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FIFA WORLD CUP: How Team Canada has ‘captured the imagination’ of a country – National

For football fans across Canada, it was a long wait – nearly four decades – for the men’s national team to qualify for the FIFA World Cup.

With less than a month to go before the event begins in Qatar – the first Middle Eastern country to host the World Cup – excitement and anticipation are building.

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Qatar’s 12-year journey as hosts of the FIFA World Cup is just a month away

Longtime Ottawa supporter Alex Ho will travel to Doha next month. He has bought tickets to all three of Team Canada’s group games.

“This is my first personal participation in a World Cup,” said the 53-year-old accountant and member of the Voyageurs fan club.

“I think everyone who’s going is excited, everyone who’s going to be watching on TV is excited. That’ll be something.”

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Ho expects thousands of Canadian fans like him to be in the stands to support the team in Qatar.

Canadian soccer fans.

Photo credit: The Voyageurs

While the Canada women’s soccer team has a storied past – most recently winning Olympic gold in Tokyo last year – this is only the second time the men have appeared in football’s greatest spectacle.

The last time was 36 years ago in Mexico when Team Canada lost all three group games and failed to score a single goal.

Ho, then a teenager, vividly recalls watching the 1986 tournament.

“It was a hard working team, some capable players but really inferior,” he recalls.

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Canada men’s soccer team meets Belgium, Morocco and Croatia in the first round of the World Cup

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With a stronger, hungry and younger side, Canada have a chance to do better this time around despite entering as underdogs, analysts say.

“This group captured the imagination of the country in a way few Canadian athletes and teams have before,” said Gareth Wheeler, Senior Commentator at OneSoccer.

“This is a chance for them to send a message to the world that the future really is now and that these very young players are truly mature beyond their years and ready to take Canada to new heights,” he told Global News.

In the same group as runners-up Belgium, 2018 runners-up Croatia and second-best African side Morocco, Team Canada will have their hands full.

“It’s going to be a real test playing against some of the best teams in the world,” said Wheeler.

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New biography about Canadian soccer superstar Alphonso Davies

With greater media coverage, more facilities and the development of youth programming, football is becoming increasingly popular in Canada.

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The country is also preparing to host the next 2026 FIFA World Cup alongside the United States and Mexico.

“It’s a chance to write the next chapter and a much more positive script for the future of Canadian football, especially as we look towards hosting the 2026 World Cup,” Wheeler said.

Continue reading:

Canada beat hosts Qatar 2-0 in men’s friendly

Vijay Setlur, a marketing lecturer at York University’s Schulich School of Business, said playing in Qatar was a “great development” that could add value to football in that country.

“Hopefully this success will bring new fans to the team and maybe take them away from the land of their ancestors,” he said.

Members of the Canada national soccer team celebrate after going head-to-head on Sunday, May 27th.


Canada’s final squad for the World Cup has not yet been officially announced.

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Before their first group game against Belgium on November 23, Canada will play two warm-up games against Bahrain and Japan.

Canada meets Croatia on November 27th and Morocco on December 1st

The top two teams in the group advance to the round of 16 of the 32-country tournament.

— with files from The Canadian Press

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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