Canada Soccer has announced the opponent for the men’s pre-World Cup tune-up game in Qatar in November. Canada will face Asian powerhouse Japan in Dubai on November 17th, 2022, just six days ahead of their World Cup opener against Belgium.
Canada to face Japan as part of final preparations for 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar™— Canada Soccer (@CanadaSoccerEN) September 8, 2022
Both nations will play a friendly in Dubai on 17 November prior to their World Cup opening match less than a week later, with Canada set to face Belgium on 23 November in Group F.#WeCAN pic.twitter.com/qNZY35H7nv
Canada will be facing a strong opponent in Japan, who are currently ranked 24th in the FIFA World Ranking, while Canada sits 43rd. For those who place more stock in Elo rankings, Japan is currently ranked 29th, with Canada right behind in 30th. While this is Canada’s 2nd trip to the World Cup, Qatar will mark Japan’s 7th time participating.
Canada head coach John Herdman said in a statement accompanying the announcement,
“Japan have consistently progressed from the group stage at recent FIFA World Cups, so it will be a good test for the group,
Most of Japan’s core players ply their trade in Europe, as their top players have done for many years. Japan’s current team is expected to be a blend of veterans such as Genki Haraguchi, Yuha Osako, and Maya Yoshida, along with a mix of younger stars like Takehiro Tomiyasu, Takumo Minamino, and Daichi Kamada.
“With an eight-week gap between our September matches (against Qatar and Uruguay) and our first match at the FIFA World Cup, it is important for our players to experience that level of international intensity with our pre-tournament match against Japan,” Herdman added in his statement.
Japan’s opponents in Qatar in Group E are Germany, Costa Rica, and Spain. Canada takes on Belgium, Croatia and Morroco in Group F. As such, there is potential for a Round of 16 re-match between Canada and Japan during the tournament.
This will be the third time Japan and Canada have faced one another. Canada’s previous matches with Japan were both defeats at a time when Japan were the champions of Asia. Their first game resulted in a 3-0 defeat in May 2011 in Niigata, Japan, and their most recent encounter ended with a more narrow 2-1 loss in March 2013 in Doha. Qatar.
The latter game featured two current CanMNT players in the starting XI in Milan Borjan and Atiba Hutchinson. A teenaged Samuel Piette was an unused substitute. Marcus Haber is the answer to the trivia question of who scored Canada’s sole goal against Japan.
The game will be carried live on streaming service OneSoccer.