Soccer fans in North America are in for a treat as the USA and Canada are due to go head to head in a battle to qualify for the 2022 World Cup. As it stands, Canada are one point ahead of the USA in the CONCACAF World Cup qualifying table.
Only the top three teams in the table will automatically go through to the World Cup in Qatar, and it’s a four-way battle between Canada, the USA, Mexico and Panama. Prior to the qualifying rounds, most sportsbooks would have had Mexico down to be the clear favorites to top the table. However, Canada have been in impressive form and are now looking good to book their first World Cup appearance since 1986.
There’s going to be a crunch World Cup qualifying game between Canada and the USA on January 30 2022. While it might not have an impact on whether either team goes through, it could be decisive in terms of how each team could be seeded should they make it through to go to Qatar.
The USA hosted Canada in a World Cup qualifier in September and the game ended as a 1-1 draw with Canada’s Cyle Larin equalizing soon after the USA’s Brenden Aaronson scored the opener. It was a disappointing game for the USA team who had been hit by numerous absences including an embarrassing suspension of Weston McKennie for breaking Covid-19 protocols.
As such, there are hopes that the USA might get their World Cup qualifying campaign back on track in January. Thankfully the team has managed to pick up some good results recently with their 2-0 win over Mexico in November being a real highlight. This saw McKennie redeeming himself by scoring the opening goal before Christian Pulisic sealed the win just ten minutes later.
However, the USA showed their inconsistency in the next game where they were held to a 1-1 draw in Jamaica. With what should be an easy win over El Salvador in January, Gregg Berhalter’s team should be in a good position before the big Canada game. If the USA wins here, then it should be plain sailing against Honduras, before the final run of games take place in March 2022 against Mexico, Panama and Costa Rica.
Canada shaking up the footballing world
Few people would have predicted how Canada would be the big thing in North American football in 2021. But with no less than 55 goals scored and 11 conceded, there is little doubt about the quality of this so-called ‘golden generation’ of players.
Much of this adulation has been placed at the feet of Alphonso Davies who cuts a commanding figure for Canada. Davies normally plays for Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich, while the Canadian attacker Jonathan David has been raising his game for the French club Lille.
But it’s Cyle Larin who has been scoring the goals for Canada with 11 already picked up in their World Cup qualifying campaign. As such, it’s little wonder that Larin has become the target of Premier League clubs like Brighton and Hove Albion.
Above all, it’s the forward momentum that Canada has as a team that makes them look almost unstoppable this time around. From their euphoric first-ever win over Mexico in November to the sheer fact that they are unbeaten, Canada will make it very hard for the USA at the end of January. All of which means that we could be set for an all-time classic in North American soccer.