The Canadian national soccer team doesn’t have a long World Cup history. The so-called Les Rouges have participated in it only once thus far, not with the best result.
1986 World Cup
The first and only time Canada qualified for the World Cup was 36 years ago. Then, led mostly by players who haven’t set foot in Europe (known for its top soccer leagues), the national squad was up against the much stronger France and more experienced Hungary and USSR.
With three losses, Canada was pushed to the bottom of the table and failed to qualify for the knockout phase. And while the team didn’t lose by a lot (the two greatest losses ended with 2:0), it was still painfully clear that the Canadian national soccer team was nowhere near ready to compete against the world’s greatest.
Since then, the Canadian national soccer team has failed to qualify for the World Cup. So what changed after 36 years that finally got the national squad a place among the big players?
Dedicated Coach With New Young Talents
While some teams experience sudden progress as a result of good financing, that was different with Canada. No one poured insane amounts of money into the team to make them shine. Instead, it was simply about finding the right coach to train the right players.
John Herdman is an English coach who took over the Canadian national team in 2018. As an Englishman, he already had a far better understanding of soccer than most Canadian coaches. After all, England is the birthing place of modern soccer.
But even that wouldn’t have been enough had it not been for a strong, young team under his command. As a result, several Canadian national soccer team players now have the all-important experience of playing in the European leagues. What’s more, many have been awarded time and time again for their performances.
But is that enough for Canada to go further than it did 36 years ago?
Canadian National Soccer Team Chances at 2022
The one certain thing is — anything is possible. Sure, Canada has a mighty tough group, facing Belgium in their first game and Croatia and Morocco down the line in the 2022 World Cup.
But a capable coach and a young, talented team aside, Canada has something else working in its favor: Croatia and Belgium, as strong and award-winning as they are, aren’t the same teams from the previous World Cup.
These teams have changed, and their recent results, good as they may be, still need to be more impressive.
This detailed infographic by LegalBet Canada provides more information about the Canadian national soccer team and their group phase opponents, so you can decide whether a knockout phase is a realistic goal for Les Rouges.
Rhett is an Australian-born, globe trotter who is a UEFA ‘A’ Licence Soccer Coach. With his family, he has traveled and coached soccer in more than 30 countries, while attending World Cups, European Championships, and some of the biggest local derbies in the world!