TORONTO, Canada—History was made Tuesday night as the Canadian men’s national team are through to the final round of World Cup Qualifying for the first time in 25 years.
So what’s next for Canada?
“We know that we have work to do, by no means are we done here,” said Toronto FC midfielder Jonathan Osorio. “Our objective is to qualify for the World Cup, not the octagon.”
Canada will be one of eight teams competing in the final stage of CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying alongside the United States, Mexico, Honduras, Jamaica, Costa Rica, El Salvador, and Panama.
Between September and March 22, they’ll play 14 matches among the group, twice against each side—a home and home—beginning Sept. 2 at home vs. Honduras. The top three finishers will earn automatic berths to Qatar, while the fourth-place team will head to an intercontinental playoff with a final ticket to Qatar on the line.
Below is the full Final Round schedule for the Canadian men’s national team.
ICYMI: #CANMNT are through to the Final Round of #WCQ2022! pic.twitter.com/5IOWmUlvTZ— Canada Soccer (@CanadaSoccerEN) June 16, 2021
As for where these next set of matches will be played, the answer to that question remains up in the air. But with rumblings that boarder restrictions will be loosened by then, as Osorio illustrates, there’s hope that the team will be able to play in front of home fans for the first time since they defeated the United States at BMO Field in October 2019.
“We start in September, we’re looking forward to it,” said Osorio. “We hope that things get better by that time and we have fans back in the stands and we can play those games in Canada because I know it’ll be electric and we will have the country behind us.
“This group here, everybody—players and staff—we deserve it. We deserve that backing from the country and we want that backing—that belief.”