Thursday, September 28

It has been a long wait, but this year we will finally see the Canadian Men’s National Team Competing at a World Cup. 

36 years after appearing at the 1986 World Cup in Mexico, Canada will participate in the tournament for the second time in their history. They qualified in outstanding fashion for Qatar 2022 while having to start in the first of three rounds of qualifying. 

A new generation of fans will be able to support their country along with those who were there in ‘86. With MLS and the Canadian Premier League consistently growing, it is an exciting time for soccer in Canada.

John Herdman has guided his side to the top of the CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying final round and only lost twice in 19 games.

They only conceded eight times throughout the three rounds of qualifying, an incredible defensive record, whilst also scoring 54 goals, giving them a positive 46 goal difference. 

Led by inspirational Atiba Hutchinson the central midfielder made his national team debut in 2003 and has gone on to be Canada’s all-time most capped player with 97 appearances to date. Nineteen years later he will look to reach 100 caps — an impressive feat especially considering the position he plays.

Drawn in Group F Canada will face Belgium, Morocco and Croatia. Although a tough group and playing against some of the world’s best players Canada will have their own game-changers, who will look to make Canada Proud.

Ones To Watch

Alphonso Davies

Davies is a legitimate superstar in world soccer. Playing for one of Europe’s biggest clubs, Bayern Munich in Germany, he has proven himself to be at an elite level and a real game-winner for the Canadians. 

He is often used as a left-back for Bayern, though as the club dominate possession and attack so fluidly, it is his attacking performances that make him so dangerous. Davies has electric pace and runs at defenders with the ball dangerously as well as having good delivery and finishing abilities.

With 12 goals in 32 appearances for Canada he has been moved into more advanced areas, used as a wing back or a winger in Herdman’s system. When healthy, he is the first name on the teamsheet and any side that comes up against Canada will need to find a way of limiting his influence on the game.

Cyle Larin

Canada’s leading scorer has been playing across Europe since joining Besiktas in Turkey in 2018 from Orlando City for a little under $2 million. He played 109 times for the club, including Europa League and Champions League ties, scoring 39 goals. 

This summer he moved to Club Brugge in Belgium on a free transfer joining Canadian teammate Tajon Buchanan. He has largely been used as a substitute in the early stages of his move to Brugge but will be a key starter in the World Cup for Canada.

His movement is dynamic and he is a strong and physical player with a poachers instinct and will cause defenders issues in and around the penalty area. He has good pace and ball control while linking up well with players around him. His movement to find space and trade passes is a key way he has created the opportunities to score the goals that have made him Canada’s all-time leading scorer. 

Jonathan David

Cyle Larin’s partner up front is another key player for Canada, especially when the two start alongside each other. Jonathan David is another Canadian playing abroad, currently plying his trade at Lille in France.

The forward is another hard-working, physical yet technically impressive player. He left Canada for Gent in Belgium in 2018 and made the move to Lille in 2020 for around $27 million. 

He has started this season in electric form, scoring twice and assisting two goals in his first three games. This comes on the back of a 15-goal season last year and David is gaining plenty of attention for his form in Ligue 1. 

At just 22 years of age he already has 30 caps and 20 goals for the National Team and will be looking to challenge his strike partner as all-time top scorer as his career progresses. The friendly competition between the two pushes each other to do their best for the country and will be a real handful for defenders at the World Cup.

Jonathan Osorio

The central midfielder from Toronto, Ontario has been representing his home-town side since 2013 making 276 appearances for Toronto FC, scoring 46 and assisting 32. 

With seven games still remaining of the MLS Regular Season, Osorio has nine goals, one away from his highest total in a single season, back in 2018. This season has seen the addition of some world-class talent in Toronto and they are fighting for a place in the playoffs after a slow start.

Osorio is a key part of their midfield and his ability at timing his arrival in the box has been especially dangerous this season. Also notable is his ability to work the ball forward through quick passing and movement, while defensively he works hard for the side as well.

With 55 caps and seven goals he has been a regular with the national team for many years since making his debut against Costa Rica in May 2013.

Should Herdman decide to go with wing-backs and a three man midfield, Osorio will be dangerous with his movements to join the attack and something defensive midfielders will need to monitor.

Tajon Buchanan

Buchaman was drafted by the New England Revolution in 2019 and has had a rapid rise since then. A wide forward with plenty of pace and skill, he caught the eye of Club Brugge who made the investment to bring him to Belgium at the beginning of this season.

He played 15 times on his arrival to Brugge last season, scoring once and assisting two goals. A muscle injury has kept him out of the start of the new season for Brugge but is expected back soon.

Buchanan’s pace and desire to torment opposing full backs will make him a figure to watch out for in the group stages. Facing Belgium in the opening game will be interesting for him and Larin as they will possibly come up against teammates as well as others from the Belgium Jupiler Pro League.

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