Canada completed step one of its journey to the 2022 FIFA World Cup on Sunday, officially punching its ticket with a 4-0 victory over Jamaica.
It was the culmination of a qualifying journey that began in Orlando last March, with Canada officially making the men’s World Cup for the first time in 36 years.
As for step two: make some noise at this year’s tournament in Qatar.
Canada didn’t score a goal in its lone appearance at the FIFA World Cup back in 1986 in Mexico, losing all three of their group stage games.
But the Canadians believe things will be different this time around.
“We’re only getting started,” Canada’s head coach John Herdman told Sportsnet’s Arash Madani yesterday. “I still can’t believe it. I’ve been preaching this belief… but when it finally happens… I don’t know, speechless.”
Herdman took over the men’s national side in 2018 after having coached the women’s team since 2011.
He is the first coach anywhere in the world to lead both a men’s and women’s team to the FIFA World Cup while also picking up two Olympic bronze medals along the way.
“We’ve got Canadians going to the World Cup,” Herdman added. “We’re a football country. That’s all we ever wanted. We wanted that respect. We wanted people to believe we’re a football country, and we all know we’ve proved that.”
The qualifying journey isn’t quite over, with Canada still having their final CONCACAF game against Panama on Wednesday evening. It doesn’t mean much for Canada after having already qualified, while Panama was eliminated via a 5-1 loss against the USA yesterday.
Canada played their final two windows — six games after Wednesday — without star Alphonso Davies, who was unable to join the team due to his recovery from myocarditis (heart muscle inflammation) following a case of COVID-19. But back in Germany, Davies broke down in tears streaming the end of the match on Twitch.
Canada awaits Friday’s draw for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. They’ll know their opponents and, soon enough, the schedule for the 32-team tournament that kicks off on November 21.