PREVIEW – The Final Round of Concacaf World Cup Qualifying continues on Thursday night as the CanMNT returns to action. They will get a rematch with Mexico following this year’s Gold Cup Semifinal. After the first three matches, The Mexican Men’s National Team sits atop the table, having taken seven out of nine possible points. Les Rouges sit tied for second, with five points of their own.
CanMNT Returns to Action With Tough Trip to Mexico
Things won’t be easy for Canada, as they will have to travel to Azteca Stadium. This is one of the hardest places to play in the world. Just how difficult of a task is this for the Canadians? Mexico has won five straight there and is unbeaten at the ground in their last fifteen matches.
— OneSoccer (@onesoccer) July 30, 2021
Is it possible Canada pulls off an upset and steals a point or even three off Mexico? Of course. This isn’t your father’s Canadian Men’s National Team. Look no further than that semifinal match this summer, when Canada took Mexico to the brink before a 98-minute winner (link to see the goal for the U.S. viewers). Both sides were short some key players, sure. But in years past, even Canada’s best team would be crushed by Mexico’s B team. Welcoming back Alphonso Davies and Jonathan David to the team gives them hope to get their revenge.
Key Mexican Players
However, it won’t be easy. Mexico is flooded with depth and star talent. At striker, Mexico is welcoming back Hirving Lozano and Raul Jiminez into the team after absences in September. In goal, experienced keeper Guillermo Ochoa and his 117 caps will be between the sticks. And in midfield, Canada won’t forget Atletico Madrid’s, Hector Herrera. It was his goal at the death that sent Canada out of the Gold Cup semifinal.
Key Canadian Players
Jonathan David off to a 🔥 start in October with his Sunday goal at Lille OSC pic.twitter.com/rvp2m7AQjs
— Canada Soccer (@CanadaSoccerEN) October 4, 2021
Canada will undoubtedly be looking to Lille striker David for goals in this one. David comes into this camp in top form. As of Sunday, David is sitting tied atop the leading scorers in Ligue Une with six goals through nine matches. This included scoring two goals last Sunday against Olympique de Marseille.
Canada’s squad also features other players excelling in Europe. Atiba Hutchinson and Cyle Larin, two key members for Besiktas in Turkey, receive call-ups. Keeper Milan Borjan is the captain of Serbian champions Red Star Belgrade. And of course, Canada’s star man, Alphonso Davies from Bayern Munich’s first team.
How Does Canada Play This Tactically?
Canadian boss John Herdman has plenty of options from ahead of this Mexico clash. Herdman is known for implementing a fluid 3-5-2, while also mixing in a typical 4-4-2. Against the CONCACAF giants, does Canada go for a safer 4-4-2 formation to limit risk, or completely go all out and try to get the best out of the likes of Davies and Tajon Buchanan as attacking wingbacks?
Prediction: Canada 1-2 Mexico
Getting ready for a special one.
— Canada Soccer (@CanadaSoccerEN) October 6, 2021
This is an excellent Canadian side, one that has every chance to qualify for Qatar 2022. But this is Mexico at the Azteca. El Tri will be up for the occasion after surprisingly dropping points to Panama last September. They will settle for nothing but all three points and will have the home crowd behind them. Canada would need to put in a top-class performance to pull off the upset.
Credit to Canada Soccer by Martin Bazyl on September 8, 2021