The 2022 FIFA World Cup begins in less than 250 days, meaning nations still in contention to qualify will soon figure out whether or not they will be boarding a plane to Qatar in November.
As has been the case for every international break since the beginning of 2022 World Cup qualifying, Toronto FC will have a few representatives on duty with their respective national teams. Three players from three different countries and member associations will join up with their compatriots in a bid to punch their nation’s ticket to world football’s most prestigious tournament.
Jonathan Osorio (Canada), Chris Mavinga (Democratic Republic of Congo) and incoming summer signing Lorenzo Insigne (Italy) will all learn their country’s World Cup fates by the end of the month.
In what’s set to be an international break for the ages, here’s what Toronto FC’s call-ups and their national sides have in store this window:
Canada - Jonathan Osorio
The job’s almost done for the Canadian men’s national team.
Les Rouges have been CONCACAF’s formidable force over the last several months and have no plans of slowing down. John Herdman and co. will have their sights set on maintaining their unbeaten record to cap off a momentous qualifying campaign for the men’s national team program.
Osorio has featured in all but one of Canada’s matches thus far, and there’s no doubt that TFC’s all-time appearance leader will be play a vital role in his side’s final three fixtures.
Victory in Canada’s first game of the international break, which is away to Costa Rica is away to Costa Rica on March 24th, will seal qualification to Qatar. A draw may also be enough, an outcome that will depend on other results on the same day.
After the match in San José, Les Rouges return home to take on Jamaica at BMO Field (Mar. 27th), a game which could see Osorio go up against his former TFC teammate, Kemar Lawrence.
Canada’s window and qualifying campaign will then conclude on the road to Panama (Mar. 30th), where (knock on wood) Herdman’s men will already be thinking about the World Cup group stage draw, which takes place on April 1st.
Democratic Republic of Congo - Chris Mavinga
Following a brief absence from the national team fold, Mavinga is back on duty for his country and what a momentous one it could be for him and the DRC.
Having finished top of their group in the second round, the DRC advanced to the third and final stage of qualifying, where they will face Morocco in a two-legged affair to determine who will claim one of CAF’s five available slots for the tournament in Qatar.
The Leopards have only ever played at one World Cup (West Germany 1974), so dispatching a CAF heavyweight to qualify will undoubtedly serve as one of the greatest moments in the history of the DRC national team.
Mavinga and co. will host the first leg on March 25th before journeying to Rabat for the return fixture on March 29th.
Italy - Lorenzo Insigne
With so much entertaining action to look forward to this international break, Italy’s potential route to Qatar is one you should keep your eyes on.
The European champions are at risk of missing out on a second straight FIFA World Cup, a record the Azzurri would rather not have in their history books.
Insigne is no stranger to playing on the biggest stages for his country, and TFC’s marquee signing is poised to play a prominent role for Italy in their bid to avoid another World Cup qualification failure.
The Azzurri play host to North Macedonia in the Path C semi-final on March 24th at the Stadio Renzo Barbera in Palermo. Should they emerge victorious, Italy will face either Portugal or Turkey in a game that will decide who gets on a plane to Qatar in November.