We now know which three teams Canada will face off against when the 2022 FIFA World Cup gets underway in November.
Canada was drawn into Group F, where they will play alongside Belgium, Morocco and Croatia. As a result of slotting as No. 2, the Canadians will play Belgium to open the World Cup. Canada was the last ball taken in the draw.
Canada officially clinched a spot in Qatar on March 27 when the club beat Jamaica 4-0 at a packed BMO Field in Toronto. It is the first time a Canadian squad qualified for a World Cup since 1986 when the red and white played in Mexico. They failed to win a match and were outscored 5-0.
Canada’s game against Belgium will be played on November 23. Belgium finished third at the 2018 World Cup. The Canadians are ranked 38th in the world compared to No. 2 for Belgium, No. 16 for Croatia and No, 24 for Morocco.
The FIFA World Cup will run from November 21, 2022, to December 18.
Full World Cup 2022 group rankings:
- Qatar (A1)
- Ecuador (A2)
- Senegal (A3)
- Netherlands (A4)
- England (B1)
- Iran (B2)
- USA (B3)
- TBD (B4)
- Argentina (C1)
- Saudi Arabia (C2)
- Mexico (C3)
- Poland (C4)
- France (D1)
- TBD (D2)
- Denmark (D3)
- Tunisia (D4)
- Spain (E1)
- TBD (E2)
- Germany (E3)
- Japan (E4)
- Belgium (F1)
- Canada (F2)
- Morocco (F3)
- Croatia (F4)
- Brazil (G1)
- Serbia (G2)
- Switzerland (G3)
- Cameroon (G4)
- Portugal (H1)
- Ghana (H2)
- Uruguay (H3)
- Korea (H4)
— Canada Soccer (@CanadaSoccerEN) April 1, 2022
Canada avoided some stiff competition in other groups, such as Group E, which includes heavyweights in Spain and Germany. Japan is also widely considered a strong underdog, as well.
“This is the moment we have all dreamt of — to see Canada pulled out of one of these pots,” head coach John Herdman said. “This is going to be another opportunity to show that we are a new Canada. We will go in with no fear, knowing that we’ve already built a culture on grit and determination.”
“We will be smart, but not scared,” Herdman added.
Canada was ineligible to be slotted in the same group as the U.S. and Mexico. In Group B, Team USA will eventually play England in what should be a match for the ages.
Following its loss to Panama on Wednesday night, Canada entered draw day in Pot 4.
Canada could have improved its seeding. Nigeria’s elimination and Tunisia’s draw with Mali on Tuesday meant that a Canadian victory over Panama would have bumped Les Rouges to 30th in the world rankings and into Pot 3.
The 32 teams were split into four pots consisting of eight teams each.
All Pot 1 teams were randomly placed into Groups B to H (Qatar is automatically in Group A as host). Teams are placed into the pots based on their FIFA world ranking on March 31. As host of the World Cup, Qatar was automatically seeded. The seven best-ranked teams – Brazil, Belgium, France, Argentina, England, Spain and Portugal – made up the rest of Pot 1 with the Qataris.
From there, the following eight best-ranked teams were slotted in Pot 2. This includes the Netherlands, Denmark, Mexico, Germany, USA, Switzerland, Uruguay and Croatia. Then the following eight best-ranked eight countries, and so on.
The remainder of Pot 4 includes the inter-confederation playoff winners. Peru faces the winner of Australia and the United Arab Emirates in one single-legged matchup. The Oceania qualifier will face Costa Rica in the other playoff. Those victors will advance to the World Cup and be in Pot 4.
The UEFA qualifying winner of the Wales/Scotland/Ukraine playoff path is also in Pot 4.
Four-time champions and winners of UEFA Euro 2020, Italy, failed to qualify for a second successive World Cup for the first time in their history, losing in the qualification play-off semi-finals against North Macedonia.
With files from Sportsnet