World Cup 2022: In 1986, when Canada made its only appearance at the World Cup, it failed to score; A young group wants to change that in Qatar.
Montreal, Canada—To make history in Qatar, Canada only needs one goal.
After their first and only appearance at the World Cup in Mexico in 1986, the Canada men’s national soccer team is making its second appearance at the sport’s most prestigious competition.
But the team lost all three games in the first round of this tournament 36 years ago because they didn’t score a single goal. This set the stage for a potentially historic moment in Qatar in 2022.
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According to Alan McDougall, history professor at the University of Guelph in Ontario and author of Contested Fields: Modern Football: A Global History
He told Al Jazeera: “But Canada’s football has come a long way since then and I think there’s good reason to be optimistic that the 2022 team will do better than their 1986 predecessor.”
“There is no doubt that the 2022 team has a chance to correct some mistakes from history.”
When Canada take on Belgium, runners-up in the world, in their first competitive game at the Al Rayyan Stadium on Wednesday, they face a formidable obstacle.
The two nations met only once, in 1989, when Belgium defeated the United States 2-0 in an international friendly in Ottawa.
This time around, the 41st-placed Canadian team are banking on a boost from superstar Alphonso Davies, 22, who recently picked up a hamstring injury with Bundesliga side Bayern Munich.
On Sunday, Davies told Canadian broadcaster TSN that just weeks before the start of the World Cup, the injury was “devastating” for both the team and himself; “Luckily it wasn’t too bad an injury,” and he expects to be on the field early in the game against Belgium.
The winger explained: “I think I can start the first game and play the first game.” If it was 50/50 they wouldn’t put me on the field.
According to Les Jones, former chairman of the Canadian Soccer Hall of Fame, “Canada’s motto of ‘nothing to fear’ has proved appropriate in the past because they’ve beaten teams they didn’t expect to beat.”
By qualifying for the 2022 World Cup, Jones claims Canada has “already exceeded all expectations”. Success now comes first in the group stage, with Canada taking on Belgium, Croatia and Morocco.
Jones explained: “Some hope for a goal, some for a point, some for a win.” However, I believe that the team and coach John Herdman aim to “qualify” for the knockout stages. , this is the next level of competition.
Given the surprises at the World Cup so far, Jones sees reason for optimism. The underdogs are doing well after Tuesday’s results: He told Al Jazeera: “Saudi Arabia beat Argentina and Tunisia drew against Denmark.”
Jones explained that Canada did better than expected by keeping France scoreless until the 78th minute of the 1986 World Cup. In the end, Les Bleus prevailed 1-0.
Jones explained, “A lot of people were expecting [France] to score double digits.” So we’ve been surprised before and hope to be surprised again.
Meanwhile, the majority of pundits believe Canada has a good chance of scoring the elusive first World Cup goal.
According to University of Toronto statistics professor Jeffrey Rosenthal, who recently spoke to U of T News, “I’m pretty confident” the team has scored at least once in seven of their last 10 games.
According to Rosenthal, “The probability of not scoring at least one goal in all three upcoming group games is only 2.7 percent, which means that there is a 97.3 percent probability that they will score at least once,” Rosenthal said. The team have scored at least once in seven of the last ten
This calculation isn’t entirely fair as some of their group opponents might be stronger than their previous opponents. Still, I would give them a chance of at least one goal greater than 80%.
It remains to be seen which player will pass the ball past a goalkeeper and when.
Wednesday’s game against Belgium is the first chance, followed by games against Croatia on November 27 and Morocco on December 1.