Canada draws against Belgium, Croatia and Morocco at FIFA World Cup in Qatar

Canada were the final country selected in the World Cup draw in Doha, Oatar on Friday and have been placed in Group F, where they will open the tournament against Belgium on November 23.

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The stage is set for Canada at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

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Canada will face Belgium, Croatia and Morocco in the first round of the 32-team tournament, placed in Group F as the last country selected in the World Cup draw in Doha, Qatar on Friday.

Canada opens the tournament against Belgium on November 23, then faces Croatia on November 27 and completes the group stage against Morocco on December 1. The top two teams in the group advance to the second round.

Match venues and kick-off times have yet to be determined.

“I think it was a surreal moment as a Canadian, and even as a football fan, to be able to see your team in a pot waiting for your team to be withdrawn,” Canada’s head coach said. John Herdman after the draw. “I don’t know how many years the people of this country had to endure this draw and be ready to support their secondary team.

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“For our team to step down and see that it’s real and that Canada is on the big stage now and we’re ready to play in Qatar. We know the teams we have and we have a wonderful opportunity ahead of us. Everything that came out of that draw was an opportunity for this country.

Canada has not appeared at a men’s World Cup since its only appearance in Mexico in 1986, where, grouped with France, Hungary and the USSR, lost all three matches and scored zero.

Canada will be hoping for a better performance this time around, but will still struggle.

Belgium was ranked No. 1 in the world until recently, supplanted by Brazil and now occupy second place. Belgium beat Brazil in the quarter-finals of the 2018 World Cup in Russia, before losing to eventual champions France in the semi-finals.

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Last summer, Belgium lost to eventual champions Italy in the quarter-finals of the Euro 2020 tournament, which was delayed for a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Belgium has world-class stars such as Real Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois and midfielder Eden Hazard, Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne, defender Jan Vertonghen, a long-time Tottenham Hotspur and now Benfica player, and Chelsea striker Romelu Lukaku.

Croatia were eliminated in the second round of the Euros by Spain last summer, but qualified for the World Cup final in 2018, losing to France 4-2.

Croatia are on the back of a golden generation of talent and 2022 in Qatar is likely to be the last international kick for aging stars Luka Modric, 36, and Ivan Perisic, 33.

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Morocco, meanwhile, is participating in its sixth World Cup.

“Belgium, we know their quality; players like De Bruyne and Lukaku and what they’ve done on the international stage,” Herdman said. “Then the Croats, who four years ago were the finalists. But that’s what we want, we want that underdog story.

“We will be at our best when we rely on our courage and our spirit and to bring that ‘fearless’ opportunity that exists in these types of matches against the best players in the world.”

Canada qualified for Qatar by finishing first in the final round of Concacaf qualifying ahead of Mexico on goal difference and three points better than the United States.

If Canada manages to break out of the group, they will face a Group E team in the second round, consisting of Spain, Germany, Japan and either Costa Rica or New Zealand, who are scheduled to play a playoff match. in June for a place in the tournament.

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“We won’t be naïve, but we won’t be afraid to go into this,” Herdman said. “We see the opportunities to be pioneers for this country and to get after scoring that first goal for Canada at a World Cup.”

The draw for the 2022 World Cup took place in a lavish ceremony at the Doha Exhibition and Convention Center with 29 countries and three playoff berth holders split into eight groups of four teams.

Hosts Qatar will open the tournament on November 21 against Ecuador. Senegal and the Netherlands were also drawn into Group A.

England, the Islamic Republic of Iran, the United States and the winner of the Euro qualifiers (Scotland, Ukraine or Wales) make up Group B.

Argentina, Saudi Arabia, Mexico and Poland were drawn into Group C; France, winner of the continental qualifiers with Peru against the winner between the United Arab Emirates and Australia, Denmark and Tunisia make up group D.

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Spain, winners of the playoffs between Costa Rica and New Zealand, Germany and Japan make up Group E, while Group G includes Brazil, Serbia, Switzerland and Cameroon.

Group H includes Portugal, Ghana, Uruguay and the Republic of Korea.

Knowing who they will face now, Canada has plenty of time to prepare for the World Cup, and Herdman hopes to schedule at least one exhibition game in the international window this summer. Due to the extreme temperatures of the summer months in Qatar, the tournament was scheduled for November, where it will disrupt domestic seasons around the world.

“In June we have Nations League games, but there is a small window just ahead that gives us the chance to play a friendly game here in Canada, and we will absolutely push to do that,” Herdman said. “I don’t know how many teams want to come to Canada at this time of year and that will probably allow us to head to Europe in the fall.

As the World Cup disrupts domestic seasons, players will have around a week to meet with their national teams before the tournament begins.

“It’s this period of time, just before the start of the competition, that is the most important preparation time,” Herdman said. “This is where we need to get it right more than anything; in our first game.

Groups for the World Cup in Qatar.
Groups for the World Cup in Qatar.

Email: [email protected]

On Twitter: @DerekVanDiest

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