It’s like getting that birthday present that is darn close to what you want, but not quite. But you thought it was lost by Amazon anyway.
So in the end, hey, great… Here’s Panama.
Canada’s national men’s team will play an additional World Cup tuneup game, and it will be at BC Place, and it is a World Cup team. Just not at this year’s World Cup.
We had been wondering the fate of this valuable four-match window for the Canadian side after their one and only international friendly against a 2022 World Cup team was cancelled. Iran proving to be too big a political foe for many, inducing the Prime Minister.
But cancelling that match so late in the proceedings certainly left Canada in the lurch. Other teams were busy and visas had to be agreed to by the government. In the end, Panama is the team that was best able to fill the gap.
And it most certainly was better than nothing. Particularly with Canada facing only Curaçao and Honduras in Nations League action.
Panama becomes the highest ranked nation they’ll face in the window at 61st in the world, and was a World Cup team, just four years ago at Russia 2018 (and boy, is that weird to say out loud).
The downside is, Iran was undoubtedly a stiffer test. Ranked 21st in the world, Iran would have also been a strange new side to discover. Not unlike what they’ll face in November. Instead, it’s the same old same old. A CONCACAF rival, full of players they’ve seen many times before.
But again, what choice did they have? It’s one thing to say Canada should have had their ducks in a row before this. But most European teams are pretty busy with a Nations League of their own. And convincing Asian or African or South American teams to travel this distance is difficult. Still, lesson learned.
And the truth of the matter is, selfishly, if Canada had managed to land a more exotic opponent, they may not have agreed to play on the turf at BC Place and this match may have been elsewhere. But in CONCACAF? Heck, this surface is considered top notch — it’s even brand new!
So, it’s not four matches this window, but at least it’s three. And it’s a legit threat, from a team that even beat Canada back in March.
The boys are back, and for that we can be grateful.
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