“This is the moment the country has been waiting for. The Kings of the North made it!” The TV commentator didn’t waver with supremacy as Canada secured their World Cup ticket with a 4-0 victory over Jamaica on March 27, in the middle of a snowstorm in Toronto. The players – many with tears in their eyes – stayed out in the cold for several minutes, hugging and letting the angry fans celebrate. “They are all legends already,” the commentator exclaims excitedly, predicting, “This was just the beginning.”
For only the second time since 1986, Canada has reached the World Cup finals. The last time the team narrowly failed to qualify for the 1994 World Cup in the USA, when it lost to Australia on penalties in the intercontinental play-off. Since then, the Canadians have not come close to getting involved. The exclamation point was even greater when they left regular World Cup guests like the United States and Mexico behind in this qualifier and finished the group in first place.
New professional league
Four years before the home World Cup, which Canada is hosting with the United States and Mexico, there is great euphoria in the country. Qatar’s qualification came thanks to a talented generation and purposeful support.
For a long time there was no professional league in Canada. Canadian teams have participated in American leagues. Plans to hold your own tournament were repeatedly discussed in the early 2010s, but have not been implemented at this time. After much back and forth, the Canadian Premier League came into existence in 2017, and is affiliated with the Canadian Football Association.
In 2019, the game started with seven teams at the moment. Clubs are required to field at least six Canadian players in the starting line-up and are allowed to sign a maximum of seven foreign players. In addition, three domestic players must be under the age of 21 and have a combined playing time of at least 2,000 minutes per season. They are terms that pursue the goal of developing Canadian football.
However, with only three seasons played, it would be premature to talk about the impact of the league in terms of national team success. On the contrary, Canada benefits from a strong generation of players, many of whom are some of the best on European teams.
The characters are young Alphonso Davies and Jonathan David. The two 22-year-old attacking players play for Bayern Munich (Davis) and Lille (David) and are considered the hope of the nation. The shock was correspondingly great when Davies was injured in the Bundesliga match against Hertha BSC on the 5th of November. After recent clarifications, he should be fit again in time and – after rehab in Munich – travel to Qatar to join the squad.
Liam Millar, who is committed to FC Basel, also made his way into the squad. However, it remains to be seen if he will play in the manned offense. He was in the starting line-up five times in the playoffs and was substituted twice.
The team is led by a relatively unknown coach, John Herdman. The 47-year-old Englishman has never been a professional and began his coaching career with the Sunderland youth team. In 2003, he moved to New Zealand, where he held various positions with the women’s national team before becoming head coach in 2006. After two World Cup appearances, he joined the Canadian women’s national team in 2011, with which he won bronze at the 2012 and 2016 Olympics. .
The father-of-two has been in charge of the men’s national team since 2018. Under Herdmann, the team reached No. 33 in February this year, its highest ranking position to date.
Commenting on the group’s draw, Herdman said: “When we were drawn to Belgium and Croatia, we rubbed our hands and said: It’s going to be a great experience.” Canada, without points or goals in their World Cup debut in the United States, can play without pressure in Qatar and upset the established teams.
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