The only other time Canada made it to the World Cup was in 1986. On Sunday, a 4-0 victory over Jamaica ensured Canada’s participation in the Fifa World Cup in 2022.
Football is gaining popularity in Canada, despite the country’s traditional preference for other, more established sports, as evidenced by these players.
Herdman, who was born in Consett, County Durham, left Sunderland’s academy to lead the New Zealand women’s team more than 20 years ago.
Canada’s participation in the Fifa World Cup in 2022
It was a tournament in Mexico that Canadians had quite different memories of. Nothing from three games; nothing scored. However, at least they made it there. The only other time Canada made it to the World Cup was in 1986. On Sunday, a 4-0 victory over Jamaica ensured Canada’s participation in the Fifa World Cup in 2022. And it’s expected, but not yet confirmed, that their standing as co-hosts of the 2026 World Cup will guarantee them automatic qualifying for the event.
John Herdman, the English coach who led the Canadian women’s team to two bronze medals at the Olympic Games in 2012 and 2016, has been instrumental in this year’s historic achievement. As unlikely as it is that Canada, who are on the rise, will put up a fight in Qatar against an English manager since Sir Alf Ramsey in 1966
‘All the kids play football, that is the reality’
After being diagnosed with a heart issue in January, Alphonso Davies became the face of Canadian football, but Herdman and his team had to finish qualification without him. As with forwards Jonathan David of Lille and Cyle Larin of Besiktas, he’s on the mend and should be available for selection at the World Cup.
Football is gaining popularity in Canada, despite the country’s traditional preference for other, more established sports, as evidenced by these players. Herdman told BBC Sport in January that while Canada is known as a hockey nation, football has the highest participation rate.
“Football is the sport of choice for the majority of children. The population of this country is extremely diversified. My first love is football and I’m not the only one in our community who shares this sentiment. “However, there hasn’t been a national team around which they can unite. In contrast to the women’s squad, the men’s team hasn’t broken through the same level of success.
“It’s like a colossus that has fallen asleep. In order to reach the true Canadian sports fan, it is ready.”
‘A very resilient nation’
As a result of their victory over Mexico, the Canadians held a celebratory parade through Edmonton, which was seen on camera.
He and his staff had previously realised that Concacaf’s arduous qualification schedule was not geared up to benefit his club. ‘
The weather is a major role, as Canada frequently plays against opponents whose native climate differs significantly from that of Canada’s players.
“It was 37 degrees in Haiti in June,” Herdman continued. “The rubber on the artificial turf was melting people’s footwear.”
It’s possible to take a breather in some of those games. You can always use an excuse about how hot it is outside. In the mind, it’s an ongoing game. ‘It was about time our foes felt it,’ I thought.
Because of this, the Mexico vs. the United States game was held in Edmonton, Alberta, where the game’s final temperature was -9 degrees Celsius and a lot of snow fell prior to it. It was evident to Herdman that this was a different Canada: “We could have played in a more hospitable climate or even an enclosed, indoor stadium, but we were very aware that this is the Canada of today.” Playing on plastic fields in the winter as a child has made the people of this country remarkably resilient.”
We viewed it as a chance to grow. The question ‘why hasn’t Canada qualified?’ is often asked. Managing the Concacaf window has been a challenge for so long. Three games in seven days, involving tens of thousands of miles in travel.
The chip on the shoulder that drives him on
Herdman, who was born in Consett, County Durham, left Sunderland’s academy to lead the New Zealand women’s team more than 20 years ago. The move has paid off, and the 46-year-old would be an excellent coach if he were to return to his own country. As he knows his contract with the Canadian FA does not end until the World Cup in 2026, he avoids this conversation.
“When you haven’t made it as a professional footballer, there was a huge motivation at the moment,” he remarked.
“There’s always going to be a sour taste in your mouth.” At the beginning of my coaching career, I was repeatedly reminded that I hadn’t played at the greatest level. A mindset of “working more to prove you are at this level” emerges as a result.
Alphonso the ‘influencer’
Davies’ absence has been felt, but generally, Herdman refers to the 21-year-old as a “generational talent”, capable of bringing Canadian soccer out of a specialist setting and into mainstream society. “He is an influencer, not only through what he has done on the field but via his social media presence,” said Herdman. “I have an 11-year-old daughter who is captivated with what he is doing on Tik-Tok. She has never had an interest in soccer all the way through her stay in Canada.
“We have a generation of admirers for whom this is actually new. “The diehard fans are there setting the tone but the sports fans are the future now. They are going to fall in love with this sport.” (Stone, 2022).
Stone, B. S. (2022, March 27). Canada reach World Cup: John Herdman – the English manager behind landmark qualification . Retrieved from BBC Sport: https://www.bbc.com/sport/football/60144426