Factfile on Canada, who are in World Cup Group F:
Best World Cup performance: First round in only previous appearance in 1986.
Other honours: CONCACAF Championship/Gold Cup winners in 1985, 2000.
FIFA ranking: 41.
How they qualified: Canada finished first in the CONCACAF zone final qualifying standings.
Coach: John Herdman. The 47-year-old Englishman has taken an unconventional route to the World Cup after starting his coaching career while working as a part-time university lecturer. After working with Sunderland’s youth academy he moved to New Zealand in 2003, and took over as head coach of the New Zealand women’s team in 2006. That led to a move to Canada where he guided Canada’s women to bronze medals at the 2021 and 2016 Olympics. Herdman was subsequently installed as the coach of Canada’s men’s teams in 2018, with the mission to qualify the team for the World Cup for the first time since their lone appearance at the 1986 finals.
Key player: Alphonso Davies. Canada have forged a close-knit men’s squad based on hard work, discipline and a clear tactical framework. Yet Bayern Munich’s Davies is one of the few players capable of providing an X-factor for the Canadians. Comfortable playing as a full-back or winger, Davies offers blinding speed on the counter-attack as well as a proven ability on the biggest stages. He was a key member of the Bayern team which lifted the 2020 UEFA Champions League and also played a key role during Canada’s successful qualifying campaign.
Expectations and key players according to Benedict Rhodes (Canadian Premier League):
“There aren’t too many expectations for Canada at the Qatar 2022 World Cup, but one thing is certain, as it was during qualification: Canada will fear nobody, and they will do anything they can to rise to the occasion. Few expected them to qualify at all, but victories over longtime CONCACAF giants Mexico and the United States would come, and the team would capture the hearts of the country throughout their incredible qualification journey. Canada will be in tough, in a group with Belgium, Croatia and Morocco, but with the pace and technical ability that Canada possesses, they have the ability to challenge any opponent.”
“Alphonso Davies is the name people will recognize, but keep an eye out for Lille striker Jonathan David, and rising star Stephen Eustáquio, a midfielder who plays for Porto.”
November 23: Belgium v Canada.
November 27: Croatia v Canada.
December 1: Canada v Morocco.
Goalkeepers: James Pantemis, Milan Borjan, Dayne St Clair.
Defenders: Samuel Adekugbe, Joel Waterman, Alistair Johnston, Richie Laryea, Kamal Miller, Steven Vitoria, Derek Cornelius.
Midfielders: Liam Fraser, Ismael Kone, Mark-Anthony Kaye, David Wotherspoon, Jonathan Osorio, Atiba Hutchinson, Stephen Eustaquio, Samuel Piette.
Forwards: Tajon Buchanan, Liam Millar, Lucas Cavallini, Ike Ugbo, Junior Hoilett, Jonathan David, Cyle Larin, Alphonso Davies.
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