Canada enjoyed a decent World Cup in 2022, where qualifying was the most impressive accomplishment for the North American nation. Not a regular participant in these tournaments, the Canadians were happy to be there and to get a chance to showcase their talented young squad. The likes of Alphonso Davies shone at the tournament but couldn’t do enough to get them out of the group stages.
While Canada put in spirited displays, they ultimately went out in the group stages, with Croatia and Morocco progressing from the group. Let’s delve into these Canadian soccer stars’ performances.
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Whether you watch the sport for the love of the game or for soccer betting, it’s worth knowing the history of specific teams. The Canadian national team knew they were not in their final form at the 2022 World Cup. A very young team led by Mauro Biello, they are enjoying a very productive 2023. Biello came in as a replacement for John Herdman earlier in 2023.
Since the World Cup, the Canadians have improved greatly. Although they did not emerge from the group in that instance, they may fancy their chances in 2026 if they continue to improve.
The CONCACAF Nations League, which took place this year, was an excellent chance for Canada to show what they were all about. Canada came into the tournament as one of the favorites, and they showed their quality, reaching the final against the United States.
Another Big Stage Disappointment
If there is one theme for the Canadian national team in the past couple of years, it would be the nearly moments. They had enough quality to reach the knockout stages at the World Cup, and they would have fancied their chances of beating the United States in the Nations League.
However, they could not get their hands on the trophy, losing 2-0 in the final this past summer. Shortly after the Nations League, they also had a decent CONCACAF Gold Cup campaign.
Canada could only manage a quarter-final berth in the Gold Cup, as they were paired with the United States and ended up crashing out on penalties. After extra time, the teams were tied 2- 2, but the US, with more experience, won the decisive spot kicks.
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No World Cup Qualification
With the CONCACAF federation set to host the 2026 World Cup in the United States, Canada, and Mexico are already through to the finals, which are set to take place in the summer of that year. Canada will not have to go through an arduous qualifying campaign, so their squad can already dream of improving their 2022 World Cup achievements.
The lack of World Cup qualifiers can be seen as both a blessing and a curse if you manage a national team. If he is still in charge by 2026, Mauro Biello will have to get very creative to ensure his team is getting enough competitive game time in the next two years.
A lack of qualifiers means that Canada must rely on friendlies to remain match-sharp as a team. The individual players are getting their fitness work and conditioning done at club level. Still, they must get together and play competitive games to develop team spirit and tactics.
A Series of Friendlies to Come
Canadians have yet to book their schedule for 2024 and 2025 as they prepare to co-host the World Cup in 2026. They are set to play friendlies in all the game slots that World Cup qualifiers would have otherwise occupied, as they will want to get their young players together as much as possible in the coming years.
Choosing opponents for these friendlies will be crucial, as Canada will not want to come to the 2026 World Cup unprepared. Given they will have the privilege of playing in front of their home crowd, at least during group-stage games, Team Canada will want to put in a great showing.
Picking opponents of similar and higher skill levels will be critical for the national federation. While playing with weaker opponents is tempting, as it can result in big wins, a team cannot cope with superior opponents when competitive games come around.
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Does Canada Have a World Class Player?
When Canada played with such intensity and purpose at the 2022 World Cup, people expected to know all about their talented young players in the next few months. However, only some of them were able to get big money moves after that tournament in Qatar. Alphonso Davies and Jonathan David are already in Europe and considered the team’s two most considerable talents. Davies plays left-back for German giant Bayern Munich but often as a midfielder or forward for his country. David is a two-footed striker who is thriving in Ligue 1 in France. While these two young players have potential, they are not world-class, and at this stage, neither are any other Canadian soccer stars. They may have passion, pace, and intensity about their game, but Canada has a long way to go to turn their young stars into top-class talents in time for the 2026 World Cup.