Canada's road to the World Cup starts tonight

Dec 19 2017, 6:28 pm

Canada’s men’s national soccer team will begin its quest to qualify for the 2018 World Cup tonight at BC Place. Their first competitive match in Vancouver in 11 years is an important one, against Honduras.



Canada (FIFA rank: 102) vs Honduras (FIFA rank: 95)

Game Time: 7 p.m.



The Format

Technically, we’re actually already in the 4th round of 5 qualifying rounds for the CONCACAF region, but really, this is when things get serious.

Canada (102) is in a group with Mexico (24), El Salvador (94) and Honduras (95). They’ll play a home-and-home with each team, with the top-two teams advancing to the final round of qualifying.

Canada is the lowest ranked team of the four, but not by much, and have a very real chance of making it to the final stage of CONCACAF qualifying for the first time since the 1998 World Cup.

The final round of CONCACAF qualifying consists of six teams competing for three automatic World Cup berths.



Canada is bolstered by recent addition, Junior Hoilett, who should be a threat to score. Veteran midfielder Atiba Hutchinson is also a player to keep an eye on. Three Whitecaps are on the roster, most notably Russell Teibert.

#     Position       Name Club      Age
3 FB Samuel Adekugbe CAN / Vancouver Whitecaps 20
2 FB Fraser Aird SCO / Rangers 20
23 M Tesho Akindele USA / FC Dallas 23
18 GK Milan Borjan BUL / PFK Ludogorets Razgrad 28
6 M Julian de Guzman CAN / Ottawa Fury FC 34
17 FB Marcel de Jong USA / Sporting Kansas City 29
5 CB David Edgar ENG / Sheffield United 28
16 M Kianz Froese CAN / Vancouver Whitecaps 19
9 F Marcus Haber ENG / Crewe Alexandra FC 26
10 W David Junior Hoilett ENG / Queens Park Rangers           25
13 M Atiba Hutchinson TUR / Beşiktaş J.K. 32
12 CB Dejan Jaković JPN / Shimizu S-Pulse 30
4 CB Manjrekar James HUN / Diósgyöri VTK 22
8 M Will Johnson USA / Portland Timbers 28
21 F Cyle Larin USA / Orlando City S.C. 20
19 CB Wandrille Lefèvre CAN / Impact Montréal 26
20 CB Karl W. Ouimette USA / New York Red Bulls 23
14 M Samuel Piette ESP / Racing Ferrol 21
11 W Tosaint Ricketts TUR / Boluspor FC 28
22 GK Kenny Stamatopoulos     SWE / AIK Fotbol 36
15 M Adam Straith NOR / Fredrikstad 25
7 M Russell Teibert CAN / Vancouver Whitecaps 22
1 GK Simon Thomas NOR / Strømmen 25


Today’s Game

Canada begins their quest to advance to the final round of qualifying against the team that ended their dream for the 2014 World Cup. Honduras thumped Canada 8-1 three years ago, in one of this country’s most embarrassing performances.

But this is a new team and there is reason for optimism: they can score goals. “Not since Dale Mitchell, Alex Bunbury, John Catliff and Paul Peschisolido were in the lineup together in the early-to-mid-’90s has there been this much hope for goals” Paul Dolan told the Province.

Coincidentally, that’s the last time that Canada was knocking on the door for the World Cup, at a time when CONCACAF had only one automatic berth.

Even though it’s the first game of the round, tonight’s game will be hugely important for Canada. If they are to advance, they will need to do well at home.

A large crowd should help Canada’s home field advantage, as will playing on field turf. Canada’s cold weather advantage won’t be a factor though, the roof will be closed against the wishes of the Canadian Soccer Association.

***UPDATE: The roof will be OPEN

But hey, if things don’t go well in this one, perhaps Canada could employ a different tactic next time…


Qualifying Schedule

Nov 13: Honduras @ Canada

Nov 17: Canada @ El Salvador

Mar 25: Mexico @ Canada

Mar 29: Canada @ Mexico

Sep 2: Canada @ Honduras

Sep 6: El Salvador @ Canada

DH Vancouver StaffDH Vancouver Staff

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