READ ALSO. LOOK AT. The Red Devils play against Canada in this stadium: brand new, equipped with air conditioning and a luxurious dressing room
1. Never scored at World Cup
The World Cup for Canada is a historic event. The Canadians are only participating in a world championship for the second time and the last participation dates back to 1986. At the World Cup in Mexico, Canada was then in a group with the Soviet Union, France and Hungary. They went home with 0 points and 0 goals. The French beat them 1-0, the other two matches were lost 2-0. The first big goal of The Canucks here in Qatar is to score that first World Cup goal and then grab points.
2. Slogan No Fear and #ouican
The Canadians certainly believe in it. In the meantime it has started to snow in the home country, but in Vancouver, Toronto,… the fans are warming up for this World Cup. The national team fuels the national fire. In Canada, 60 percent of the population has English as their mother tongue, while 24 percent pick up French at home. The tweets about the national football team are therefore launched under the hashtag #ouican. This not only refers to oui and Canada, but also to the slogan Yes, we can. Inventive.
The hoodies that the players sometimes wear also bear the slogan: No fear.
3. History win against USA
Canada experienced a historic World Cup qualifying campaign. In their group, they actually finished first ahead of Mexico and the USA, which have a greater football history. The click that they could make it as a football country took place in October 2019. Then they beat big brother USA 2-0 for the first time in 34 years in the CONCACAF, a kind of Nations League on the American continent. The goals were scored by Alphonso Davies and Lucas Cavallini. Liam Fraser, the midfielder who now plays football at SK Deinze and is also at the World Cup, made his debut in that match. He then came on for the injured Mark-Anthony Kaye in the first half and played a hell of a match. That victory was celebrated as if the Canadians had become world champions.
4. Fans of De Bruyne
The same Mark-Anthony Kaye, a midfielder who now plays for Toronto in the MLS, is also a big fan of Kevin De Bruyne. He would very much like to change shirts tonight after the match with King Kev who could also be his direct opponent. But he’s not the only one. In Canada, news items have already been made about which player will conquer which Belgian shirt.
5. Coach has made history, despite a turbulent childhood
John Herdman has more than made his mark on Canadian football. The Englishman is the first coach who managed to qualify for the final round of a World Cup with both the women’s and the men’s team. With the women he also took two bronze medals at the Olympic Games. It earned him interest from the English Football Association, but Herdman chose to work with the Canadian men.
Herdman’s life path is remarkable. He grew up in the north of England. His father was an electrician, he suffered from psychological problems. His mother was addicted to alcohol. The family ended up in a vicious circle, also financially. Herdman tried to escape the misery through football and boxing. One day he got into a fight with some guys, after which he was badly beaten to such an extent that his life was in danger. At the age of sixteen he was given accommodation in a social housing. From that difficult situation, he still wanted to make a career, preferably in football. He didn’t get many opportunities in England, so he moved to New Zealand in 2001. It was only from that moment on that his career gained momentum.
In Qatar, Herdman enjoys every minute. And wants to get as far as possible: “From my window I can see the stadium of the final. It makes me dream.”
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6. Captain received help from… Lieven Maesschalck
At 39, Atuiba Hutchinson is the oldest outfield player in the World Cup. The fact that he is in Qatar at all is also thanks to a Belgian. Hutchinson, a Besiktas player with a past at PSV, had some ailments in recent months, but they were partly resolved thanks to the magical hands of Belgian physiotherapist Lieven Maesschalck. Hutchinson is a regular customer in Antwerp.
“I have been to Lieven a few times in recent months,” the midfielder laughed at the press conference. “He helped me a lot. It will be fun to play against each other. I want to win.”
7. Once against Belgium, but lost
Belgium and Canada faced each other only once. That was on June 8, 1989 in Ottawa. The Red Devils won 0-2. Jan Ceulemans and Marc Degryse scored after the break. Belgium started with Preud’homme, Gerets, De Sart, Sanders, Albert, Emmers, Van der Elst, Vervoort, Degryse, Van der Linden and Ceulemans. Belgium coach was Guy Thys, Canada was managed by Bob Lenarduzzi, a former defender who was part of the squad at the 1986 World Cup. He is honored in the Canadian Hall of Fame.
8. Already assured of a spot at the 2026 World Cup
“Whether this World Cup isn’t mainly a preparation for the next one?” It was a question that passed a few times at the press conference in recent days. The Canadian players and trainers are horrified: they already want to perform and aim for the second round. It does show how hard the 2026 World Cup is in Canada. That tournament will take place in June and July 2026 in Canada, Mexico and the United States. So Canada is definitely there and then the local population expects that the Golden Generation will really surprise the world. There are two Canadian host cities: Toronto and Vancouver.