Canada Soccer gets Panama to replace Iran for Vancouver match

May 31 2022, 5:32 pm

Game on.

After cancelling their highly anticipated yet controversial match against Iran five days ago, Canada Soccer has found a replacement team to play in Vancouver this weekend.

Canada Soccer has announced that the men’s national team will now host Panama on Sunday, June 5 at 4 pm PT/7 pm ET at BC Place. It’ll be the Canadian men’s national team’s first match on home soil since qualifying for the FIFA World Cup in March and their first time playing in Vancouver in over three years.

Panama is ranked 61st in FIFA’s world rankings and failed to qualify for Qatar, so they won’t have the same draw appeal as the 21st-ranked Iranians.

But they’re not a bad replacement, given the circumstances.

Panama beat Canada 1-0 in the last match between these two countries in Panama City on March 30. The Panamanians had six wins, five losses, and three draws during the final round of World Cup qualifying, which included a win against USA and a draw against Mexico.

This is an important match for the 38th-ranked Canadians, who need all the games they can get ahead of the World Cup in November. That’s why Canada Soccer is sending their best players to Vancouver, including Alphonso Davies and Jonathan David.

Tickets for the match go on sale Wednesday morning at noon PT, with lower bowl seats available for just $30.

Iran made sense soccer-wise, but not politically, after an Iranian missile shot down a commercial airplane carrying 55 Canadian citizens and 30 permanent residents on January 8, 2020. Canada Soccer cancelled the match following public pressure, which increased after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau criticized the decision to host Iran.

“The untenable geopolitical situation of hosting Iran became significantly divisive, and in response, the match was cancelled,” Canada Soccer said in a statement released last week. “While we considered the external factors in selecting the optimal opponent in our original decision-making process, we will strive to do better moving forward.”

Following Sunday’s match against Panama, Canada Soccer will host a second match at BC Place on Thursday, June 9, against 79th-ranked Curaçao as part of CONCACAF Nations League.

The Canadian men’s national team will then fly to Honduras for an away match against Honduras on June 13.

Rob WilliamsRob Williams

+ Offside
+ Soccer
+ FIFA World Cup