The Maple Leafs of Canada is preparing for their second-ever World Cup finals appearance in their history after qualifying as the best team from the CONCACAF region.
The 2010s marked a renaissance in Canadian football which directly translated to improvement in their national team setup. The 2022 World Cup is an opportunity to showcase this improvement to the rest of the world.
This article provides you with insights into Canada’s chances as you study the best soccer betting strategies by Overlyzer ahead of the World Cup.
Canada Football: Highs and lows
Football has always been dominated by Europeans and South Americans. The Africans are a distant third when it comes to a global impact on the game. The other regions of the world are still upstarts in the game, but in the CONCACAF region, things are exploding.
The United States of America and Mexico have kept the region on the football map for as long as the sport has existed. Mexico, in fact, was one of the teams at the inaugural tournament in 1930, even hosting twice in 1970 and 1986, when Canada first appeared in the tournament.
Canada have provided competition for both Mexico and USA in the CONCACAF region, even winning two continental titles at their expense. But on the world stage, they have been unable to make their mark.
Canada and the World Cup: A brief history
It has taken them 36 years to make it back to the global stage for the second time where they will be hoping to put in a strong performance. The 2022 World Cup will also be a precursor to what they can do as they prepare to host the 2026 edition alongside Mexico and USA.
They missed out on the first three editions of the World Cup because of disputes with FIFA which caused them to withdraw from the organization. After rejoining FIFA in 1948, they tried for the first time in 1957 but failed to make the 1958 tournament.
Poor national team infrastructure prevented them from trying to qualify for the 1962 and 1966 editions. They got back in the fray for the 1970 edition but failed to qualify. They built their team slowly and steadily, and won the 1985 CONCACAF Gold Cup, before eventually qualifying for the 1986 World Cup to the delight of the whole nation.
Canada at the 1986 World Cup
The Maple Leafs were one of the teams in the iconic 1986 edition of the global showpiece. It was a dream debut for Canada on the biggest stage of football because the tournament was staged in their region, with Mexico playing host to the World.
The tournament served as a wake-up call for the Canadians to the quality of the rest of the world. This is why, despite not being able to win a single game in their group, their performance as debutantes was praised.
France, Hungary and the Soviet Union were their opponents in their group. They lost their three matches by a combined 5 – 0 scoreline with four of the goals coming after the 55th minute of the various matches.
Journey back to the World Cup
Canada stuttered after the 1986 edition and they went back to being also-rans in the CONCACAF region. Their qualification attempt for the 1990 World Cup was dismal but they made it all the way to the intercontinental playoffs stage in the 1994 qualifiers. They lost to Australia from the OFC on penalties.
They were unable to get quality for their team and fielded an aging team in the 1998 qualifiers, who were turned inside out by the younger CONCACAF teams. Things began to change after the appointment of a new coach following the 1998 failure which led to them winning the 2000 Gold Cup.
But just like past qualifiers, they failed to make a mark in 2002, 2006 and 2010 qualifiers phase consecutively. It was not until the late 2010s that things truly changed for the better in Canadian football with the creation of the Canadian Premier League and the necessary football infrastructure.
Qualification for 2022 World Cup
With a new team made up of bright young talents who were already making names for themselves in the biggest football leagues across the world, Canada took on the task of attempting to qualify for the World Cup again.
They were grouped against Suriname, Bermuda, Aruba, and the Cayman Islands in the first round and finished top with four wins out of four, with 27 goals scored. They moved on to a fixture second-round tie against Haiti played over two legs and won, keeping a clean sheet.
They went unbeaten for the first eleven games of the third round of qualifiers before finishing with eight wins, four draws, and two losses. They also beat Mexico for the first time in their history and topped the group on goal difference to qualify for Qatar 2022.
What to expect from Canada in 2022
As you look at the best soccer betting strategies by Overlyzer ahead of the World Cup in November, you may be considering Canada as an option for your bets.
They have been placed in Group F alongside Belgium, Morocco, and Croatia for the tournament. This is one of the most balanced groups where all the teams stand a chance of progressing to the knockout rounds.
Their tournament stats are not great, however, which makes them an 80 percent risk level option. But with the quality in The Maple Leafs, over/under bets backing both sides to score is the best option to go for.