AHMED BIN ALI – Canada failed to score in its sole World Cup appearance in 1986; a young team hopes to change that in Qatar.
A goal is all that Canada needs to make history in Qatar.
The Canadian national men’s football team has reached the World Cup for the second time, after its first and only appearance in Mexico in 1986.
However, during the first round of that tournament 36 years ago, the squad failed to score a single goal in three games, all of which were losses, setting the stage for what could be a historic moment in Qatar 2022.
Professor of history at the University of Guelph in Ontario and author of Contested Fields: A Global History of Modern Football Alan McDougall remarked, “The first time around in 1986 was certainly less than glorious.”
However, he noted that Canadian soccer has improved significantly since then and expressed optimism that the 2022 team will perform better than its predecessor from 1986.
Without a doubt, the team from 2022 has an opportunity to right some historical wrongs.
In its opening match of the competition on Wednesday at Al-Rayyan Stadium, Canada will face Belgium, the second-ranked team in the world.
Only once have the two nations faced off, with Belgium winning 2-0 in an international friendly in Ottawa 1989.
This time, the 41st-ranked Canadian team will hope that Alphonso Davies, a 22-year-old phenom who recently suffered a hamstring injury while playing for his Bundesliga team, Bayern Munich, will give them a lift.
Davies said on Sunday that suffering an injury just a few weeks before the World Cup began was “devastating” for the team and for him, but “thankfully it wasn’t too terrible of an injury” and he expects to play against Belgium.
The winger declared, “I believe I can start the first game and play in the first game.” “If it was 50/50, they wouldn’t put me on the pitch.”
Canada’s “motto is fear nothing,” according to Les Jones, a former chairman of the Canadian Soccer Hall of Fame, and it has proven effective in the past because they have defeated opponents they weren’t expected to defeat.
By qualifying for the 2022 World Cup, Canada has “already exceeded all expectations,” according to Jones. Success in the group stage, where Canada plays not just Belgium but also Croatia and Morocco, is now the main goal.
Given the unexpected upsets that have occurred thus far in the World Cup, Jones sees cause for optimism. According to [Tuesday’s] outcomes, the underdogs are succeeding Tunisia and Saudi Arabia drew with Denmark and Argentina, respectively.
Even at the 1986 World Cup, Canada performed better than expected by holding France without a goal until the 78th minute, according to Jones. Ultimately, Les Bleus prevailed 1-0.
Many believed that France would achieve a score of at least 10, according to Jones. We’ve managed to surprise people in the past, so hopefully we can do it again.
Most pundits agree that Canada has a good chance of scoring the elusive opening World Cup goal.
The squad has scored in seven of its last ten games, according to Jeffrey Rosenthal, a statistics professor at the University of Toronto, who recently told U of T News, “I’m fairly confident.”
According to that calculation, only 2.7 percent of their upcoming group games have a chance of ending without at least one goal being scored, which implies they have a 97.3 percent chance of doing so, according to Rosenthal.
“This calculation isn’t entirely fair, as some of their group opponents may be stronger than their prior foes. The probability of them scoring at least one goal, however, is still greater than 80%.
The player who will eventually get the ball past a goalkeeper and when is still unknown.
Following games against Croatia on November 27 and Morocco on December 1, the first opportunity will be on Wednesday against Belgium.
If I were betting, I would probably choose Jonathan David to score the opening goal for Canada, according to McDougall. He claimed, “He plays up front and has been the player the team has relied on most for goals.