Canada are back in action for only the second time in World Cup Finals history, their debut appearance having come way back in 1986 in Mexico.
This article was originally published on 21 September 2022
With players such as Bayern Munich's talented Alphonso Davies and Lille's Jonathan David, they could prove to be a wildcard and surpass all expectations, as they aim to better their disastrous point-less campaign at Mexico '86.
They aren't favourites to go far, being as big as 150/1 to lift the trophy for the first time in their history.
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Canada manager John Herdman announced his final 26-man squad for the Qatar World Cup on November 13:
Les Rouges certainly don't have a record to write home about, having only participated in one of the previous 21 editions of the global tournament.
Their only previous experience in the competition ending in misery and embarrassment, as the side under Tony Waiters' management failed to register a single goal.
At the CONCACAF World Cup qualifiers, Canada topped their group in the first round with a maximum points haul from their four games, scoring an impressive 27 times and conceding just once.
Canada then breezed through the second round, tearing apart Haiti in an emphatic 4-0 aggregate victory.
Les Rouges continued to impress in the third round, winning eight of their 14 games, topping the group ahead of Mexico on goal difference and maintaining their brilliant goalscoring run - scoring 23 across the 14 matches: the most of any nation.
This impressive qualifying series confirmed John Herdman's side's return to the World Cup finals for the first time in 36 years.
Club Brugge forward Cyle Larin was the top scorer in qualifying, scoring on 13 occasions, while compatriot David was second, finding the back of the net nine times.
Canada have been dealt a tricky hand, being drawn in Group D alongside the second-highest ranked team in the world, Belgium, as well as 2018 runners up, Croatia and also Morocco.
Herdman’s men will kick off their campaign on 23rd November when they will face Belgium, while they will conclude their group stage on 1st December against Croatia.
There is no denying this group is incredibly challenging for the likes of Canada and Morocco, as they have have been drawn alongside two of the biggest European powerhouses in Belgium and Croatia. It is unlikely that Les Rouges will progress into the last 16, being backed at 11/4 to make it out of the group and 1/4 to suffer an early exit from Qatar.
The runner-up of Group F will take on the winner of Group E, which will most likely be Spain or Germany. As Canada are unlikely to take top spot ahead of favourites Belgium, it is probable Herdman’s men will do battle with Croatia and Morocco for second place in what is a highly competitive group.
Leading Canada to their first World Cup finals appearance since 1986 is Englishman John Herdman. Herdman is one of the few managers at the World Cup to have not played professionally, but this is no hindrance to his managerial style, as he proved during qualifying.
Herdman is the first manager to qualify both a women’s national team, and a men’s national team into World Cups, which is an incredible achievement in its own right.
He took over as Les Rouges manager in January 2018 and has guided Canada from 72nd to 33rd in the FIFA world rankings - the highest position ever achieved by the Canadian men’s team.
He has an impressive 69.77%-win rate as Canada manager, winning 30 of 43, and has contributed to his popularity and presence with the fans and within the dressing room.
Larin is arguably Canada's most important asset - the Club Brugge forward netting 24 times in 50 appearances for his nation and is the team's all-time leading goalscorer.
The experienced 27-year-old has made over 200 appearances throughout his career, having scored just shy of 100 goals. He netted 13 times in the CONCACAF qualifiers, underlining his importance to the team as they booked their ticket to Qatar.
Bayern Munich's Davies has proven to be one of the best full-backs in world football aged just 21.
Davies has profiled his style of play as explosive, powerful and dynamic, with very few players able to keep up with his electric pace, as he often tears up and down the left side of the field.
Davies' involvement could prove to be very valuable to Herdman, as he made four assists from left-back in the Bundesliga last season.
David, 22, is Canada's watchman. The Lille talisman has scored 20 times in 30 for Les Rouges and has also enjoyed success in Ligue 1.
David featured in 37 games for Lille in Ligue 1 last season and netted 15 goals, showing his prolific nature and raw talent in front of goal.
Canada's predicted line-up (3-4-3): Milan Borjan; Steven Vitoria, Kamal Miller, Alistair Johnston; Stephen Eustaquio, Tajon Buchanan, Mark-Anthony Kaye, Jonathan Osorio; Alphonso Davies, Jonathan David, Cyle Larin.
Les Rouges have a plentiful supply of defensive experience, combined with young, attacking talent.
This Canada squad will look to utilise the pace and drive provided by both Davies and David, and Larin's finishing touch could prove to be a difference maker in the team's first World Cup appearance in well over three decades.
The squad Herdman has at his disposal is a strong one, full of exciting talent and experience and Canada could prove to be a dark horse in Qatar.
However, it will be difficult for Les Rouges to progress further than the group stage, being priced at 1/4 to reach the last-16.