The Canadian men’s national soccer team has sparked hope among Canadian soccer fans that qualification for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar could be a genuine possibility.
If they succeed, it will be the team’s most significant achievement since:
- 1985, when they finished champions of CONCACAF (Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football) and qualified for the 1986 World Cup finals.
- The year 2000, when they lifted the CONCACAF Gold Cup and qualified for the 2001 FIFA Confederation Cup.
Thanks to a well-earned 1-1 draw with Mexico at the Estadio Azteca in Mexico City last Thursday night, Canada sits third in the CONCACAF World Cup third round qualifier standings behind the USA in first place and Mexico in second.
If they can maintain their third place, they will automatically qualify for the finals in Qatar next year.
It is the first time that Canada has achieved a draw against Mexico since 1981. They secured the result thanks to a goal from their star midfielder, 29-year-old Jonathan Osorio, who slotted home the equalizer in the 42nd minute, just before halftime.
After the match, Osorio gave full credit for his goal to 20-year-old Alphonso Davies, whose brilliantly contrived pass, split the Mexican defence, taking out four players, to present Osorio with the chance. After the match, Osorio said, “That goal is all Phonzie – he gets all the credit.”
The 20-year-old plays club football for one of the best teams in Europe, Bayern Munich, who have dominated Germany’s Bundesliga for the past nine years.
That dominance is due largely to the extraordinary goal-scoring ability of Polish-born Robert Lewandowski. At 33 years of age, he has just broken the record for the most goals scored in the Bundesliga in one season. The record was 40 goals, scored by the legendary German goal scorer, Gerd Müller, whose nickname was “der bomber.” He also played for Bayern Munich.
In the 90th minute of Bayern’s last game of the season against Augsburg, Lewandowski scored his 41st goal of the season, breaking Gerd Müller’s record, which has stood for 49 years. It was no fluke. Earlier last season, Sportingbet placed Lewandowski as the second deadliest striker in Europe behind Lionel Messi. Since then, he has overtaken him.
But strikers, even the best in the world, can’t score goals without help from their teammates, and one of Lewandowski’s teammates at Bayern is Canada’s Alphonso Davies. With just seven appearances to his name for his Bavarian club, Davies has already notched two assists, and it’s all down to his new role.
He has switched from being an attacking fullback to the role of a wide striker. It is the same switch made by Gareth Bale, and he became one of the best strikers in Europe.
The same could be true for Davies. His two assists for Bayern, plus his wonder pass that set up Osorio to level for Canada against Mexico, indicate he is on the right road.
There is no doubt that Alphonso Davies is the new star for the Canadian men’s national football team, and he could make all the difference in assuring Canada gets to the upcoming World Cup finals in Qatar.