Later this month, Canadian soccer fans will see the 36-year wait come to an end when the men’s national team plays at the FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
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Team Canada, which made it to the World Cup thanks to its impressive performances in continental qualifying competitions, is led by star players such as Alfonso Davies, Cyl Larin, Jonathan David and Stephen Eustacio, to name a few. name a few.
This men’s team is what Canadian football journalist John Molinaro says he’s seen before. They are “fearless,” he said, but despite this golden generation of emerging Canadian talent, players face a “really tough” challenge at the start of the competition.
The challenge is to face European giants Belgium and Croatia and then top African side Morocco in the group stage of the tournament, said Molinaro, who is also the founder and editor-in-chief of TFRepublic.ca. At the end of the group competition, the top two teams will advance to the round of 16 of the 32-nation tournament.
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Here’s a look at the nations Canada will face when the FIFA Men’s World Cup kicks off on November 20.
Canada’s first match at the World Cup is November 23 against Belgium, ranked No. 2 in the FIFA Men’s Rankings for International Teams.
Belgium is a country full of Granthshala talent, including star players such as striker Romelu Lukaku and midfielder Kevin De Bruyne, who play for some of the biggest club teams in the world. Belgium reached the semi-finals in 2018 and the quarter-finals in 2014, but lost to their opponents.
Soccer analyst and former Canadian men’s national team goalkeeper Craig Forrest says Belgium are a “late golden generation” team that will feel the pressure to perform. He said Belgium would be a significant threat despite the aging star players.
“They have immense quality. They’re getting a bit old, but they have some great pieces for young people too,” Forrest told Granthshala News.
“They have a revolving door (of talent) right now…and they have a lot of depth.”
In the World Cup qualifiers, Belgium finished top of their group with six wins and two draws, scoring 25 goals in eight matches and conceding just six.
“They have players with potential in Romelu Lukaku and Kevin De Bruyne – they are players who are the best in the world at their position,” Molinaro told Granthshala News.
“It’s a tough test from the start to face the No. 2 nation in the world for Canada, having reached the semi-finals of the World Cup in Russia four years ago.
After facing Belgium, Canada will face Croatia on November 27.
Croatia grabbed headlines during their performance at the 2018 World Cup after reaching the final, only to lose 4-2 to France. The team was led by world-class midfielder Luka Modric, who, despite being 37, “is currently playing like a 17-year-old,” Forrest said.
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“He looks good as always. He moves the ball very well. He controls the game,” he said.
“He’s always on top of his game.”
Of the 11 players who started the 2018 final, only five are still in the squad, but Croatia’s rebuild is fusing a veteran core with a talented new generation.
Molinaro said Croatia, who scored 21 goals with seven wins, two draws and one loss and topped their qualifying group against four, like to control the ball and control the pace of the game.
“It will be interesting to see how Canada manages, how they manage to beat Croatia, how they manage to win this kind of fight in midfield because I think it will be important for the game against the Croatians. He goes. ,” They said.
“And how does that deal with the quality of Croatia because they are like Belgium: they have top quality and first class players in all situations.”
Croatia 12. seat ine Ranked in FIFA Men’s National Team Rankings.
Morocco, playing in their sixth World Cup since their debut in 1970, will face Canada on December 1.
Although not on the same level as Belgium and Croatia, Morocco will be a formidable foe, Forrest and Molinaro said.
In World Cup qualifying, Morocco went unbeaten, winning all six matches and finishing first in the group. The team had scored 20 goals and only scored one goal in qualifying.
Morocco are “one of the best teams in Africa”, said Molinaro. The squad includes star players like striker Yusuf En-Nesiri and attacking midfielder Sofiane Boufal. Morocco qualified for the 2018 World Cup, but were not knocked out of the group stage.
“A very skilled, very fast team can hit you. It will also be a dangerous game for Canada, especially in the first two games against Belgium and Croatia,” said Molinaro.
“I would say Morocco are more at the Canadian level, so I would be interested to see how they deal with the slightly younger Moroccan team, which has a lot of young legs and how it comes at a pace of their own. .
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