Written by FTF Affiliate Saif Pirani
The Canadian Men’s National Team are one step closer to securing a spot at Qatar’s 2022 edition of the FIFA World Cup.
Heading into the final group match vs Suriname, both teams had already beaten Bermuda, Aruba, and the Cayman Islands. Only needing one point to progress to the second round of qualification, the Canadians proceeded to run riot and defeated Suriname by a resounding score of 4-0. John Herdman’s side flexed their muscle in the decisive group-stage match, led by the dynamic partnership of Jonathan David and Alphonso Davies. On the back of a cagey opening 30 minutes, Davies broke the deadlock after being put through on goal by David. The Bayern Munich starlet then returned the favour by assisting David on not one, but two well-taken goals. The newly-crowned Ligue 1 champion then completed his hat trick from the penalty spot to secure a comprehensive victory.
Besiktas striker, Cyle Larin, was held to just 66 minutes of action while 24 year-old Scott Kennedy made his international debut. This match also saw CF Montreal midfielder, Samuel Piette, drop into a key centre defensive mid position alongside the back 3 of Kennedy, Alistair Johnston, and Doneil Henry. This was the first time we have seen Herdman use a 3-5-2/ 5-3-2 formation and we will see if this is the ‘go-to’ formation for the team moving forward.
As one of six group winners to advance, Canada now turns their attention to the second round of qualification. They will face Haiti in a two-legged affair on June 12 and 15. The other play-off matches will see Saint Kitts and Nevis take on El Salvador while Panama battles with Curacao. The three winners will then move on to the final stage of qualification, joining USA, Mexico, Costa Rica, Jamaica, and Honduras in an expanded “HEX” group. These remaining eight countries will compete in a round-robin tournament where the top three teams secure a spot in Qatar while the fourth place team competes in an intercontinental play-off match.