Ahead of their first FIFA World Cup appearance since 1986, Canada will play the hosts of this year’s tournament, Qatar, in a friendly in Vienna, Austria.
Canada head coach John Herdman named his squad for this window last Friday, which included some notable omissions. Jonathan Osorio was initially named to the team, but it was announced on Wednesday that the Toronto FC midfielder is staying back in the city to continue his recovery process - as he has currently been struggling with what he calls a “neurological dysfunction.” Centre-back Doneil Henry was not called up to the official roster, with the Brampton native having not seen much action since he returned to TFC in July. Yet, it was reported that Henry is in fact with the national team in Bratislava, but is only doing some light, individual work.
Captain Atiba Hutchinson is also not a part of this camp, as he has been suffering from a bone bruise that took place during pre-season with Besiktas. With two of Canada’s main midfielders missing, it will be interesting to see who will partner Stephen Eustáquio in the middle of the park. Reading midfielder Junior Hoilett is set to replace Hutchinson as captain for the game on Friday.
Canada has not played a meaningful game since June 13th - a CONCACAF Nations League matchup against Honduras, which resulted in a 2-1 defeat for Les Rouges.
On the other hand, Qatar has already played a match during this international break, which was a 3-0 defeat against Croatia’s U-23 team.
Expect to see a lot of rotation for both sides in this friendly, as both Qatar and Canada are using these games to see which fringe players will be most deserving to solidify a spot for themselves when the World Cup rolls around in November.
Qatar: Y. Hassan; Miguel, A. Hassan, Salman, Abdulwahhab, Kheder; Al-Haydos, Tarek, Hatem; Alaaeldin, Afif
Canada: Borjan; Johnston, Vitória, Miller, Laryea; Hoilett, Piette, Eustáquio, Buchanan; Ugbo, David