Canada in the FIFA World Cup 2022: Full Squad Details & More

Morocco vs Canada: Morocco to Win

We don't know if it was meant to be or not, but both Canada and Morocco's best performances in past World Cup tournaments were back during the 1986 World Cup hosted by Mexico. Canada only managed to get to the group stage back then and didn't win any of their matches, while Morocco not only passed through the group stage, but they didn't lose any of their three qualifying games even though they went up against England, Poland, and Portugal. In the next round, though Morocco lost to West Germany, so they dropped out of the tournament. That was still their best World Cup to date, but could they improve their record this year in Qatar?

Canada and Morocco have played together only once before and that match ended with a clean sheet for Morocco and a four-goal difference. We don't think that the upcoming game between them will be any different considering that Canada lost both of their group games, for now, while Morocco didn't lose even one of their group matches, so far. If Morocco wins, they will be having their best group stage performance in history, but if they draw, we will have to see if they can beat their record in the next round or if they will lose in the first game.

 

We're counting the days before FIFA World Cup 2022 officially kicks off in Qatar. The biggest tournament in the world will start on November 21st and feature 32 national teams. Canada men's national soccer team will be one of the participants for the second time in its history and the first time since the 1986 World Cup in Mexico.

Canada world cup

Canada World Cup appearance in 1986 was a disaster after the team lost all three games in the group stage and failed to score a single goal. But this time around, the Canadian national team seems poised to make a splash after a strong qualifying campaign that saw them finish first in the CONCACAF region ahead of Mexico and the United States.

Below, we'll take a look at everything that you need to know when it comes to Canada's upcoming appearance at the FIFA World Cup 2022. This will include the roster breakdown, the team's qualification path, expected performance in the group stage, and much more. So let's get started.

Canada World Cup 2022: Roster Prediction

In June, FIFA officially confirmed that the participants at this year's World Cup would be allowed to take 26 players to the tournament compared to the previous limit of 23 players. This means that Canada's head coach John Herdman will have more options in constructing the team and might opt to include some wild cards in the final selection.

We'll have to wait a while before learning Canada's entire squad for the FIFA World Cup 2022, but thanks to recent CONCACAF Nations League A games, we have a pretty good idea of how the team might look.

Players Expected to Make Canada World Cup Roster

There shouldn't be many surprises or changes compared to the 24 players that Herdman called up for June games against Panama, Curacao, and Honduras. This was the squad at his disposal:

GOALKEEPERS: Milan Borjan (Red Star Belgrade), Dayne St. Clair (Minnesota United FC) and Maxime Crepeau (LAFC)

DEFENDERS: Samuel Adekugbe (Hatayspor FC), Doneil Henry (LAFC), Alistair Johnston (CF Montreal), Scott Kennedy (SSV Jahn Regensburg), Richie Laryea (Nottingham Forest FC), Kamal Miller (CF Montréal), and Steven Vitoria (Moreirense FC)

MIDFIELDERS: Raheem Edwards (LA Galaxy), Stephen Eustaquio (FC Porto), Atiba Hutchinson (Besiktas JK), Mark-Anthony Kaye (Colorado Rapids), Samuel Piette (CF Montreal)

FORWARDS: Charles-Andreas Brym (FC Eindhoven) Tajon Buchanan (Club Brugge KV), Lucas Cavallini (Vancouver Whitecaps FC), Jonathan David (Lille OSC), Alphonso Davies (FC Bayern München), Junior Hoilett (Reading FC), Luca Koleosho (RCD Espanyol), Cyle Larin (Besiktas JK), Ike Ugbo (ES Troyes AC).

Herdman will bring most of these players to Qatar, predicting they are all healthy. This will mean there will be two spots left for grabs, and that is where things get interesting.

Canada world cup

Players Who Are Hopeful of Making the Canada World Cup Roster

Canada will have to face Belgium and Croatia in Group F World Cup, so it would make sense to enter those games with a defensive approach. This is why having an extra defender might get useful and expect Derek Cornelius of Panetolikos to get an extended look. Cornelius has been putting up good performances in Greece and already has 14 appearances for the national side.

When it comes to midfield, Jonathan Osorio has to be a lock if he's healthy. It is hard to see Herdman not picking the Toronto FC star considering his leadership and the fact he can play such an integral role in midfield. Osorio is close to recovering in full, and, if there are no setbacks, should be on the flight for Qatar. Other midfielders that could also get consideration are Liam Fraser (KMSK Deinze) and Ismael Kone (CF Montreal).

The forward group seems well-stocked, so there is not an obvious candidate to get in. Most likely, there will be some subtractions made in the attacking area, with Charles-Andreas Brym possibly being the odd-man out.

Canada's Roster for the FIFA World Cup 2022: Expected Starting 11

Predicting Canada's starting 11 for the FIFA World Cup 2022 is a bit tricky. While old merits will certainly carry a lot of weight, Herdman will most likely combine that criterion with the form of the players. And with more than three months left before the start of the tournament, everything is possible. However, considering everything, this is what the starting 11 might be for the opener against Belgium on November 23rd in a 4-4-2 formation.

Goalkeeper: Milan Borjan

Defence: Samuel Adekugbe, Kamal Miller, Steven Vitoria, Alistair Johnston

Midfield: Atiba Hutchinson, Jonathan Osorio, Alphonso Davies, Stephen Eustaquio

Attack: Jonathan David, Cyle Larin

Key Players for Canada World Cup Campaign

Let's now take a look at the key players that are expected to make the biggest impact on Canada at the FIFA World Cup 2022.

Milan Borjan – 65 Caps

The veteran is expected to have quite a lot of work considering the firepower of Canada's opponents at the World Cup. However, Borjan is capable of responding to the task as he still remains a reliable shot-stopper who can change the tempo of the game with his saves. And let us not forget his leadership that proved crucial for the resurgence of Canada's national team in recent years.

Canada world cup

Atiba Hutchinson – 97 Caps

Despite the fact he'll turn 40 in February, Atiba Hutchinson remains the heart and soul of Canada's national team. He is the captain, the most-capped player in Canada's history, and someone who is capable of setting up a goal-scoring opportunity for his team and destroying one for the opponent. Considering he's still a starter for Besiktas even at his age, there is no doubt that Hutchinson will be a starter and show up big in Qatar.

Alphonso Davies – 32 Caps, 12 Goals

Alphonso Davies is the undoubted face of the Canada men's national soccer team and its best player. Davies will only be 22 once the World Cup starts, but he's already one of the best left-backs in the world when playing for Bayern. For Canada, Davies plays anywhere on the left side and is equally great. Whether it's defending, passing, crossing, or putting the ball into the net, Davies can do it all. He already has 12 international goals on his resume, so don't be surprised if he scores a few in Qatar as well.

Jonathan David – 32 Caps, 21 Goals

However, Canada's real goal-scoring threat should be Jonathan David. Lille's forward is highly rated in Europe, and it is only a matter of time before one of the big clubs snaps him up. The 22-year-old is able to find gaps in defence with impressive ability, and his finishing is second to none. His speed allows him to get away from defenders while making him a world-class counterattacking weapon. Also, his vision and passing, as well as his willingness to do defensive work, should come in handy at the tournament.

Canada World Cup Qualifiers Performance

Canada World Cup qualifiers performance should make the Canadian fans optimistic about the country's chances in Qatar. Let's take a look back at Canada World Cup qualifiers journey.

First Round

The first round of CONCACAF World Cup Qualifiers saw Canada drawn into Group B with Suriname, Bermuda, Aruba, and the Cayman Islands. Taking advantage of the weaker opponents, Canada men's national soccer team blazed through the group. The Canadians won all four matches, including an 11-0 rout of Cayman Islands, and finished with a +26 goal difference.

Second Round of Qualifiers

In the second round, Canada faced Haiti for a chance to advance to the third round. Canada won both matches to win the matchup with 4-0 on aggregate.

Third Round of Qualifiers

Despite conceding only one goal and scoring 31 in the first two rounds, many were sceptical about Canada's success due to the quality of their opponents. But Canadians went on to show that their dominance wasn't because they were not challenged properly.

The third round of Canada World Cup qualifiers started with consecutive draws against Honduras and United States before the team thrashed El Salvador 3-0 at home. It became obvious that the Canadian national team was for real on Matchday 4 when they went to Mexico and played for a draw.

Canada would later go on to beat Mexico 2-1 on Matchday 8 before also easily dealing with the U.S. on Matchday 10 by claiming a 2-0 win. At this point, it became clear that Canada was well on its way to World Cup 2022.

Towards the end of the qualifiers, Canadians got a bit too relaxed and suffered losses to Jamaica and Panama. However, at this point, the team already had a World Cup spot in hand and probably didn't try as hard as they would if there was something to play on the line.

Canada finished at the top of the standings with eight wins, 28 points, and a goal difference of +16.

Group F World Cup Draw

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Ahead of the draw for FIFA World Cup 2022 Group Stage, Canada was placed in Pot 4 based on the fact that it was no. 38 at the FIFA World Rankings at the time. During the draw, it landed in Group F World Cup alongside Spain from Pot 1, Germany from Pot 2, and Morocco from Pot 4.

Canada plays its first match on November 23rd against Belgium, followed by November 27th clash against Croatia and December 1st matchup versus Morocco.

Canada World Cup: Expected Performance

Understandably, fans would like to see Canada lifting the World Cup trophy and becoming the first CONCACAF nation to do so. While possible, the Canada World Cup odds for that are highly unlikely. But that doesn't mean that the Canada World Cup journey can't make some waves in Qatar.

How Will Canada Perform at the 2022 World Cup

Considering Canada's mix of proven veterans and young talented stars, the team has something to hope for at the 2022 World Cup. Being pitted against Belgium, Croatia, and Morocco in Group F World Cup probably don't look fun, but it isn't outrageous to think that Canada can get to the knockout stage.

Belgium has one of the most talented teams in soccer in recent years, so they are absolute favourites to take first place. However, Croatia and Morocco are the teams with whom Canada can certainly compete.

While coming to Qatar as the runner-up from the 2018 World Cup, Croatia is a lot different team than it was back then. Its ageing core has certainly lost a step, and the dominant qualifying campaign was partially due to a lack of competition. Morocco, on the other hand, is coming off a disappointing performance at the African Cup of Nations. The Moroccans are also dealing with several internal issues, which should affect their performance on the pitch.

With all of that being said, making the Round of 16 should be Canada's realistic reach. They will most likely compete with Croatia for the second spot and should edge them out with the right approach and a bit of luck.

However, the first knockout stage will likely mark the end of the Canada World Cup 2022 journey. The runner-up in Group F will go up against the winner of Group E, where Spain and Germany are considered candidates for the top spot. If pitted against either of these nations, Canada will likely be overmatched and without any real shot of making it through.

Canada's Performance in Group F: Breakdown

We already know that Canada has been handed a tough Group F in Qatar that features nations with a lot more World Cup experience. They will meet Belgium, which made Quarter-finals in 2014 and finished third in 2018. Croatia finished third in 1998 and second in 2018. Finally, Morocco made four World Cup appearances and reached the Round of 16 in 1986.

Let's take a look at how each of Canada's matches against these teams will go.

Canada vs. Belgium at the FIFA World Cup 2022

Canada world cup

It would be nice for Canada to make a bold statement against one of the favourites at the tournament, but that is more of a fantasy than a reality. The expectations here are that Canada will fight bravely but will be happy if it's only a one-goal defeat. The most likely scenario is that Belgium is dominant throughout the match and packs Birjan's net with several goals.

Belgium's biggest strength is the abundance of stars that head coach Roberto Martinez has at its disposal. Belgium has a star in almost every position and then one waiting to get its chance on the bench. The midfield consisting of Manchester City's star Kevin De Bruyne and Leicester City's Youri Tielemans can do wonders with the ball, while the attacking capabilities of Romelu Lukaku and Dries Mertens shouldn't be disregarded. And let us not forget that Belgium also has Thibaut Courtois, one of the world's best goalies, between the posts.

When it comes to weaknesses, it is clear that Belgium doesn't have much of those. However, the one that could hurt them the most is their shaky defence. Martinez still relies on veterans like Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld, which are on the back-end of their careers. The alternatives haven't been convincing, so the team's approach will most likely be to outscore the opponents and believe Courtois can stop shots that come his way.

Past Matches: 0-2 win for Belgium at an International Friendly in 1986.

Canada vs. Croatia at the FIFA World Cup 2022

Canada world cup

Canada's second match at the FIFA World Cup 2022 will come against Croatia and should be their most important one. If Canada manages to get at least a draw here, then that will go a long way in securing a knockout stage ticket. This is also the most realistic result in what should be a low-scoring game.

Just like Belgium, the strength of Croatia is in their midfield. The trio of Luka Modric, Mateo Kovacic, and Marcelo Brozovic is capable of taking control of the game for extended periods and dictating the tempo in their team's favour. Their defence is also formidable, with the mix of youth and veteran leadership proving to be quite efficient in stopping the opponent's attacks.

Croatia's obvious weakness is the age of its key players. Modric will be 37 when the tournament kicks off, Brozovic will turn 30, and Ivan Perisic is 33. The team is currently in a transition phase, and it is unclear whether the young players can step in right away.

Past Matches: Canada and Croatia never played against each other before.

Canada vs. Morocco at the FIFA World Cup 2022

Canada world cup

Canada is expected to deal easily with Morocco. The African team is not only weaker on paper but also coming to Qatar with lots of issues. Anything else besides a convincing Canada World Cup win should be a disappointment.

Morocco's strength is in its collective spirit. They don't have a player that obviously stands out and are used to putting the team ahead of individual statistics. Also, they are well equipped and efficient when it comes to set pieces.

It is almost certain that the team's best player Hakim Ziyech won't return to the squad due to conflict with head coach Vahid Halilhodzic, which immediately lowers their chances of playing well. Also, the team's defence is questionable at best and will most likely struggle to contain speedsters like Davies and David.

Past Matches: 3-2 win for Morocco in 1984, 1-1 draw in 1994, and 4-0 win for Morocco in 2016.