Canada—World Cup 2022 profile—27

Canada's Tajon Buchanan
Canada's Tajon Buchanan

Today, with Canada, we continue to provide, in reverse alphabetical order, the profiles of the 32 teams which qualified for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

In Brief 

The Canucks are participating in their second World Cup ever, the last time being in 1986 in Mexico. They left that tournament at the Group Stage, having been paired with Hungary, a strong Soviet Union, and France, the latter two progressing. But the Canadians are much improved this time around, are motivated to show well, and in particular, want to make the statement that the upcoming (2026) hosts are worthy World Cup participants. One bright spot is Bayern Munich defender Alphonso Davies who many believed was the outstanding player of both the 2021 CONCACAF Gold Cup and the World Cup Qualifiers despite missing games to injury.

Placed in Group F with Belgium, Croatia, and Morocco, the Canucks have their work cut out for them. The Europeans are among the elite teams in the world and the Africans (with thirteen of their squad playing in the top five European leagues) are a step below Egypt and Senegal in their continental pecking order. Expect the Canadians to be disciplined and spirited but ultimately unsuccessful in progressing from their group. Canada’s home kit is all red and their two away kits are all white and all black.

Canada (CONCACAF)

Squad (which may change before the cup given injuries, form, and coaching choices—teams mentioned are subject to change given transfers): Goalkeepers—Dayne St. Clair (Minnesota United), Maxime Crepeau (Los Angeles), and Milan Borjan (Red Star Belgrade); Defenders— Alistair Johnston (Montreal), Alphonso Davies (Bayern Munich), Sam Adekugbe (Hatayspor), Kamal Miller (Montreal), Derek Cornelius (Panetolikos), Richie Laryea (Toronto FC), Scott Kennedy (Jahn Regensburg), Joel Waterman (Montreal), and Steven Vitoria (Chaves); Midfielders—Samuel Piette (Montreal), Ismael Kone (Montreal), Stephen Eustaquio (Porto), Mark-Anthony Kaye (Toronto FC), and Jonathan Osorio (Toronto FC); Strikers—FW: Lucas Cavallini (Vancouver Whitecaps), Junior Hoilett (Reading), Tajon Buchanan (Club Brugge), Theo Corbeanu (Blackpool), Charles-Andreas Brym (FC Eindhoven), Ike Ugbo (Troyes), Luca Koleosho (Espanyol), Cyle Larin (Club Brugge), Liam Millar (Basel) and Jonathan David (Lille).

Path to Qatar

Canada topped an easy First Round CONCACAF qualifier winning all of their games and amassing a +26-goal differential in outclassing Suriname, Bermuda, Aruba, and the Cayman Islands. In the Octagonal Playoffs, they came in first, qualifying directly to Qatar with 28 points, tied with Mexico, but with a +7-goal better differential.

Tactics

Canadian coach, John Herdman, has used several formations throughout his four-year tenure including the recent qualification rounds but likes to use a 4-4-2 to maintain a compact defense against better opposition while exploiting his wingmen who are speedy and technical. Most concerning for the team, though, is their lack of success in recent preparatory competition, such as their 1-2 loss to Honduras over the summer and their 0-2 loss to Uruguay. Their potential pecking order prospects and envisioned hopes may be tied to the result of their last friendly against Japan on November 17.

Top Players

Aside from Davies, Canada boasts a slew of offensive players such as Cyle Larin, Jonathan David, Ike Ugbo, and Tajon Buchanan. But it will be their defense as much as anything that will determine their standing when the dust settles.

Group and Tourney Prospects

The Canadians are hoping for an upset against one of their European opponents and a potential win over Morocco. The Canucks 2-0 win over Qatar in late September was a bright spot and has given them hope the Africans will be similarly susceptible. But the bottom line is that Belgium and Croatia are too strong a duo and should be the ones progressing from Group F.

 

Photo: Canada’s Tajon Buchanan, Shutterstock Photo ID: 1843026061, by lev radin

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