At Its Second-Ever World Cup, Canada Is Here To Stay

It’s almost time for the 2022 World Cup. To help you prepare, we’ll provide you with valuable information about each team in the tournament. You can read all of our World Cup previews here.


There are several ways to illustrate how remarkable it is that Canada is finally back in the World Cup, with momentum: The last time Canada competed in the World Cup, Pierre Trudeau was just to cease to be prime minister. Now, in 2022, Pierre Trudeau’s son, Justin, has been prime minister for seven years; Canada are tied for the fewest World Cup goals of any nation in the tournament, and that includes the hosts, who have never played in a World Cup before; Canada hadn’t even made it to the last CONCACAF qualifying round since 1998 (they finished last) until they won it last year, making it their second World Cup and their first since 1986. Whatever they do in Qatar, they are bound to make history, as they lost all three games in 1986 without even scoring a goal.

Canada is in the midst of a real soccer explosion. Their Main Guy and Main Scoring Guy are both stars for Champions League clubs, and the rest of the roster is full of cool young guys. If that sounds a lot like the trajectory of the USMNT, well, it should. Both teams have benefited greatly from the development by their MLS clubs of true academies, just as both have benefited from their countries’ geopolitical positions. Canada are in a very tough group this time around, with the 2018 World Cup second and third place finishers in their group, along with Morocco. They are probably not expected to escape, although they are built to surprise. They’re scrappy, they’re fearless, and they’ve got some high-level gamebreakers. I also have to point out here that they will be fun win or lose.

Who is their main guy?

Canada’s main man is Alphonso Davies, who at Bayern Munich has become one of the best left-backs in the world. Davies is in the Zinchenkian mold of players who play a more forward or central position for their relatively average national team than for their prestigious clubs. Although Canada uses him in midfield and in attack, where he began his career with the Vancouver Whitecaps, Bayern have the luxury of keeping Davies along their backline, using his world-class speed to extinguish and light fires. It worked hugely for the Germans as he is perhaps the most physically gifted full-back in the world. He’s good at everything – as a former winger, Davies is a spectacular dribbler – and he’s also an extremely cool and fun guy. My favorite Davies highlights are his recoveries, when a striker thinks he has the space to do something with the ball, only for Davies to appear out of nowhere to get his ass kicked.

Davies is also easy to root. He was born to Liberian refugee parents in a camp in Ghana and moved to Edmonton when he was five years old. He joined the Vancouver academy a decade later, progressing quickly to the first team and then to Bayern. At 20, he had started and won a Champions League final, completing an incredible journey. That journey continues with Canada’s first-ever World Cup, which is hosted by a country with a horrific record of migrant labor abuse. Davies’ life story is obviously not the same as that of the Bengali, Filipino and Nepalese workers who died building stadiums in Doha, although that certainly rhymes. That would reign pretty strong if he were to have a big time at this particular tournament.

Who is their main marker?

For a guy who has spent most of his career playing in every position except striker, Johnathan David has a pretty incredible goalscoring record. David is the type of player every team in the world could use one or two. His best position is as a Griezmann-style second striker/playmaker hybrid, although he has put in excellent performances for Canada, Lille and Ghent as a winger, striker and No.10. As a USMNT fan, watching David play in the same attack as his Lille teammate Tim Weah can be a brutal experience at times, as the disparity in talent between the two shows up every time. David is a bad, bad man.

The figures speak for themselves: 22 goals in 34 games for Canada and 37 in 89 for Lille (with three goals in Europe in addition). Lille bought him ahead of the 2020-21 season, played him in all but one game and won the league against PSG. He would be James Rodríguez’s candidate for this team if it weren’t so obvious: he’s going to go far soon, and he won’t need a great World Cup performance to get there. Like Davies, David’s trip to Canada was hijacked. He was actually born in Brooklyn (like Weah, who coincidentally is also Liberian-North American, although his father is the president and Davies was a refugee, so there are some pretty huge differences there), then moved to Haiti before moving to Canada. He reigns! Canada has too many cool guys!

Where’s the beef?

What teams or players does Canada dislike? Do Canada’s players like each other? We investigate their potential enemies.

Canada hosted the USMNT on January 30 in Hamilton, Ont., and featured its decisive game of the entire World Cup qualifying campaign. In unforgiving and bitterly cold conditions, the Canadians withstood a furious American attack, withstood every advance, counter-attacked with bravery and panache and won 2-0, securing World Cup qualification and winning their two games against their southern neighbors by 4-0. That’s a huge statement. Canada is America’s shadow in many ways, and to bring their young killers home and away was a strong announcement of intentions. It will be a sick rivalry for years to come, I hope.

Most likely to go David Ospina or James Rodríguez mode

Who is Canada’s top candidate for a standout performance that earns him a career-changing transfer? Could this potential post-tournament transfer go down well, like when Colombian James Rodríguez went to Real Madrid after playing in the 2014 World Cup? Or could it go wrong, like when Colombian David Ospina went to Arsenal after playing in the 2014 World Cup?

There are a lot of quality candidates here—Tajon Buchanan, Liam Millar—even though I’m going with Stephen Eustáquio. The 25-year-old defensive midfielder fulfills an extremely important role for the team, and he enters the tournament with serious momentum. Eustáquio was born in Canada to Portuguese parents, and has played all but one game of his professional career in Portugal. His journey in Portuguese football has been a slow and steady rise, from the fourth division to Porto, the second biggest and first most successful club in the country. He played a bit for the Canadian and Portuguese national teams before choosing Canada in 2019. In his first full season with Porto, he already scored in the Champions League against Brugge and Atlético Madrid, whom he eliminated more early this month.

Porto are heavily watched and always seem to sell off their cool guys soon enough, so a big World Cup would increase the already high stock.

David Ospina Mode Probability Score: 1,091 (out of 7,000)

James Rodriguez Mode Probability Score: 9 (out of 11)

Fun geographic fact

Canada has some of the most remarkable geographies on the planet. It has the longest coastline in the world, bordering the Atlantic, Pacific and Arctic oceans, but the vast majority of its population lives within 100 miles of the southern border with the United States, which is the longest binational border in the world. . Canada has the most lake water in the world, a significant amount of its terrestrial glacial ice, and much of its (crucial!) permafrost.

That’s all cool, but none of it matches the awe-inspiring majesty of the Canadian Shield, which may hold the world’s oldest rocks. A shield is the type of geological province that contains the oldest rocks on the planet, igneous and metamorphic rocks that rise to the surface, dodging the violent collisions between plate boundaries and associated geological destruction for almost as long as the Earth. existed. The Canadian Shield, located near Hudson Bay, is one such province.

Aging rocks over 4 billion years old is a somewhat imprecise endeavor – a common method is to age zircon crystals which can survive many metamorphic processes – while the actual title of the oldest rock on Earth is oddly subjective, some areas of the Canadian Shield have definitely been on the surface for over 90% of Earth’s existence. That’s potentially longer than water has been on Earth’s surface. Unbelievable! (I’ll note here that the oldest material scientists have dated is significantly older. The Murchison meteorite, which landed in Australia in the 1960s, is probably 7 billion years old.)

Good flag or bad flag?

Image via Getty

A flag stuck in three vertical sections is the most common and boring flag design this side of all former British colonies forced to have the Union Jack in the northwest corner like a bully’s bruise. Canada then went from worst to second worst flag load, although they transcend conventional wisdom here because their flag whipping ass. Any time you can incorporate a plant or animal (or an AK-47) into a flag, the better for it. The maple leaf has a pleasing shape, defiant in its simplicity and welcoming despite the red color scheme. Big flag.

Good hymn or bad hymn?

Even the cooler bilingual version can’t get this anthem out of the turbo-butt-tier. It sucks!

Remarkable moment in World Cup history

The 1986 World Cup was notable for being the final tournament for many Brazilian legends, including Zico, Socrates and Falcao. They lost in the quarter-finals to Michel Platini’s France, in an epic game that ended 1–1 and went France’s way on penalties. It was a real one-game classic.

France beat Canada 1-0 in the group stage.

How can they win the World Cup?

This World Cup takes place in winter. You know where winter is a huge deal? You know which country is famous for being all the way north, for being full of glaciers and for having all that permafrost (spoilers in the previous paragraph)? You know who likes that cold shit? Canada! All other nations are unable to hang on and compete once the calendar shifts to December and it starts snowing in Qatar (global warming or something?), clearing the way for Canada to cruise.

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