Canada head to this year’s Qatar showpiece without the weight of expectation, in the knowledge that their qualification alone represents a piece of national history.
Prior to 2022, The Maple Leafs had taken their place at just a solitary World Cup, all the way back in 1986. And even that tournament showing did not exactly prove an inspired one, en route to a trio of defeats, culminating in a deserved group stage exit.
This time round, though, on their way to table-topping status in the CONCACAF qualification standings, clear of more established names in the form of Mexico and the United States, John Herdman’s up-and-coming crop of talent put the football world on notice.
That talent has worked its way into the upper echelons of European football. Alphonso Davies at Bayern Munich, Jonathan David at Lille, Cyle Larin at Club Brugge – the time and money invested in the youth sector of football across the country is beginning to pay dividends on not only a national, but an international scale, too.
Are Canada likely to make any legitimate waves courtesy of a deep tournament run in Qatar? Probably not.
But could they turn heads across the globe by means of an exciting glimpse of what is potentially on the horizon for one of football’s fastest growing nations? Absolutely.
Canada World Cup 2022 Tips
Read the latest Canada odds ahead of the World Cup, including their odds to win the tournament, odds to claim the golden boot, 101 Great Goals’ top tip and more 2022 World Cup predictions and tips.
Canada World Cup Predictions
Of the 32 countries primed to take their place at the latest edition of international football’s biggest competition, Canada are currently viewed as 20th favourites to go all the way. They may have some emerging talent, but they are some way off becoming a competitive nation on the global stage.
Canada Golden Boot Prediction
Jonathan David is an emerging talent, having proved himself at Lille following a move from Gent. With 22 goals in 34 international appearances also to his name, a promising showing at the World Cup could earn him a major move to the Premier League or something similar. The best he can hope for however is a goal or two to showcase his potential.
John Herdman is the man set to be tasked with leading Canada’s charge into a first World Cup appearance for nearly 40 years.
The 47-year-old, who oversaw the country’s Women’s Team for seven years prior to his step up to the men’s setup, has been on the Maple Leafs’ bench since the beginning of 2018.
And what a job he has since managed.
Herdman is widely viewed as one of the driving factors behind Canada’s collective footballing resurgence, with the Durham native having guided the country from a lowly 72nd in the FIFA world rankings to, at one point, an all-time high 33rd.
His choice of formation for the tournament’s group stages looks a difficult one to call, with Herdman having also proven his tactical versatility across CONCACAF qualifying, in regularly shifting between a back-three and a back-four.
Such decisions, though, could well prove the difference between Canada fighting for a spot in the Last-16, or crashing out at the group stages at the hands of the heavily favoured Belgium and Croatia.
Total appearances: 1
First qualification: 1930
Most recent: 2018
Best achievement: Third place (2018)
World Ranking: 41
Overall record: P48, W20, D9, L19
Amongst Canada’s burgeoning crop of young stars, one name, of course, stands out above all the rest; Alphonso Davies.
Despite remaining just 21 years of age, the explosive Davies has long been regarded as one of world football’s finest left-backs. His stellar exploits at club level proved crucial en route to Bayern Munich clinching glory in the Champions League back in 2020, with the former Vancouver Whitecaps sensation remaining an absolutely integral member of Julian Nagelsmann’s first-team setup at the Allianz Arena.
And yet, for his country, Davies plays an even more important role.
Generally tasked with lining out in a more attack-minded role, the Ghana-born talent carries much of the responsibility for Canada in the final third, not only as creator in chief, but a keen goalscorer, too.
All told, Davies has racked up a none-too-shabby 12 goals across his 32 international appearances to date, but it is perhaps his experience in cutting his teeth at the very top level of the game which, on the whole, make the 21-year-old Les Rouges’ key player set for Qatar.
101′s Canada World Cup Tip
The realistic goal for John Herdman and co. this winter should be to simply emerge from the group stages. Such an achievement would in and of itself make Canada’s World Cup experience a net positive, with the North American nation sitting on a similar footing to Morocco, as outsiders to emerge from a Group F table featuring both Belgium and Croatia.
Our prediction at 101, though, comes in the form of a hard-fought exit at the first hurdle.
Canada stats, fixtures and results
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