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2022 FIFA World Cup Team Previews: Canada

Canada
Alphonso Davies should be healthy for Canada at the 2022 FIFA World Cup, which will be a huge relief for Canadians as he has quickly become a world wide star. (Photo by Chris Young/ The Canadian Press)

2022 FIFA World Cup Team Previews: Canada

The 2022 FIFA World Cup is less than a month away from kicking off in Qatar. Over the next 32 days, I will be previewing each team that will be taking part in the world’s most-watched event. Check out all of the team previews that have been done so far. Up next is Canada.

For the first time in 36 years, Canada will be going to the World Cup. After winning the group in CONCACAF qualifying, “Les Rouges” or “The Reds” automatically qualified for the 2022 World Cup. In an interesting Group F, it is not improbable that Canada makes it out of the group stage, but they have lost four of their last seven matches. “Les Rouges” has one of the quickest teams in the World Cup led by Alphonso Davies who reached a speed of 22.35 mph in a match this season according to a study by KHEL Now. Ranked #41 in the FIFA men’s rankings, Canada is the lowest-ranked team in their group but punches well above its weight.

World Cup Appearances

The 2022 World Cup will be the first for Canada since qualifying for the 1986 World Cup. 1986 was the only ever appearance of “Les Rouges” on the world’s biggest stage. The 2022 World Cup will be the first of two straight for Canada as they are co-hosting the 2026 World Cup and qualified automatically.

Best Finish at a World Cup

With the 1986 World Cup being Canada’s only appearance, that was their best finish. Best is used lightly as Canada lost all three group-stage matches against France, Hungary, and the Soviet Union. “Les Rouges” failed to score a single goal in any of their three matches.

Key players

The star of Canada is Bayern Munich defender Alphonso Davies. The 22-year-old speedster typically plays as a wingback for the German champions, but plays much more of an attacking role with “Les Rouges.” In 34 appearances for Canada, Davies has 12 goals. The only concern for Canada and Davies is that the defender suffered a hamstring injury playing for Bayern Munich last week. However, Davies has insisted that he will be 100% when the 2022 World Cup starts.

Davies is not the only attacking threat for Canada as Cyle Larin and Jonathan David both finished qualifying as top 10 goalscorers in the world. Larin scored the second most goals in all of qualifying for the 2022 World Cup with 13 goals, just one behind UAE’s Ali Mabkhout. David finished with nine goals in qualifying which was level with Poland’s Robert Lewandowski. The captain of Canada and the nation’s most-capped player is midfielder Atiba Hutchinson. At the ripe age of 39 years old, Hutchinson has made 97 appearances for “Les Rouges” and will reach the 100 cap mark in the group stage. 

Manager

After managing the New Zealander and Canadian women’s national teams, John Herdman took over the Canadian men’s team in 2018. He has completely turned around “Les Rouges” since taking over and helped them jump from 72nd to 41st in the FIFA men’s rankings in 2021 alone. Under Herdman’s lead, Canada has gone 31-4-10 and qualified for its first World Cup in 36 years. 

Biggest Group Game – vs Croatia on November 27

Canada could very well get out of Group F and a match against the 2018 World Cup runners-up, Croatia, will give them a huge lift. While Croatia is one of the older teams coming to the end of their golden era, “Les Rouges” are at the beginning of their era, and with youth on their side could cause an upset here. 

Prediction

Canada might be one of the most slept-on teams with the likes of Japan. However, similarly to the United States, the 2022 FIFA World Cup is four years too early for “Les Rouges” to make a move to the knockout round. With that being said, I do think they will upset Croatia and therefore finish third in Group F.

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