For the first time in 36 years, Canada will be competing at the FIFA World Cup, with hopes of bettering the performance that the competition remembers them by. In 1986, the Canadians failed to win a game, but this year, after an impressive run of form at the CONCACAF qualifiers, Canada’s football team looks to be a different beast. While that may be the case, they have been grouped with a handful of footballing nations with points to prove come opening match day.
Canada is competing in Group F, which is also comprised of Belgium, Morocco, and Croatia. Can Canada beat any of these teams? Or will “Le Rouges” see the same fate they saw back in 86’.
Can Canada beat Belgium?
In Canada’s opening match of the World Cup, they will be facing one of the most stacked lineups in world football. Belgium is home to some of the biggest footballing names in the world, including Kevin De Bruyne, Romelu Lukaku, and Eden Hazard (although it’s not certain that he will be featuring in this Belgian side).
The Belgians play very good football, that can be described as a mixture of physicality, and scintillating, sweeping attacking plays that can leave defences in tatters. So, how on earth does Canada have a chance against the favourites to win Group F?
What Canada can draw some hope from is the fact that the Belgians tend to not perform too well at international competitions. At the Euros in 2021, the Belgians underperformed significantly, and at the World Cup in 2018, France made light work of them when they were favourites to win the game.
The Belgian team is prone to choking in big competitions, and we might see them do so against Canada at the World Cup.
Can Canada beat Morocco?
The team Canada can arguably most likely beat is Morocco, but them doing that will in and of itself be a monumental task, as the Moroccans have some seriously talented players at their disposal. Morocco has the likes of Ashraf Hakimi, Hichem Ziyech, and a host of others that are plying their trades throughout Europe’s top leagues.
What’s more is that Morocco is in fine form heading into the World Cup, having lost just two of their twelve games in 2022. What the Canadians will be happy about, is the fact that one of these losses came at the hands of USMNT, and it was quite a sizeable scoreline, with Americans winning the encounter by three unanswered goals.
The edge the Moroccans do have over the Canadians is their recent experience in the FIFA World Cup. Morocco was present at the competition, and went on to draw with Spain, and narrowly lose to Portugal and Iran. Football fans will remember the North African team’s performances with joy, as they gave everything they had.
Can Canada beat Croatia?
Croatia is the evergreen dark horse at the FIFA World Cup, having gone all the way to the final back in 2018. While some may argue that the same players that featured in that squad carry the responsibility of doing their country proud again, some of them have only gone from strength to strength.
Croatia may be the country Canada struggle the most to beat at the World Cup. The Croatian national team play a brand of football that is hard to beat, with a set of players that produce a very low error rate, and an ability to convert chances.
The Croatians will be looking for redemption on their 2022 World Cup conquest, as for some of their star players, it’s likely that this competition will be their last. The likes of Luka Modrić, Ivan Perišić and Dušan Tadić are all in the twilight of their careers, and will be desperately looking to make up for their last World Cup run. What is clear, is that Canada will more than likely struggle against Croatia.
Canada is in a very challenging group at this year’s World Cup, and will do very well to go ahead and make it through to the round of 16 phase. Many football fans are merely happy to see the men in red back at the World Cup. Not too many fans however are expecting them to go on and do big things, but if their qualifying games are anything to go by, Canada could surprise some teams. Who will they win against, though, is up to the future to decide.