“I’m going to the World Cup! We’re going to the World Cup guys! I can’t believe it…I’m crying. My dream became reality.” Not from the trip because he is slowly coming back from myocarditis (heart inflammation) after contracting Covid-19, Alphonso Davies (21) did not hide his joy on his Twitch channel during a live broadcast around the match of qualification for the 2022 World Cup between Canada and Jamaica. As bosses, the Canucks rolled out to win 4-0 with goals from Cyle Larin (13th), Tajon Buchanan (44th), Junior Hoilett (82nd) and Adrian Mariappa (88th, CSC). First in the CONCACAF zone with three points ahead of the United States (2nd) and Mexico (3rd) as well as six lengths over Costa Rica (4th and for the moment play-off), the country of maple syrup has been impressive during a well-run campaign. It is therefore only natural that this team won its ticket and qualified for the second World Cup in its history, the first since 1986.
Hosting the World Cup in 4 years with the United States and Mexico, Canada will therefore be able to prepare for the event by taking its golden generation to Qatar. While their ancestors finished in last place in 1986, with zero points behind the Soviet Union, France and Hungary, Canada wants to do great things at the next World Cup. In constant progress over the past few years with two quarter-finals of the Gold Cup in 2017 and 2019 and a semi-final in 2021, Canada has been able to bring out many talents who have been exported to big European clubs. The most telling example is obviously Alphonso Davies at Bayern Munich, but other talents like Stephen Eustaquio (25, FC Porto), Cyle Larin (26, Besiktas), Liam Millar (22, Basel), Tajon Buchanan (23 years old, Bruges), Jonathan David (22 years old, Lille) or even Iké Ugbo (23 years old, Troyes) also exported well. The young Jahkeele Marshall-Rutty (17, Toronto), who is slowly rising in MLS, should also follow this path.
The start of something even bigger
With a rising youth, but also executives like Milan Borjan (34 years old, Red Star of Belgrade), Atiba Hutchinson (39 years old, Besiktas) or Junior Hoilett (31 years old, Reading), Canada also has elements capable to add more experience. A perfect mix which therefore rolled over the qualifying campaign with 8 wins, 4 draws and 1 defeat in 13 matches. “Before, it was like you were playing against the United States and they were like, ‘Oh, we’re playing against Canada, it’s easy, yeah, blah, blah, blah. But now, when they come to face us, or when we go there, they are afraid. They are afraid. In the last four or five matches, they were scared against us. Because we have an incredible team”, said goalkeeper Milan Borjan last January after a 2-0 victory against the United States. Under the leadership of English technician John Herdman (46), who had been the women’s coach between 2011 and 2018 before taking charge of the A team, Canada quickly progressed and the latter has an incredible record of 29 victories, 4 draws and 7 defeats in 40 matches. All with an average of 2.9 goals scored per game for 0.65 goals conceded.
Finding the perfect chemistry, the latter intends to lead his foals even higher. After the victory against Jamaica, he let his joy burst while stressing the importance of this victory within the framework of a process of development of football in the country of hockey. “We have Alphonso Davies, who won the Champions League final. We have players playing all over Europe. We have talented young people coming through our academies system. And we just qualified for the World Cup! Canada is a football country. I told the guys we needed to qualify in 2022 to lay the groundwork for 2026. With the investments that come with a World Cup, we needed to qualify in order to be truly competitive in our World Cup.” he explained. A real sensation, Canada intends to continue to impress in a few months in Qatar, but whatever happens, it’s time to celebrate on the side of the Canucks.