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CONCACAF suspends all competitions for 30 days; Canada Soccer cancels games

If the Olympics still take place this summer, it’s extremely unlikely that John Herdman’s side makes the Hex

Soccer: CONCACAF Nations League Soccer-USA at Canada
Oct 15, 2019; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Canada midfielder Alphonso Davies (12) stands with the player escorts during the national anthems before a CONCACAF Nations League soccer match against the USA at BMO Field. Mandatory Credit: Nick Turchiaro
Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

Canada Soccer has cancelled two national team international friendlies against Trinidad & Tobago and one against Australia due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The men’s team was set to face Trinidad & Tobago on March 27 and 31 in Langford B.C, while the women’s side were up against Australia on April 14 in Vancouver.

The announcement on the cancellations comes after CONCACAF suspended all soccer competition indefinitely over the next 30 days. The suspension will impact the 2020 Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League, the 2020 CONCACAF Men’s Olympic Qualifiers, the First Round of the CONCACAF 2021 Gold Cup Qualifiers (due to be played in the March 2020 FIFA Window), and the 2020 CONCACAF Caribbean Club Shield.

The March cancellations will affect the Men’s national team’s hopes of earning a spot in “the Hex”: a more direct route to 2022 World Cup qualifying in the region.

Currently ranked 73rd in FIFA rankings, and seventh in CONCACAF, two wins against Trinidad & Tobago would have delivered crucial points for John Herdman’s side in their quest to catch El Salvador in sixth.

The top-six CONCACAF teams after the June international window would make the so-called “Hex” qualifying round. From those six, three teams from the region would be able to qualify for the Qatar 2022 World Cup.

In addition to Canada’s World Cup hopes, they also had a legitimate shot at qualifying for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics this summer, an U-23 tournament. Qualifying for that event was set to take place later this month, but with Concacaf’s suspension of all competitions for the next 30 days, that will no longer be the case.

The suspension of the 2020 CONCACAF Men’s Olympic Qualifiers will prove for a tighter schedule when competition resumes. Should the Olympics still take place as scheduled, men’s soccer would technically kickoff on July 22. As it stands, CONCACAF is the only confederation still to determine which men’s nations have qualified; 14 other countries are already in the field.

Canada’s women’s national team, however, booked their spot to the Olympics through the Concacaf region following a 1-0 victory over Costa Rica in the tournament last month.