Canada qualified for a World Cup 36 years later. This Sunday, after beating Jamaica 4-0, they sealed their passage to Qatar, the second World Cup they will play in their history. The last time the Canadians played in a World Cup was when Maradona crowned himself at the Azteca Stadium in 1986.
The Canadian team won its ticket on the eve of the end of the classification. They did so with play that kept them top of the standings ahead of Mexico and the United States, the usual World Cup qualifiers. Canada has won eight games, drawn four and lost one. The players led by Briton John Herdman got out of the game at the right time thanks to Bayern Munich full-back Alphonso Davies, and two solid scorers in Jonathan David (Lille) and Cyle Larin (Besiktas). Herdman, the key to the bench, had already made Canada triumph in the women’s category by hanging a gold medal at the Pan American Games and two bronzes at the 2012 and 2016 Olympics.
Canada’s success is surprising given that it has only three elite clubs and they play in the American League: Montreal, Vancouver and Toronto. The Canadian League was founded in record time in 2019. Most of its players migrated overseas to try out clubs in Europe after making the jump from the United States.
The first time Canada participated in the World Cup, it came away with three losses against very tough rivals like the Soviet Union, France and Hungary.