Amongst Concacaf elite, Canada primed for Gold Cup after beneficial group D draw


Although it failed to gather a single level on the 2023 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, the Canadian males’s staff will enter this summer time’s Concacaf Gold Cup as one of many real prime favourites to win the continental competitors. 

Canada firmly established itself among the many prime nations within the Concacaf area when it completed in first place in qualifying for final 12 months’s World Cup, profitable eight of 14 video games with solely two losses, and going undefeated in opposition to conventional regional heavyweights Mexico, america and Honduras. 

Now it’s time for the Canadians to show themselves once more on the Gold Cup, a match they’ve received simply as soon as, means again in 2000. Fortunately for John Herdman’s facet, they’ve a fairly straightforward path to the knockout spherical after Friday’s official match draw.  

Ranked No. 47 on this planet by FIFA, Canada was drawn into Group D alongside Guatemala (No. 116) and Cuba (No. 165). Canada’s third Group D adversary would be the still-to-be-determined winner of a preliminary spherical of qualifying matches: both Trinidad and Tobago (No. 104), Guyana (No. 170), Grenada (No. 175) or non-FIFA member Guadeloupe (unranked).

The 12-nation qualifying competitors runs from June 16-20. The Gold Cup kicks off on June 24 and wraps up on July 16. 

The opposite Gold Cup first-round teams are: 

– Group A: United States (13), Jamaica (63), Nicaragua (140), Preliminary spherical winner 

– Group B: Mexico (15), Haiti (87), Honduras (80), Qatar (61) 

– Group C: Costa Rica (39), Panama (58), El Salvador (75), Preliminary spherical winner 

The Concacaf gods had been extremely variety to Canada throughout Friday’s draw, which was carried out in Los Angeles at SoFi Stadium, website of the Gold Cup ultimate. Canada was positioned in Pot 1 alongside prime seeds Mexico, the U.S. and Costa Rica, and was drawn into the weakest of the 4 teams. Canada averted drawing the three strongest groups from Pot 2 (Panama, Jamaica and Haiti), the 2 finest nations from Pot 3 (El Salvador and Honduras) and Pot 4’s Qatar, who’ll be competing at this Gold Cup as a particular visitor. 

Mexico wasn’t so lucky, because it was put into the “Group of Demise” in opposition to regional stalwarts Honduras, an ever-improving Haiti, and a Qatar staff recent off internet hosting the World Cup. The U.S. can’t afford to look previous two-time Gold Cup finalist Jamaica, whereas Costa Rica ought to have its fingers full with Panama, who just like the Costa Ricans certified for the World Cup in Qatar. 

Herdman received’t admit it publicly as a result of the very last thing he desires to do is give Canada’s first-round opponents any further motivation. However the group stage draw couldn’t have labored out any higher for his staff. All three video games are extremely winnable in opposition to a lot weaker opponents, all of whom aren’t even ranked within the prime 100 on this planet.  

Canada has received 10 of 13 video games in opposition to Guatemala (with one draw) relationship again to their first assembly in 1977 and has received 4 in a row. Cuba hasn’t fared significantly better in opposition to Canada, with simply two wins in 15 matches. The Cubans have misplaced six in a row by a mixed 20-1. Even when Trinidad (arguably the hardest staff within the preliminaries) advances to Group D, its document in opposition to Canada is fairly poor: simply 4 wins in 13 conferences. 

Herdman’s staff has reached some extent the place it could possibly rightfully think about itself amongst the elite nations of Concacaf, so there’s actually no excuse why it shouldn’t take all 9 factors on provide from the group stage. Something much less can be a letdown, much more so when you think about the Canadians are anticipated to play a portion of the group stage at Toronto’s BMO Discipline. The complete match schedule, together with stadium assignments, will probably be launched within the subsequent few days by Concacaf. 

The knockout stage of the match is when it’ll get very attention-grabbing for Canada. Ought to the three different prime seeds win their teams, the Canadians should journey down a troublesome highway with a purpose to win their second Gold Cup: almost definitely vs. Jamaica within the quarter-finals, with the potential to fulfill Mexico (within the semis), and both Costa Rica or the U.S. (within the ultimate). 

Canada’s close to flawless run within the ultimate spherical of the World Cup qualifiers was spectacular, however it came to visit a seven-month interval. That was a marathon. The Gold Cup is a dash. The video games happen in fast succession, giving groups little time to arrange for his or her subsequent opponent. The margin of error can be a lot slimmer. This match will probably be a check of Canada’s tactical acumen beneath Herdman, but additionally its psychological power and its bodily resilience. 

Final month, Herdman warned that his staff can’t afford to relaxation on its laurels after its World Cup look and stated establishing Canada because the “Kings of Concacaf” was the staff’s overarching theme in 2023. 

“It’s about going proper again to the highest and ending the tip of this 12 months displaying that we’re the perfect staff in Concacaf. We might not have the largest participant pool. We might not have the largest budgets. However we’ll be the perfect staff and that’s our mission,” Herdman promised. 

They’ll get their probability this summer time. 

John Molinaro is likely one of the main soccer journalists in Canada, having lined the sport for over 20 years for a number of media shops, together with Sportsnet, CBC Sports activities and Solar Media. He’s presently the editor-in-chief of TFC Republic, a web site devoted to in-depth protection of Toronto FC and Canadian soccer.

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