On Aug. 19, the Canadian Men’s National Team learned about their Group B opponents to start off the first round of FIFA World Cup qualifying. Currently ranked 73, Canada has the highest FIFA ranking in Group B and the seventh-highest ranking in Concacaf.
The Canadian Men’s National Team Stage One Qualifying
Suriname — was promoted to Concacaf Nations League A — has a FIFA ranking of 141 and is 15th ranked in Concacaf. These are one of the two teams Canada should be aware of. They have their own league called SVB Topklasses, which was founded in 1924.
Suriname has never made the FIFA World Cup and never made the Concacaf Gold Cup. However, they made two appearances in the Concacaf Championship, the predecessor to the Concacaf Gold Cup in 1977 and 1985. Their best performance was finishing sixth in the 1977 Concacaf Championship.
While they will be an underdog against the Canadian Men’s National Team, they could also create an upset against Canada. In the Concacaf Nations qualifying campaign, Suriname almost got a result against Jamaica. They ended up losing that game 2-1. They also got results in the Concacaf Nations League B. Suriname will be Canada’s last group stage opponent on Nov. 17, 2020.
Bermuda ranked 168 and 22 in Concacaf, is probably Canada’s toughest opponent. Yes, Suriname is the higher-ranked team, but Bermuda has accomplished more in the last few years. They along with Canada were one of the top six teams in the Concacaf Nations League qualifying.
Bermuda was in both the top-level of the Concacaf Nations League — now in League B — and made the 2019 Concacaf Gold Cup. Furthermore, Bermuda only allowed one goal in the last four World Cup qualifying cycles according to FIFA. They will be a tough team to eliminate for any Concacaf team. Furthermore, Bermuda was able to get big wins as underdogs. In the Concacaf Nations League qualifying, they were able to defeat El Salvador 1-0.
More shockingly, in the Concacaf Nations League A, they were able to defeat Panama, a team that made the last FIFA World Cup. They won 2-0 in Panama City in the Concacaf Nations League and almost got a result against Mexico. Nahki Wells, who currently plays for Championship club Bristol City scored two goals against Panama in that game.
.@QPR’s Nahki Wells said Bermuda’s clash next month with Mexico could be the ‘biggest game of their lives’.
He scored both of Bermuda’s goals in their 2-0 win vs Panama yesterday.
A big feat considering Panama were in the 2018 World Cup last summer. #QPR
[Video: CONCACAF] pic.twitter.com/vEWXwZo09r
— Nick Kituno (@kituno_sport) September 9, 2019
They also were competitive against Haiti and Jamaica in the Concacaf Gold Cup in 2019. They lost both games 2-1 but were able to close their 2019 Gold Cup campaign with a 2-0 win over Nicaragua. Bermuda will be Canada’s first and most difficult group stage game. The group stage game will take place on Oct. 8, 2020.
The Bermudian Premier Division is the highest level of soccer in Bermuda. The league was founded in 1963.
The Cayman Islands are ranked 193 in the world and 29 in Concacaf. The Cayman Islands Premier League is their top league, which was established in 1980. However, they had no local team that appears in the Concacaf Champions League.
The Cayman Islands have never made the Concacaf Gold Cup and only got one point in the Concacaf Nations League qualifying campaign. Canada will be the overwhelming favorites in this matchup which will take place on Oct. 11.
The Cayman Islands did get a big 3-2 win over Barbados. This was in the Concacaf Nations League C group stage game.
The Cayman Islands national men’s football team is celebrating a rare achievement, after beating Barbados 3-2 on Sunday night (8 September), their second win in as many games to begin their CONCACAF Nations League campaign and sit atop their group.https://t.co/Rhv3uo2Yq6 pic.twitter.com/U25o7yzFmU
— Cayman Sports Buzz (@CaySportsBuzz) September 10, 2019
Aruba — now in Concacaf Nations League C — is the lowest-ranked team of the four Concacaf teams in the group. They are ranked 200 in the world and 31 in Concacaf. It will be important for Canada to get a high goal differential against them if they have a setback against Suriname and/or Bermuda. The game between Aruba and Canada will take place on Nov. 14, 2020.
Since 1960, they have a top league called Aruban Division di Honor or Campeonato AVB Aruba Bank. The winner of that league enters the first round of the CFU Club Championship which starts the road to the Concacaf Champions League. In the Concacaf Nations League qualifying, they defeated Bermuda 3-1 and tied with Guadeloupe 0-0.
Cambridge United's Reggie Lambe captained Bermuda as they lost 3-1 vs Aruba in the CONCACAF Nations League yesterdayhttps://t.co/hoXF5UQ9NZ pic.twitter.com/HYrqeMZnUI
— BBC Cambs Sport (@BBCCambsSport) September 10, 2018
Overview of the Canadian Men’s National Team Qualifying Group
Canada’s World Cup qualifying campaign will start on Oct. 8 against Bermuda. By all odds, Canada is the best team. The main thing is to not let their guard down against Suriname and especially Bermuda. This is especially important when each team only plays four games in total in the group stage.
Both Bermuda and Suriname were upset by lower-ranked teams. Bermuda lost to Aruba 3-1 in the Concacaf Nations League qualifying campaign. Furthermore, Suriname tied with Dominica to open their Concacaf Nations League qualifying campaign.
Canada might have two of the top five players in Concacaf. Everyone knows of Alphonso Davies and his rise to FC Bayern Munich. He has now won the UEFA Champions League title. There is also Jonathan David, a native of Ottawa who according to the Associated Press recently signed with Lille. He played his first game with Lille against Stade Rennes on Saturday. Lille tied with Stade Rennes 1-1.
🎙 Alphonso Davies
"Dreams do come true and I just want to say thank you to everyone supporting me from back home."
🍁 #UCLFinal pic.twitter.com/FbGT3gP2y4
— Canada Soccer (@CanadaSoccerEN) August 23, 2020
The winner of this group will face the winner of Group E. This group contains Haiti, Nicaragua, Belize, Saint Lucia and the Turks and Caicos Islands. The winners of Group B and Group E will play each other in a home and away over two legs in March. This will be the second stage of the FIFA World Cup qualifying in Concacaf. The winner of that two-leg series will advance to the octagonal. This is the final stage of the FIFA World Cup qualifying in Concacaf.
🥁 Here's the draw results for the first round of @Concacaf's #WCQ for Qatar 2022! pic.twitter.com/GQboSAnl39
— FIFA World Cup (@FIFAWorldCup) August 19, 2020