For the first time in nearly 40 years, and just the second time ever, Canada is headed to the World Cup! Yes, the nation watched with great delight as an unbelievable qualifying run catapulted the best generation of Canadian talent ever onto the biggest stage. While participation was all but assured in 2026 via co-hosting the next event, getting in on our own merits is even sweeter. But now, the actual games are approaching, the celebration is waning, and it’s time to take on a new challenge.
The story of Canada’s road to Qatar officially kicked off with the announcement of a revised qualification format for the CONCACAF continental division in July 2020. The task was simple, but still daunting for a team that’s not even gotten to the last stage of qualifying for several decades. They’d have to power through the minnows in Round 1, finish in Top 3 in Round 2 to join Mexico, the United States, Costa Rica, Jamaica, and Honduras, and then finish Top 3 in the final round of qualifiers to seal the deal. At this point, Canada was ranked seventh-highest on the continent, and 73rd in the world – enough to make the final round of qualifying seem possible, but not guaranteed.
Canada breezed through the first round in Spring 2021, going undefeated with a +26 goal differential in just four games. They then defeated Haiti by a two-leg score of 4-0 in the second round, bringing them to the Octagonal (formerly Hexagonal) round to decide which three teams were guaranteed to head to Qatar. Canada started on even pegging with a 1-1 tie with Honduras to kick off September, but really started to get people curious when they tied the United States just a few days later in Nashville, and picked up their first win against El Salvador to stay undefeated in the September bucket. A month later, in front of 61,000 fans in Estadio Azteca, they shocked the world by drawing with Mexico, and suddenly, things felt very real.
A draw against Jamaica, a win against Panama, and another win against Costa Rica kept the good vibes going, leaving Canada undefeated halfway through the stage. But the true tipping point moment came nearly a year ago to the day, when Canada hosted Mexico for their grudge match. Playing to the weather advantage, the Red and White chose to play the game in Edmonton, declaring Commonwealth Stadium the “Iceteca”. It worked – Canada beat the 11th-ranked squad by a score of 2-1. A two month break left us all unsure what to expect, but a win in Honduras and a 2-0 victory over the US in Hamilton put qualification within Canada’s sights late in January. They were unable to lock things up in the February window, and suffering their first defeat against Costa Rica in the first game of the March block caused a light bit of collar tugging, but a dominant 4-0 victory at BMO Field in Toronto against Jamaica put the clinch to their name, securing qualification. While Canada lost their victory lap game against Panama later in the week, it did not matter – they were in, and against all odds, Canada ended up winning the CONCACAF group!
Canada World Cup 2022 Roster
On November 13th, Canada announced their announced their 2022 World Cup roster, a 26-man group that hopes to defy the odds once again.
In goal, the team is led by Croatian-born, Winnipeg & Hamilton-raised Milan Borjan, to the surprise of no one. The 35-year-old has appeared 67 times for Canada since 2011 and while his club play has largely found him in Turkey, Bulgaria, and Serbia over the years, he always finds his way back home. Borjan went from legend to the diehards to an outright Canadian hero over the qualifying cycle, as his massive performances were key to several of their wins and points along the way. His trademark sweatpants helped with the cult following too, of course. With Los Angeles FC’s Maxime Crepeau injured, his backups will be Dayne St. Clair and James Pantemis.
Covering the back lines, Canadian MLS fans will see a lot of familiar faces, especially if you’re a supporter of CF Montreal, who send over Alistair Johnston, Kamal Miller, and Joel Waterman. Toronto FC’s Richie Laryea, a rapidly improving fullback with the ability to press up the field, will join them too. Of the non-MLS defenders, Sam Adekugbe is probably the most well-known, in large part for his excellent performance against the United States, and his legendary meditation goal celebration on the dagger goal that day, but he’s also a very solid all-around player who brings 40 games of experience with the national program. Derek Cornelius and longtime veteran Steven Vitoria round out the back line.
In midfield, you start to really see some bigger names. Most obviously, TFC and CF Montreal feature heavily again here, with the former sending over Mark-Anthony Kaye and club legend Jonathan Osorio, while the latter send over Ismael Kone and Samuel Piette. Former TFC prospect Liam Fraser also joins the group, as does David Wootherspoon. The two most important names, though, are Stephen Eustaquio and Atiba Hutchinson.
Eustaquio, born just outside of Windsor, Ontario, can often be the heartbeat of the Canadian operation. That wasn’t always a guarantee, as he flirted with playing for Portugal as a U21 player. Nevertheless, he committed to his home in February 2019, and he quickly showed Canadians his patient, methodical thinking that had helped him develop in the pros in Portugal and Mexico. This has been an incredible year for Eustaquio, who was not just one of Canada’s best players in qualifying, but with Porto, made noise in the Champions League. While he was initially just supposed to be a loan option, the legendary Portuguese club loved him so much that they committed to buy the 25-year-old and signed him to a five-year contract.
Hutchinson is at a different stage of his career, and it wouldn’t even surprise many if he hung up his cleats in the near future. The Brampton native turns 40 in February, and after putting in the work at the professional level in four different countries, and playing more senior games than any men’s player in Canadian history, he’ll finally get the chance at playing on the biggest stage that he has rightfully earned. A lot of what’s happened with the program today doesn’t happen without players like Hutchinson committing to it, and makes qualifying a cycle earlier than expected all the more worthwhile. That said, this isn’t a sympathy call-up – the grizzled vet is still skilled on both sides of the ball and can be expected to be impactful.
Lastly, we’ve got the forwards, and this is where you start to see the real firepower. A few years ago, if you saw the likes of Junior Hoilett, Liam Millar, and Ike Ugbo atop the Canadian lineup, you’d likely feel pretty okay with things. But in New Canada, as coach John Herdman likes to call the group, they’re likely just bench support. Lucas Cavallini, striker for the Vancouver Whitecaps, also remains likely to stay in the substitution tier. This leaves us with four men who round out the roster in a big, big way.
Tajon Buchanan is a player due for a breakout in a big way, and that might come in this tournament. The 23-year-old winger is fast and fearless, and can play up front or in the mid-field. After two years with MLS’ New England Revolution, Buchanan signed with Club Brugge in Belgium, and made his commitment to the Canadian program at around the same time. After just four caps with the U23 team, he graduated to the senior group, breaking through in the 2021 Gold Cup.
Next up, we have Cyle Larin. Also born in Brampton (which, if you haven’t figured it out yet, is a soccer development hub of sorts for the Men’s and Women’s programs), Larin was once seen as the saviour of Canada’s program, someone who would give the country relevance on the world stage. He was nicknamed “Maple Messi”, had a successful NCAA career, was drafted first overall in the 2015 MLS Superdraft, and broke the league record for most goals as a rookie shortly after. Larin was sold to Turkish club Besiktas in 2018 and spent four years there, until moving on to play with Buchanan at Club Brugge. Larin’s relationship with the hype is complicated – at 27 years old he hasn’t quite hit the peaks that many hoped to see out of him, but he’s still managed to carve out a very legitimate career in Europe, and eight years on, he’s now Canada’s all time men’s goal leader at the senior level, with 13 of those 25 goals coming during the qualifying run.
Not to mention, he’s no longer needed to be the saviour of Canadian soccer, but just a premium compliment. Depth, as mentioned above, has gotten a lot better, with more top players willing to commit to the program than ever. But just as importantly, Canada now has not one, but two players who have developed beyond our wildest dreams.
Firstly, we have Canada’s strike of the future, and really, of the present, in Jonathan David. The 22-year-old was born in Brooklyn, moved to Haiti shortly after, but made Canada his permanent home at the age of six, living in Ottawa. While the young star’s club dreams were always focused on Europe, starting with Belgium’s KAA Gent and leading to French Ligue 1’s Lille, he began going to Canada Soccer camps when he was as young as 14 and joined the men’s team for the first time at just 18 years old. Despite playing 34 national caps to Larin’s 54, he’s already just three goals away from catching up to the latter for the all-time lead. David is incredibly dynamic, able to play as an attacking mid, secondary striker, and primary striker, and will be key to any success Canada has in this tournament.
Lastly, of course, we have the big man, Alphonso Davies. Simply put, Davies is the most talented men’s player that has ever worn the Canada kit, and might be remembered as the single most important player in the program’s history when all is said and done – not just for his skill, not just for his results, but for the fact he’s made playing for the Canadian men’s program into a privledge and a dream for young talent, and not just a fallback. Davies is the tipping point player that Canadian soccer fans said that the program needed for generations, the one who wouldn’t look elsewhere and would instead wave the flag high.
Born in a Ghanan refugee camp, Davies and his family moved to Edmonton at five years old. Beginning in low-income after-school soccer programs in town, word of his talent made it around the city, and he soon found his way into the upper echelon’s of regional programs. By age 14, he was signed into the Vancouver Whitecaps’ residency program. By age 15, he played his first pro game for the Whitecaps’ second team in the USL. Before his 16th birthday, he was in MLS with goals to his name. In July 2018 – still before his 18th birthday – Davies signed with Bundesliga superclub Bayern Munich, setting an MLS record for the most expensive outward sale. The $22 million spent ended up being a bargain for Bayern, as he quickly became a first team talent. Now 22, Davies is one of the top left-backs in the world, winning trophies left and right, including a Champions League. Transfermarkt now ranks Davies just outside the 30 most valuable players in the world if Bayern were to move him, and ESPN has him ranked as the 26th-best player participating in the World Cup. His ability to play practically any position, particularly on the left side, makes him one of the most versatile players in the world today, and it’s truly remarkable to think that he’s Canada’s own, and will be for years to come.
Canada Soccer 2022 World Cup Schedule
November 20th is getting closer and closer, which means that the kickoff in Qatar is near! Canada comes in hot following a win over Japan in their last pre-tournament friendly (or exhibition game, for casual fans).
After that, the games begin for real on November 23rd, when Canada takes on Belgium at 2:00 PM Eastern Time. This means the team will start their modern World Cup experience with perhaps it’s biggest challenge in history, taking on the second-best team in the world according to FIFA’s current rankings. The difficulty gets lowered a little bit on November 27th at 11:00 AM Eastern Time, when Canada takes on Croatia. This is still far from a gimme, as Croatia ranks 12th, around the same tier as Mexico. But if Canada can beat the latter, they can certainly give the former a run for their money. This is a fun one given Croatia’s ties to the growth of the game in Canada, particularly Toronto, in the 1960s and 1970s.
Canada’s final game in the group stage will come against a country who ranks a little closer to them in Morocco. That game will be on December 1st at 10:00 AM Eastern Time – make sure those coffees are ready! Morocco ranks 22nd in the FIFA world rankings. Given that Canada’s rise up the charts still only brings them to 41st, they’ve got some tough sledding ahead of them.
Canada 2022 World Cup Futures Odds
A lot of people are wondering how much damage this team can possibly do. After all, if they can beat the odds of qualification, can they beat the odds within the tournament? And most relevant to us, can they beat the 2022 World Cup betting odds on the Canadian market?
Well, most of the books are pretty bearish about Canada’s success, tending to have them at +20000 to win it all, or about 200 to 1 odds. Okay, but what about getting beyond the group stage? Bet365 is among many sites to have their options for winning their group, advancing to knockouts, and not getting further already out for every country. Canada doesn’t have the absolute worst odds to win in any group, but they do have the longest odds in Group F – which, based on the FIFA Rankings, is fair enough. At time of publish, they sit at +1200 to win the group, with Belgium the shortest at -163. To qualify, which requires a Top-2 performance, they sit at +300, which is still the longest in Group F, but is short enough to indicate the books see a possibility. Canada sits at -450 to not advance at all, which means you’d have to bet $450 to get $100 in additional winnings back.
So we’ve asserted that Canada is going to be an extreme longshot to win the whole thing, and a decent enough underdog to win their group or advance at all that it might turn some people off, unless they’re true believers in New Canada’s rise. The single game bets may be lead to a bit more creativity, with the usual props available – standard outright wins, goal lines, first scorer, score at half time – anyone who’s bet soccer before knows the trill here, and honestly, if your focus is on other sports, you’ll still probably be pretty familiar with how game-by-game props work. But even that might not satisfy everyone.
The good news here is that the books have caught World Cup Fever here in Canada too, and they’re bringing the heat. For example, BetMGM‘s soccer page will quickly bring you dedicated World Cup Futures for Canada, such as their top goal scorer (“no goal scorer” and “own goal” ranking 4th and 6th-shortest respectively is admittedly hilarious, as are multiple starters trailing behind “any goalkeeper”). You can also bet on when they’ll get eliminated (with the shortest odds being at the group stage), and who will win and/or qualify in Group F.
Over at Sports Interaction, you’ll find that they also have an insanely detailed, Canada specific prop corner, and theirs gets even more creative. Some of my favourites include “any player cries during the National Anthem” for the first game, Alphonso Davies’ fastest run speed in the tournament (the line is set at 35.5 kilometres per hour), whether or not Canada will have a goal disallowed by Video Replay (“no” the heavy favourite), and what appendage is used to score Canada’s first goal (right foot, left foot, header, or opposing own goal – right foot is the favourite).
Other books are also running all sorts of props – traditional and quirky – and I’d suggest shopping around and seeing what’s right for you. At the very least, there’s a lot of fun out options there!
Did Canada’s men’s team qualify for the World Cup? Did Canada clinch a World Cup spot? When did Canada qualify for the World Cup 2022?
We know – months on, it’s still hard to believe, but Canada is on the big stage! After an incredible qualifying cycle where they finished atop the CONCACAF continental table, Canada secured a berth in the Qatar World Cup 2022 with a win over Jamaica on March 27th, 2022.
What are Canada’s chances in 2022 World Cup?
Despite the amazing momentum Canada has shown on the road to this tournament, they remain heavy underdogs in this tournament. While they don’t have the absolute longest odds of the 32 participating nations (those belong to Costa Rica and Saudi Arabia), most markets have them at +20000, meaning that one would have to bet just 50 cents to win $100 if they shock the world. Needless to say, the books don’t believe in them very much.
Is Canada good at soccer? Where does Canada rank in soccer? What is Canada ranked in FIFA? How good is the Canadian men’s soccer team?
For years, you could only say yes to this question if you were a supporter of the Women’s team, who have been in the Top 10 mix for the past couple of cycles and recently brought home Gold at the Olympics. In the last decade or so, though, the men have gradually caught up, thanks in no small part to former Women’s National Team coach John Herdman taking the reins with the boys. Canada’s mens team entered the 2022 qualifying cycle ranked 73rd in the world, and now sit 41st going into the tournament. This is a number we can expect to rise over time, as Canada’s star players remain in their early-mid 20’s and the team becomes a more attractive destination than ever.
How much money does a Canadian soccer player make?
Generally, money earned at the World Cup is a stipend of sorts for the players. Their income largely comes from club play. A large part of Canada’s depth comes from Major League Soccer, and those players tend to make about $100,000 to $400,000 USD a year, with Ismael Kone being the low-end outlier on his first contract making about $62,000, and Jonathan Osorio being at the high end at $1,000,000. For the European players, finding salaries is much more difficult on a player by player basis, though we can assume Alphonso Davies (at about $5.2 million USD per year currently in base salary) and Jonathan David ($2.6 million) rank the highest, with potential for much more as they hit their primes.
Has Canada gone to the FIFA World Cup?
Much like the “is Canada good at soccer” question, fans of the Women’s national team will remind you that they’ve qualified for eight a possible nine World Cups, only missing the first one in 1991. The Men’s team hasn’t had quite had the same success, with 2022 being just their second qualification in 22 attempts. Their last appearance was in 1986 – a qualification slightly aided by the fact that Mexico had a bye as the tournament’s hosts. Despite qualification, Canada lost all three games of the group stage, conceding five goals and scoring none. They’ll be looking for their first ever on the golden stage in Qatar, adding to the fun!
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