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CanMNT Played Well, but Failed to Convert Their Scoring Chances

Canada Defender, Samuel Adekugbe, Fights For the Ball with Hakim Ziyech as the CanMNT Played Well

Post-Match Talking Points – The CanMNT played well in the second half but their finishing was missing in the attacking third. They can compete with the best teams in the world, and they showed that against Morocco.

CanMNT Played Well but Did Not Convert on their Scoring Chances

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The CanMNT Troubled Morocco by Crossing the Ball into the Box

The CanMNT was not always successful. However, when they crossed the ball, they were able to trouble Morocco. The two most obvious were the own goal scored by Nayef Aguerd, which happened thanks to a great play and the run from Samuel Adekugbe. The other one was Atiba Hutchinson’s header that hit the bar thanks to a great cross following a corner kick from Junior Hoilett in the 71-minute.

Other examples include:

  • Cyle Larin got past a defender and crossed the ball into the box in the 15-minute. Unfortunately, Tajon Buchanan’s shot was off target.
  • Richie Laryea made a great run and passed the ball to Jonathan David, who was not able to pull the trigger.

With both Belgium and the Morocco games, they competed and could have gotten a result in both games. The problem is that they could not finish their scoring chances. That can be seen as both positive and negative.

CanMNT Was Not Ruthless Enough in the Final Third

What made the 2022 FIFA World Cup campaign frustrating for Canada was that they played well enough to get results. However, little mistakes and not converting on their scoring chances cost them dearly. Focusing on the scoring chances against Morocco, Canada had several shots, but not many shots on target.

In this particular game, Canada had five shots, but none on target. However, there were also other chances Canada had in this match as they were in Morocco’s half for most of the second half.

However, Morocco’s defence was strong like taking the ball away from David a couple of times. The Canadian team lacked ruthlessness throughout the game and it showed.

Looking at all the FIFA World Cup games, Canada had five shots and none on target against Morocco,  and against Croatia, Canada had eight shots and only two on target. The most glaring one was Belgium though. They had 22 shots and only three shots on target.

This is something that seems strange when looking at FIFA World Cup qualifying. In many of those games, the CanMNT had limited chances and they finished most of them off, just like when they won against Mexico at home and also the U.S. at home.

There is a case though of Alistair Johnston being fouled straight after Atiba Hutchinson almost headed the ball into the back of the net. Unfortunately, it was not called a penalty, and Hutchinson almost scoring shows that there is a fine line between success and failure.

Final Words and How the CanMNT was Built

The CanMNT has generated popularity with Sportsnet having 13 of the 14 games final round World Cup qualifying games being shown live in Canada. The other game was shown live on TV on TSN while OneSoccer continues to be a provider of these games as well.

This team was built of players who were immigrants or first-generation Canadians in Canada. More importantly, the growth and development of players that came from the three MLS teams were noteworthy. For example, Davies, Canada’s superstar from Edmonton, played with the Vancouver Whitecaps FC before making his name with FC Bayern Munich. Also, with the berth of the Canadian Premier League, the talent pool is likely going to deepen over many years. The relationship between CPL and the Canadian MLS teams is something to look at for future years to come.

Problems and Reasons for Optimism as the CanMNT Played Well

The problem is if Canada wins a major trophy like the Concacaf Gold Cup or the Concacaf Nations League, how would Canadians be able to watch those games? OneSoccer charges money, but it is a great streaming service for showing these games and it should continue to do so. However, TSN and/or Sportsnet should step up and show some of these Gold Cup or Concacaf Nations League games like they used to before OneSoccer came into existence.

READ MORE: CanWNT makes history with first-ever Olympic gold medal

Also, while the CanMNT has rightfully gained mainstream attention in Canada, the most popular national soccer team is still the CanWNT. Winning three medals in three-straight Olympics, including a gold medal in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, will do that. The CanMNT still has a way to go to generate respect and popularity for their team, which they should be able to do in the coming years.

With the last point, the CanMNT played well and will be expected to be in every FIFA World Cup now. Japan, who finished first in Group E in this World Cup also did not do well in the 1998 FIFA World Cup, also getting zero points. However, Japan had won three Asian Cup titles since then and has been in every FIFA World Cup since 1998. Canada should look at this as a blueprint to grow their sport and their leagues within the sport.

READ MORE: The CanMNT qualify for the 2022 World Cup with a 4-0 win

This is also their first-ever FIFA World Cup appearance since 1986. Canada, for the first time in its history, will be in all FIFA World Cups within a decade, as they co-host the FIFA World Cup in 2026 with Mexico and the U.S.


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