There are few good teams that fly under the radar quite as much as the Indiana Pacers. The team has been consistently solid for the past decade, but outside of a couple trips to the Eastern Conference Finals, they have not been seen as a serious threat come playoff time. With each of the Pacers' last five seasons ending in...
Far-Fetched Friday: Canada Will Qualify for Their Second World Cup in 2022
Alphonso Davies' emergence on the world stage has put Canada on the map of the football world. Davies played a huge role in Bayern's recent Champions League victory and already looks like he could be the best left-back in the world. But the growth of Canadian national team players does not stop with Davies.
Welcome back to Far-Fetched Friday, where every Friday we give you a bold prediction that we believe will come to fruition. This Friday we look at Canada, the most polite country in the world, and what they could potentially do in the World Cup.
Jonathan David is another young player who has the potential to be world-class, as well. David has spent the last couple of years at Gent, one of the top clubs in Belgium, and has already played in the Europa League. David has now transferred over to Lille in France, which is a great "stepping stone" club for him to get playing time and exposure for a bigger club to scoop him up in a few seasons. Lille has produced two big departures in just the last two offseasons, sending Victor Osimhen to Napoli this summer for 70 million, and Nicolas Pepe last summer to Arsenal for 80 million.
It may seem obvious that Canada would be able to qualify out of the CONCACAF region with these two players representing them, but qualifying in the past has always been tough for them. The only time in Canada's history they have been to the World Cup was back in 1986. Last time in the World Cup qualifying Canada wasn't even in the final 6 teams from the region to fight for the spots at the World Cup.
Everyone should be aware of the fact that qualifying from CONCACAF is not easy, especially after the US didn't qualify for the World Cup for the first time since Canada was last in the competition, 1986.
Although again, just because Canada has Alphonso Davies doesn't ensure that Canada can make it to the World Cup next time around. There have been plenty of fantastic players from smaller countries that could never carry their country to the world's biggest competition. Two prime examples of this would be George Best and George Weah.
George Best is one of the more iconic players in the history of the game. He was a part of a Manchester United squad that included many legendary players, but as good as he was, he could never carry Northern Ireland to the World Cup.
George Weah is in the conversation for the greatest African player of all-time and was even a Ballon d'Or winner. Even still, his home country, Liberia, has still yet to ever qualify for the competition. Now certainly one could make the argument that qualifying from Europe and Africa are much more challenging tasks than the CONCACAF region, but even as good as Alphonso is, he still isn't on the level of those legends yet.
It shouldn't be any real debate that this Canadian national team is as good as it has ever been. A lot of the pressure will be on the young stars Davies and David, but Canada has a good amount of other capable and experienced players that should be just as hungry to make it to a World Cup.
Atiba Hutchinson is an experienced leader that has been a journeyman throughout Europe. Even at the age of 37, he still plays for Besiktas and continues to prove that age is just a number. Scott Arfield and Junior Hoilett are both players that have played in multiple divisions in England, including the Premier League. The MLS is, obviously, also a popular place for Canadians to play, and there are quite a few that have stood out recently. Mark Anthony Kaye for LAFC has been integral in midfield for the best team the MLS has to offer. Lucas Cavallini joined Vancouver as a designated player from Liga MX and is a very useful forward. Max Crepeau is, potentially, one of the better goalkeepers in the league from Montreal, and Johnathon Osorio has been a vital piece in Toronto FC's MLS Cup runs. This group is good enough and should be determined enough to qualify for a World Cup even before they get a free spot in 2026.
Now only three teams automatically qualify from CONCACAF, with one more getting the chance to make it through a play-in game. On paper, the US and Mexico usually stand out from the other countries. Costa Rica have easily established themselves as the third best nation in the region in recent years, while Panama qualified for the first World Cup just back in 2018. Honduras and Trinidad & Tobago have more than proven themselves to be no pushovers in recent years as well.
So the road to the World Cup will not be easy, but the squad Canada is starting to be able to put together is as ready as they have ever been.