Canada is back once again at the FIFA tournament; for the Reds, this is their second participation. The team hadn’t made it to the group stage since the 1986 edition of the tournament that happened in Mexico.
Current Canada’s coach, John Herdman had a smaller pool of players in the qualifiers campaign and he had to choose only major players out of them. So it is highly plausible that Qatar will see similar faces that so far have cemented this Canadian side’s reputation.
Based on the number of appearances of Canadian players in recent months and their club profiles, here’s a look at who might be making it to the final 26-man squad for Qatar 2022.
Final Canada Squad for FIFA World Cup 2022
|GK||Milan Borjan||Red Star Belgrade (SRB)||35||67|
|GK||James Pantemis||CF Montreal (CAN)||25||0|
|GK||Dayne St. Clair||Minnesota United (USA)||25||2|
|DEF||Sam Adekugbe||Hatayspor (TUR)||27||33|
|DEF||Derek Cornelius||Panetolikos (GRE)||24||14|
|DEF||Alistair Johnston||CF Montreal (CAN)||24||29|
|DEF||Richie Laryea||Toronto FC (CAN)||27||33|
|DEF||Kamal Miller||CF Montreal (CAN)||25||28|
|DEF||Steven Vitoria||GD Chaves (POR)||35||34|
|DEF||Joel Waterman||CF Montreal (CAN)||26||1|
|MID||Stephen Eustaquio||FC Porto (POR)||25||22|
|MID||Liam Fraser||KMSK Deinze (BEL)||24||15|
|MID||Atiba Hutchinson||Besiktas (TUR)||39||97|
|MID||Mark-Anthony Kaye||Toronto FC (CAN)||27||37|
|MID||Ismael Kone||CF Montreal (CAN)||20||5|
|MID||Jonathan Osorio||Toronto FC (CAN)||30||56|
|MID||Samuel Piette||CF Montreal (CAN)||28||65|
|MID||David Wotherspoon||St. Johnstone (SCO)||32||10|
|FWD||Tajon Buchanan||Club Brugge (BEL)||23||25|
|FWD||Lucas Cavallini||Vancouver Whitecaps (CAN)||29||33|
|FWD||Jonathan David||LOSC Lille (FRA)||22||34|
|FWD||Alphonso Davies||Bayern Munich (GER)||22||34|
|FWD||Junior Hoilett||Reading FC (ENG)||32||49|
|FWD||Cyle Larin||Club Brugge (BEL)||27||54|
|FWD||Liam Millar||FC Basel (SWZ)||23||16|
|FWD||Ike Ugbo||Troyes (FRA)||24||8|
During the group stages, the North American side will face two European powerhouses Belgium and Croatia, and an African nation Morocco.
Canada Group Fixtures
|Wed, Nov. 23||Belgium vs. Canada||2 p.m.||Ahmad Bin Ali|
|Sun, Nov. 27||Croatia vs. Canada||11 a.m.||Khalifa Int’l|
|Thurs, Dec. 1||Canada vs. Morocco||10 a.m.||Al Thumama|
The right flank, with the presence of the UCL-winning full-back, Alphonso Davies, is solidly protected against even the top-rated attackers. He likewise can also provide a lethal charging option with his firing pace when in transition. On the national side, he gets more freedom to do the latter.
His pace to accelerate in a fraction of a second with the whole team’s ability to do a quick counter is what has made this generation qualify for the finals with an impressive goal difference.
In the middle is FC Porto’s midfielder Stephen Eustaquio who has both the abilities to move the ball forward and retract it back when at the feet of the attacking team.
Needless to say, the attack has one of the League 1 top scorers, Jonathan David (fourth as of this writing).
Canada is back in the mega event after 36 years. Considering the absence people have been wondering if The Reds have enough experience to compete in the big tournament.
The defense still looks like it needs some work. This might be the only area where they may have to send men from the front to bring its quality to a competent level. This means the fullbacks Buchanan and Davies who are extra forces to their attack would be entirely confined to protect their box if the team is against formidable attacking opponents.
Also, Davies is still fresh off of his recovery from a hamstring injury. His absence would diminish Canada’s quality by a notable margin. This is despite their recent reputation as far from a one-man team.
The majority of polls are assured that Canada will not have a long stay in Qatar considering Croatia and Belgium are the two clear favorites. However strong qualification journey says they might pull at least one upset during the initial phase of the competition.
On the other hand, having only appeared once in the tournament, they are yet to record a single win. Canada when they were in the 1986 world cup faced three defeats in the group stages to France, Hungary, and the then Soviet Union. This time too the quality presence of Croatia and Belgium makes it harder for them to be favorites to go past the group stage. The European sides have an array of top-level performers. Furthermore, they themselves have the reputation of going as far as they could in this franchise.
However, Canada’s bad run was ages ago and this national side seems far different. If the team is still in the spirit of their qualifiers phase, then they have a better chance of having a new feat at the competition. Not to forget they topped the CONCACAF group, recording shocking victories over FIFA’s familiar teams, USA and Mexico. But then again progressing past the group stage despite the attendance of two European names seems a bit improbable for this Canadian side.