Canada will be playing at its first FIFA World Cup in 36 years this winter when this year’s edition of the world’s biggest sporting event takes place in Qatar.
The Maple Leafs will want to put a good account of themselves after more than three decades away from the global soccer scene, and it would not be a surprise if the team wanted to show what they could do as they will also host games in the next edition of the tournament which is scheduled to be held in 2026.
However, how well will the Canada Men’s National Soccer Team do in the upcoming 2022 FIFA World Cup? That is a question that we will look to try and answer in this article. We will take a look at how the Group Stage looks and try to predict what happens, while also looking to identify some of the key players that manager John Herdman is likely going to have to rely on if they are to progress any further.
A tricky 2022 FIFA World Cup campaign lies ahead
Of course, while it might sound a bit like a cliche in regard to the sport of soccer – and any other sport for that instance – there are no easy games to be played in the FIFA World Cup, and Canada will know that they will need to be at their very best to ensure they are able to get out of the Group Stage and progress to the knockout stages of the competition.
The Maple Leafs have been placed in Group F of this year’s tournament, where they will go up against two of Europe’s top sides and one of Africa’s elite. Indeed, matches against Belgium – a team packed full of stars and once the No. 1 ranked FIFA nation – and Croatia – the 2018 FIFA World Cup Runners-Up – await the Canadians before a clash against Morocco takes place.
— TSN (@TSN_Sports) April 1, 2022
With the strength of teams in mind, there will not be many that will be expecting too much from Canada’s Men’s National Soccer Team, with many expecting both Belgium and Croatia to be the most likely to progress and advance to the knockout stage.
However, it would be wrong to right off the Canadians straight away, as they are a talented team and have a roster that is full of star players that have managed to perform well. Indeed, the national side has earned the right to be at their first tournament for 36 years, and it would be a shock if Herdman’s side did not look to try and make the most of their place this year, either.
Is it going to be worth betting on Canada?
The 2022 FIFA World Cup will attract a global audience of millions just as previous editions of the competition have in the past, and this will likely include a number of sports betting enthusiasts, too. Additionally, we could see a number of Canadians look to back their team in the matches that they play, too, following the continued growth of the industry back home.
Naturally, the top sports betting sites in Canada are already offering a number of odds on the national team and whether they will have success, with a host of them providing punters with value when it comes down to qualifying from Group F.
For instance, 888Sport does not appear to be favoring the country’s chances as they have provided them with odds of +1,000 to progress (the least favorable), while LeoVegas has provided them with odds of +900.
Indeed, it would seem as though not many are fancying Canada to cause an upset in qualification for the next stage, although if they have a number of their stars perform to the best of their ability, then there is every chance that they could spring a shock and a surprise or two.
Which Canadian stars will need to be incredible?
There is no denying that Herdman’s roster of players will need to be nothing short of spectacular during the three games that they are set to play against Belgium, Croatia, and Morocco, however the team will have a few players that can be called upon as potential match-winners.
Of course, the squad is yet to be decided at the moment and there will always be concerns regarding the possibility of injuries impacting selection, especially as we will be playing the 2022 FIFA World Cup near to the midway point of a European soccer season and towards the end of those leagues being competed in North America.
Nonetheless, if we were to think of the players selected in an ideal world and there were no problems, then these are going to be the stars that will need to be incredible when representing the Maple Leafs:
- Alphonso Davies
- Lucas Cavallini
- Jonathan David
- Cyle Larin
- Atiba Hutchinson
There are plenty of goals among the individuals highlighted above and Canada are going to need to be able to find their shooting boots in Qatar this winter if they are to have a successful campaign in this huge sports event. We know that the European nations are capable of scoring even when defenses are tough and tight, which is why there will be an added emphasis on the likes of Cavallini, David, and Larin.
Davies is going to be huge for the Maple Leafs this winter as he knows what it takes to win the biggest matches after starring for FC Bayern Munich, and despite the fact that he is only 21, he still has plenty of experience that can be passed on to some of the older individuals of the squad.
Hutchinson – the captain – is going to be another individual who will need to be influential in the dressing room and on the pitch. Despite being 39, the Besiktas midfielder will need to use all of his experience and help the younger crop of players coming through the national side while also potentially breaking up play in the middle of the park and giving his defense some help.
So, how well will Canada do in the 2022 FIFA World Cup? Many are not expecting too much from the Maple Leafs this winter and that is perhaps rather unsurprising given the difficulty of teams they will face in Group F. However, if they can get their stars firing, then perhaps there will be something to cheer about this winter?