There will be many in Canada who will be looking forward to seeing their national side compete at the upcoming FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
Aside from the fact that the competition is one of the world’s biggest sporting spectacles and one that sees the best footballing nations over the last four years compete for the ultimate prize in the sport, there will be a generation of fans who are yet to see the Maple Leafs compete at the major event.
Indeed, the last time the team had managed to qualify was back in the 1986 edition; some 36 years ago, therefore there will be a vast portion of the population that will not have seen the team compete. Additionally, it could help to further build the appeal of the sport in the North American country, especially where sports such as Hockey are perhaps typically associated as being the national game.
Nonetheless, how well is the Canada Men’s National Team likely to do when they head to Qatar? Let’s explore this question throughout the remainder of this article…
With the 2022 FIFA World Cup Group Stage draw having been made some time ago, fans of the Canada national team will have already known that they face a rather challenging proposition if they are to somehow escape from Group F and challenge for a place in the knockout stages of the tournament.
This is because the team has been placed alongside Belgium, Croatia, and Morocco. On paper, these teams sound incredibly difficult. Indeed, when you take into consideration their FIFA World Rankings, then it becomes even clearer how challenging the task ahead will be for the Maple Leafs.
Where does Canada finish in Group F at the World Cup? pic.twitter.com/cNbmlfDgX0— Tim and Friends (@timandfriends) April 1, 2022
Belgium are considered to be the second-best team in the rankings currently, whereas the previous runners-up of the FIFA World Cup at the 2018 edition in Russia are placed 15th, with the African side ranked 23rd. For those interested, Canada are currently ranked as the 43rd best nation in football.
It is far from a surprise, though, to see those rankings given the squads that each of the country’s can boast when it comes down to selecting their squads for the upcoming competition. Both Belgium and Croatia have players playing at the biggest clubs in the world where they are used to winning some of the elite club competitions, while Morocco also has talented individuals playing their football all over the planet.
Canada can be considered underdogs
Given their ranking, some will look upon the North American outfit as one of the biggest underdogs of this year’s competition, especially since 32 teams are able to qualify. In fact, with the numerous betting options that are set to be available throughout the tournament, some might be looking at the Canadian National Team as a potential market that provides them with value.
Indeed, if you are already interested in potentially having a wager on what could happen in Group F this winter, then you can take a look at the best Canadian Sports Betting Sites‘ odds straight away and make a couple of predictions about what could happen in the next couple of months.
However, for those that are potentially considering placing a wager on the Maple Leafs’ tournament and thinking about where they could make some money, will Group F actually provide them with any success (if they are backing their country, that is)?
As we have already highlighted and eluded to, the group is incredibly difficult and it is going to be almost impossible to see Canada coming out on top given the quality of their opponents.
Belgium boasts several impressive attacking talent throughout its squad, as well as a winning defence and goalkeeper, while Croatia have the know-how of playing in major competitions and doing rather well in them. Some will argue that their place in the 2018 FIFA World Cup Final was due to an easy route, but they still proved to everyone that they could get there.
Morocco is the game that Canada may be eyeing up, although the African side cannot be taken lightly in any shape or form. They have players that are dangerous and can punish any errors that may happen.
Nonetheless, Canada can be confident in their ability, as they have a number of stars throughout the squad. The likes of Jonathan David and Alphonso Davies are stars in Europe, while others have proven to be just as effective when they represent the Maple Leafs in competitive international football.
While Canada is scheduled to play in three friendlies ahead of the start of the 2022 FIFA World Cup against hosts Qatar, Uruguay, and Japan, they will begin the sports competition in the hardest possible way.
Canada to face Japan as part of final preparations for 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar™ 🍁— Canada Soccer (@CanadaSoccerEN) September 8, 2022
Both nations will play a friendly in Dubai on 17 November prior to their World Cup opening match less than a week later, with Canada set to face Belgium on 23 November in Group F.#WeCAN pic.twitter.com/qNZY35H7nv
The Maple Leafs will begin against Belgium in a game where nobody will be giving them a chance to get a result, especially if the likes of Eden Hazard, Romelu Lukaku, and Kevin De Bruyne are all on form in front of goal and get opportunities.
While some might expect Canada to try and see the game out by keeping things as tight and respectable as possible, they will then need to face Croatia just a few days later before finishing Group F against Morocco. To have any hope of qualifying, they are likely going to need to get a point from either one of the European nations before trying to take all three from the African country. However, that is a lot easier said than it is done.
Canada will be delighted to be a part of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar this winter, however you can guarantee that they will not want to be there just as a number. There is no denying that they will not put up a fight, either, but it is also impossible not to say that this will be a competition that will be extremely hard to navigate.