With the national team’s next qualifying game against Mexico fast approaching, I thought I would break down what Canada has to accomplish in order to make the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
Before we get into it, let’s reflect a bit on Canada’s involvement in the World Cup – Don’t worry, this won’t take long. In fact, Canada has only ever made it to one. The 1986 edition, hosted by Mexico. Of course, this World Cup is most known for Maradona’s two goals against England in the quarter finals. The first, the infamous “hand of god”, and the second, the “goal of the century“.
At this World Cup, Canada was in Group C, joined by the Soviet Union, France, and Hungary. In the three games that Canada played, they managed to let in five goals, and didn’t get a chance to celebrate any of their own. This Canadian side, had Vancouver Whitecaps legends, Bob Lenarduzzi and Carl Valentine.
Fast forward to today, and we’re seeing a Canadian squad that is exciting and creating optimism in supporters. Which is something that previous teams had failed to do.
With four games left to play, Canada find themselves second in Group A. Behind Mexico, but ahead of Honduras and El Salvador. To keep the World Cup dream alive, Canada will need to finish within the top two of this group. Once they achieve that objective, they will be put into the “hexagonal”. Joining them would be the other top two teams from each group.
In this final group of six teams, Canada, who would likely be joined by, Mexico, the U.S, Costa Rica, Panama, and Trinidad, would have to qualify within the top three. Finishing at this position, would guarantee them a direct spot to the World Cup. However, if they finish fourth, they’ll have to take another route to secure their trip to Russia. If Canada finish fourth, they will have to play the fifth place team of the Asian Football Confederation.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Though the Brampton, Ontario native will soon be celebrating his 33 birthday, the midfielder has been a commanding presence for Canada in their latest games. Hutchinson has a career that has seen him play in top teams across Scandinavia, Holland, and now, in Turkey with Beşiktaş. In short, he’s rated 77 overall in EA Sport’s FIFA 2016, making him the best Canadian in the game.
Playing for Queens Park Rangers in the English Championship, Hoilett is known for taking on defenders. His pace, combined with technical ability (seen below), makes him one of Canada’s biggest attacking assets.