This winter, the Canadian Men’s National Team make their first appearance on the World Cup stage in 36 years.
The only time Les Rouges had previously played on the biggest field in world football was in 1986, when they were eliminated from a group that included the Soviet Union, France, and Hungary without recording a single goal or point.
However, things are different under English head coach John Herdman, who travels to Qatar with an exciting mix of young players and seasoned veterans in an effort to shock and make a statement before Canada co-hosts the next World Cup in 2026.
Canada’s confirmed 26-player squad for the World Cup
Goalkeepers: Milan Borjan, James Pantemis, Dayne St Clair
Defenders: Sam Adekugbe, Derek Cornelius, Alistair Johnston, Richie Laryea, Kamal Miller, Steven Vitoria, Joel Waterman
Midfielders: Stephen Eustaquio, Liam Fraser, Atiba Hutchinson, Mark-Anthony Kaye, Ismael Kone, Jonathan Osorio, Samuel Piette, David Wotherspoon
Forwards: Tajon Buchanan, Lucas Cavallini, Jonathan David, Junior Hoillett, Cyle Larin, Ike Ugbo, Liam Miller, Alphonso Davies
Players to watch
Since moving from Gent to Lille in 2020, David has been in sensational form, tallying 37 goals in 90 Ligue 1 appearances so far. David has more than succeeded in translating that form to the international stage, scoring 22 goals in just 34 appearances, or 0.65 goals per game. David, who will be 22 years old and is already catching the attention of some major European clubs, may be playing in his first of many World Cups.
Davies must perform at his peak level if Canada is to make a big impression at this World Cup. He represents Bayern Munich as a left-back, but his true position is that of a forward. He will aim to use his speed and skill to trouble the defenders in Group F. However, Davies stands way above the rest of Canada’s stacked attack.
Cyle Larin is the only player in CanMNT history with more goals than David. Nobody can match his 25 goals, some of which have been extremely crucial, despite his strike rate being only 0.46 per game. Since joining Club Brugge in the summer, Larin hasn’t exactly been at his best, but his 39-goal stint with Besiktas, where he won the Turkish Super Lig in 2021, is sufficient evidence of his talent.
Canada will probably be on the defensive for the majority of this World Cup despite their abundance in attacking opportunities. In light of this, they require a dependable goalie, and Milan Borjan is just that. Borjan, who is 35 years old and probably won’t play in another World Cup, is a seasoned professional with extensive experience at the highest levels of European soccer and a history of making significant saves for Canada when the game is on the line.
While Canada has been somewhat inconsistent in their first 11 games of 2022, they have generally produced impressive results. Unquestionably, the most notable outcome was a 2-0 triumph over the United States in World Cup qualifying in January. Canada still has a friendly match against Japan before they take on Belgium.
Canada will undoubtedly be viewed as an underdog at the World Cup due to their inexperience at this level. However, their forward line is among the strongest you’ll see outside of the most elite countries in the competition. Although there may be concerns at centre back, Herdman has plenty of experience to draw from in both goalkeeping and midfield, allowing him to handle the big moment. They will probably not advance from their group because asking them to defeat Belgium or Croatia is a big ask. Canada will raise some questions and demonstrate their ability to compete at this level, though.