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World Cup 2022: 36 years later, Canada, 20th qualified team, invites itself to the party

The last time that Canada played in the final phase of the World Cup was in Mexico in 1986. France had also opened its Mexican World Cup against the Canadians and Jean-Pierre Papin had scored the only goal of the match ( 1-0) and the only goal of his career in the final phase of the World Cup. For 36 years, Canada, better known for the success of its ice hockey team, has not shown its maple blossom in a final phase.

This long absence is repaired: Canada has qualified for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. The Canadians thanks to their victory (4-0) against Jamaica, Sunday March 27 in Toronto, during the penultimate day of the qualifications of the Concacaf zone, ensured their invitation to the table of the big ones.

One day before the end of the playoffs, the Canadians are guaranteed to finish in one of the first three places in the standings, which opens the way to direct accession. They can no longer be caught by Costa Rica (4th) who won (2-1) in El Salvador. “We have gone through difficult times. But I have an incredible group of players. And we have talent. I’m just happy for these guys. When I took the reins of the team and said: We will qualify for the World Cup, I don’t think many believed me,” reacted coach John Herdman, adding: “Canada is a footballing nation and we better believe it. We will continue to move forward. We are just getting started. »

A draw against Jamaica was enough for the “Canucks” to qualify. Frustrated at having missed the boat a few days earlier in Costa Rica, where they conceded their first loss of this phase (1-0), they made it a point of honor to finish the job with fireworks, in front of their white-hot audience in the still freezing cold of Ontario. Striker Cyle Larin, found in the box by midfielder Stephen Eustaquio, opened the scoring in the 13th minute, exploding with joy nearly 30,000 down jackets and red caps. The goalscoring opportunities then multiplied, Larin, Jonathan David and Tajon Buchanan, lacking precision in the last gesture. The latter still doubled the mark before the break, receiving a center badly returned by the opposing defense.

Returning from the locker room, David, the Lille striker (L1) still lacked precision after an ideal service from Larin (49th), then Canada eased slightly. John Herdman then brought in new blood for the substitutes to join the party, and Junior Hoilett added the third goal with a sharp after a pass from Buchanan (82nd). Then, the Jamaican Adrian Mariappa gave even more pace to the score, by scoring against his camp (88th).

The United States and Mexico are almost there too

In this Concacaf zone, we are also starting to see things more clearly. The United States, easy winners of Panama (5-1), thanks in particular to a hat-trick from Christian Pulisic who scored two penalties, are second. And Mexico, which won (1-0) in Honduras, remains third. They each have 25 points, or three more than Costa Rica, which also has a general goal difference (the first criterion in the event of a tie, the best attack coming second) which is very unfavorable compared to that of the Americans (+ 13/+3) and a little less unfavourable, but difficult to fill, compared to that of the Mexicans (+ 7/+3).

It would therefore take a fairly large victory for the Costa Ricans against the USA on Wednesday March 30, combined with a fairly large defeat for Mexico against El Salvador, to see them climb to 3rd place thanks to the “goal average”. A scenario that is difficult to imagine for Costa Rica which will most certainly finish 4th in this phase. This position does not prevent the Costa Ricans from continuing to believe in their star, because it is synonymous with an intercontinental dam to win a ticket for Qatar.

On March 28 and while waiting for the final play-offs, we know 20 of the 32 qualified for the World Cup which will take place from November 21 to December 18, 2022. These are the following teams: Brazil, Argentina, Ecuador, Uruguay (South America zone ); Canada (North and Central America zone; Qatar (host country), Iran, South Korea, Japan, Saudi Arabia (Asia zone); Denmark, Germany, France, Belgium, Croatia, Spain, Serbia, England, Switzerland, -Low (Europe area).

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