next two tournaments. The second of those appearances will come in the 2026 finals, as Canada has hosting responsibilities alongside the United States and Mexico. However, what will be the short-term targets with the 2022 World Cup in mind?
Getting Out Of The Group
As mentioned, Canada has only previously made it through to the World Cup finals on one previous occasion. That ultimately ended in disappointment, as they were dumped out in the group stage of the 1986 competition without even scoring a goal. There is certainly hope coming into the competition in Qatar that Canada can at least build on that showing.
The national side reached the tournament in Qatar with an excellent qualification record, as they won 14 of the 20 games that they played. Canada was beaten on just two occasions, and scored a high total of 54 goals and conceded just eight times. That was the best qualification period that the national team has ever enjoyed, with their previous best number of wins coming in 2014 qualification when they won on seven occasions.
However, it will be no surprise to hear that the challenges will only become harder as the World Cup gets underway. As of 27th June, Canada is a 3/1 chance with Betway to qualify from Group F. That price sees them as the outsiders to reach the next round, behind Belgium, who are the pre-tournament favourites to win the group.
Can Canada Get Out Of The Group?
There is always one big story at the World Cup in terms of a surprise package, and from what we have seen from Canada in qualification, there isn’t any reason why they couldn’t have hope that they can at least finish in one of the top two places. The Betway odds may underestimate their chances, but the second-place in the group could be all to play for, especially with players such as Alphonso Davies within their ranks.
Belgium look extremely hard to oppose when it comes to winning the group, as they enjoyed yet another excellent qualification campaign under Roberto Martinez. They will be looking to build on their strong displays in the 2018 World Cup, which eventually saw them finish third after beating England. But, expectation levels will be high ahead of this year’s competition, and the pressure could be their most likely downfall.
In terms of the other two teams in the group, Canada will certainly fancy their chances. Croatia finished second in the 2018 World Cup, as they were beaten 4-2 in the final by France. However, their squad is now older, and the powers of some of their best players, such as Luka Modric, are likely to fade. Morocco could easily be another dark horse contender in the World Cup this year.
The African nation finished top of their second round group in the CAF region without dropping a single point. In the third round, they powered past DR Congo with a 5-2 success over two legs. That could make the showdown between Canada and Morocco on matchday three in the group integral when it comes to one of the top two qualifying spots.
Can Canada Begin To Dream What Comes Next?
One of the most exciting things about the World Cup is getting carried away and beginning to dream about how our home nation can win the World Cup. Canada’s challenges won’t get any easier if they make it out of the group. If they finish second in their group, then they will come up against the winners of Group E. That could set up a blockbuster tie against either Spain or Germany, who will be fighting for the top spot in Group E.
Meanwhile, the challenge doesn’t get any easier if Canada somehow manage to win Group F, as they will play the side that finishes second in Group E. Either way, that would mean a showdown with one of the biggest European nations, and sides that are likely to be among the front-runners with Betway to win the 2022 World Cup later this year.
What Would Be A Success?
Given the tight nature of Group F, and the likely intense battle for the second spot, qualification to the knockout round could be a goal that is too great for this young Canadian squad. However, a successful showing at this year’s tournament could instead be a string of competitive performances, which would offer hope to fans ahead of their home World Cup four years later.
A first ever World Cup finals goal would be a very small aim for the national team, but given the talent of the squad, that would be a very small objective that they will be expected to achieve.Why Try Out Rocket.net - IcyCanada's recommended hosting provider