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World Cup Qualifying: CanMNT back in action for first time since January 2020

The men’s national team’s first competitive match in more than a year kicks off their World Cup Qualifying campaign

Soccer: CONCACAF Nations League Soccer-USA at Canada
Alphonso Davies, and the Men’s National Team begin their World Cup Qualifying campaign against Bermuda.
Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

TORONTO, Canada—It’s been a long time coming, but the Canadian men’s national team is back in action on Thursday night against Bermuda, as they look to get their 2022 World Cup Qualifying campaign off on a positive note. Kickoff is scheduled for 8 pm ET and will be available to watch on OneSoccer.

The last time the Canadian men’s national team were involved in a competitive fixture was January 2020, however, most of their regulars were absent from that camp. This will be the best Canada team to play in a match since 2019, when they took on the US in a pair of matches, including a memorable 2-0 win at BMO Field on Oct. 15, 2019.

Despite usual players like Lille forward Jonathan David (COVID restrictions) and Toronto FC’s Jonathan Osorio (injury) unavailable for selection, John Herdman will have a strong pool to pick from after the Canadian Soccer Association was able to recall most of their regulars.

The men’s national team program did hold a camp back in January, but with COVID travel restrictions, some of the key players who will feature in upcoming games weren’t part of that camp. With such a long layoff, being back in National Team camp—and playing meaningful games—is something veteran midfielder Atiba Hutchinson is looking forward to.

“The environment we have right now is great within the team,” said Hutchinson. “We’re excited to have our group together again and we are looking forward to getting this campaign underway and hopefully doing something incredible for our country.”

With limited practice time, it will have made it significantly more difficult for Herdman to impose his ideas onto the squad. Coupled with the fact that a number of players are still in preseason form will likely mean that Herdman will rely on players who have been playing regularly in Europe. Luckily, there are plenty to choose from—including Bayern Munich star Alphonso Davies.

As the squad was announced, Davies being listed as a forward raised some eyebrows. The 20 year old, who is typically deployed as a fullback for Bayern Munich, has played in a defensive and attacking role while with the national team. The Canadian Head Coach has stated his desire to play Davies in his listed attacking role this time around, but also noted that his flexibility will allow for game-to-game and in-game adjustments.

“That is the role he’ll be playing in this environment,” Herdman claimed. “But as I say, he has that flexibility, so [with] in-game changes, very quickly he could start at full-back and end up in a wide forward position. In some games, we can operate with more of a wingback.”

Whether Davies plays as a forward or as a fullback, Canada has a lot of strength in attack. With Lucas Cavallini, Junior Hoillet, and Cyle Larin as potential options, the Canadian Head Coach should have no problem picking attacking players to trouble the 169th ranked Bermuda.

Following the men’s national team match, Canada’s U23 squad led by Tajon Buchanan will take on Honduras in their Group B finale—a make or break game for the red-and-white in their quest to qualify for their first Olympic Games since 1984. That match will also be available on OneSoccer beginning at 10 pm ET as part of a Super Thursday of international soccer coverage.

How to watch:

vs: Bermuda
Where: Orlando, FL, USA
Kickoff: 8 pm EST