Emerging from Qatar 2022 as winners of the CONCACAF (North, Central America and Caribbean) zone, Canada were only the underdogs of Group F. The team dubbed Les Rouges were pressed by the representative duo of the UEFA, Belgium-Croatia, and was hounded by Morocco. The FIFA World Rankings comparison between the four teams is also uneven. Belgium is ranked 2nd, Croatia 12th, Morocco 22nd and Canada 41st.
In history, Canada met Belgium once in a friendly match in 1989, which Belgium won 2-0. But with Croatia it was never the opposite. Morocco have the most, have three matches, most recently in 2016 in a test match Canada lost 0-4.
John Herdman’s side last tried out for Uruguay on September 27, 2022 at the Tehelné Pole stadium in Bratislava. The British coach used the 3-4-1-2 and lost 0-2.
Canada confirmed their qualification for the 2022 World Cup on March 27, 2022, beating Jamaica 4-0 in Week 13 of the CONCACAF Zone Third Round. This qualification ended the 36-year-old’s thirst since the first and only participation in the 1986 World Cup.
Their third qualifying round for the World Cup started unbeaten in the first eleven games. Ended 2021 with a first victory over Mexico in over 20 years to top the rankings. At the end of last year, Canada was ranked 40th by FIFA, its highest record so far.
The team with the maple leaf symbol welcomed a new generation of young players. The wave was led by Canada’s first UEFA Champions League winner Alphonso Davies of Bayern Munich, the most expensive Canadian footballer in history. Striker Jonathan David joined Lille for 30 million euros in 2020. As he created the Canadian Premier League, the country’s first professional competition.
Two trials scheduled for early June had to be canceled. Midway through this month, Canada was busy with the CONCACAF National League campaign. The result was a 4-0 win over Curacao followed by a 1-2 loss to Honduras. Defeat of Honduras in addition to being their last competitive game. Using a 4-2-3-1 formation, Coach Herdman’s strategy relies on ball control and passing accuracy. The key to the game is held by a single pivot: pivot and attacking midfielder.
Reigning midfielder Stephen Eustáquio is a tough ball shooter. Meanwhile, the club FC Bayern prefers to place the solid Alphonso Davies as left-back. But in the Canadian national team, he plays as an attacking midfielder.
The Eustáquio-Davies duo work to provide opportunities for striker David. They showed their dominance over Qatar with a 2-0 lead in a practice match on September 24 at the Generali Arena in Vienna. 61% ball possession and 92% passing accuracy. Previously when they lost to Honduras, and after that when they lost again to Uruguay, only 82% of their passing accuracy.
The midfield duo’s deadly tactical prowess against the duo undoubtedly shattered Canada. Their duo was sticky as glue, if you think Eustáquio is dead, maybe Davies would follow him right away.
But serious problems are crossing Canada ahead of the Group F final. Alphonso Davies’ number 19 shirt has been banned from sale to fans, Bavarian Football Works report.
Davies’ agent, Nick Huoseh, told the retailer to stop selling the jersey because the Canadian national team is prohibited from using Davies’ name or likeness in promotions. In addition, he also recently turned down a request from the federation to appear in a national team commercial for Gatorade sponsorship.
It is an escalation in a long-term contract dispute between Canada Soccer players which saw the cancellation of an exhibition match against Panama in June when the players refused to play in protest to Canada Soccer, forcing them to negotiate new contracts.
The issues between players and organizations are too many and basic. This includes image and name rights, greater transparency in business lines, earning bonuses, and how friends and family traveling to Qatar will be funded and supported. The players said loved ones were embarrassed and that Canada Soccer was mismanaging team affairs, while management said prosecuting the players would bankrupt the federation.
Building on this, Canada Soccer released a statement on Friday (28/10) regarding labor rights and inclusiveness in Qatar. In principle, Canada Soccer supports ongoing investigations to advance workers’ rights and inclusiveness as Qatar prepares to host. FIFA itself has recognized these important issues and is discussing them with member associations and stakeholders.
“While progress has been made in strengthening worker protections through the Qatari government’s labor reforms, we encourage all partners to continue the dialogue to ensure that these reforms translate into real improvements in labor rights protections. workers and inclusiveness across the country beyond the Qatar 2022 World Cup,” the Canada Soccer administrator said.
“We believe the legacy of this tournament should inspire and lead to further improvements in this area, not only in Qatar but across the region,” he added.
From the moment the Canadian national team qualified for the 2022 World Cup, Canada Soccer has been actively involved in this file. Federation officials met with the Canadian Embassy in Doha, Qatar in April, July and September this year, focusing on cultural awareness, local education and preparations for the championship. During each meeting, discussions also focused on the latest updates on human rights and issues of inclusivity in Qatar.
Over the past few months, Canada Soccer has also met and given presentations by the International Labor Organization (ILO) and Amnesty International where good discussions and updates were shared by both organisations.
The concentration of the Canadian national team will certainly be disrupted due to disputes between the federation and the players. The Qatar workforce issue that was later raised by Canada Soccer might just distract.
2022 World Cup Group F:
November 23, 2022 vs Belgium
November 27, 2022 vs Croatia
December 01, 2022 vs Morocco
“Prone to fits of apathy. Beer evangelist. Incurable coffeeaholic. Internet expert.”