Analysis: Canada Punches Ticket to Qatar with Emphatic 4-0 Win

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ANALYSIS – Canadian Men’s National Team supporters have long awaited a moment as special as Sunday afternoon at BMO Field. It had been thirty-six years since Canada qualified for the Men’s World Cup, and all Les Rouges needed was a draw to punch their ticket. Canada went above and beyond the requirements, with an emphatic 4-0 win over Jamaica on Sunday. The job is done, Canada is going to Qatar.

Analysis: Canada Punches Ticket to Qatar with Emphatic 4-0 Win

From the opening kick until the final whistle, Canada dominated the flow of the match. Canada’s four goals came courtesy of Cyle Larin, Tajon Buchanan, Junior Hoilett, and an Adrian Mariappa own goal.

Canada’s tactical setup

Manager John Herdman made four changes from Thursday’s side in Costa Rica. Part of the changes were three defenders, as Doniel Henry, Scott Kennedy and Sam Adekugbe all returned to the lineup. The other change was the suspended Mark Anthony Kaye making way for Junior Hoilett.

Canada lined up in a very fluid 4-4-2 once again. In possession, midfielder Stephen Eustaquio dropped deep and allowed the wingbacks to get forward and play more of a 3-5-2. Adekugbe especially had a fine day, adding real value to Canada on both sides of the ball. Eustaquio and Osorio held the midfield down, with Junior Hoilett dropping back when need be. And a front three featuring Buchanan, Larin and David is always going to be dangerous.

Jamaica experimenting for 2026 cycle

Caretaker Jamaica manager Paul Hall had far short of a full lineup on hands. Jamaica was missing many big names like Leon Bailey, Michail Antonio, Kemar Roofe, and Ethan Pinnock. It was always going to be a long shot for the Reggae Boyz under these circumstances.

With Jamaica already eliminated, this gave plenty of opportunities for fresh faces to appear. With the exception of Mariappa and Andre Blake, it was a vastly inexperienced side. Plenty of younger players were mixed in with some Jamaican domestic league players. Jamaica was overmatched on paper and it played out like that on the pitch.

Complete Control throughout for Les Rouges

It was never in doubt who was going to win this match. Canada created chances early and often throughout the entire ninety minutes. However, Canada did so in a very different way than on Thursday in Costa Rica.

Les Rouges dominated possession in Costa Rica. However, Canada conceded more possession to Jamaica on Sunday (54%-46%). Instead of a slow and methodical attack, Canada played direct and created much more chances. The Reds outshot Jamaica 20-2, and nine of those twenty were on target. Their shots were quality too, as Canada came out on top in expected goals by 2.89-0.15.

Wing play helps Canada dominate

The Reds wide play was crucial in this match. Down the left side, Adekugbe went on countless runs to g help add attacking threat. He and Hoilett were both magical, linking up many times to create scoring chances. Hoilett led the match with 5 successful dribbles on a 100% success rate. Adekugbe’s 3 key passes was second only to Jonathan David.

On the right side, Tajon Buchanan was causing havoc as well. While Richie Laryea didn’t have to same impact in the attacking third Adekugbe did, it didn’t matter. Buchanan beat his man out wide on numerous occasions. And when he found himself inside the area, he converted one of his multiple glorious chances. For good measure, he and Hoilett linked up nicely for the third goal.

Canada’s relentless high press

When Canada lost the ball in possession, it was clear the mentality was to try to win the ball right back. The high press was difficult for Jamaica to break, and allowed Canada to have second phases of attack. This fit right into Canada’s preferred direct attacking style, where they used their pace to create chances.

The few times Jamaica did break the press and were presented opportunities, they turned out to be harmless. Much credit should go to the centrebacks Kennedy and Henry, who did a fantastic job keeping Jamaica out dangerous areas. It is easy to highlight the attackers in a four goal win, but they were fabulous when called upon.

Andre Blake thrown out to the wolves

Andre Blake is a fantastic goalkeeper. The Philadelphia Union man is a 2x goalkeeper of the year in MLS. And despite the score line, he was Jamaica’s number one player this time out. Blake made six saves in the losing effort. If not for that, the score could’ve been even worse.

It is not often you see a keeper of Blake’s status concede four goals. But, considering the chances faced, he did well for himself. Canada was far and away the better side and Jamaica had no answer. Canada was denied on Thursday thanks to a world class keeper, but history did not repat itself here. This was Canada’s moment, and they weren’t going to be stopped.

Job done for Canada, or is it?

While Canada’s main goal of qualifying for Qatar 2022 is complete, the job isn’t entirely finished yet. With the FIFA World Cup draw set for Friday, every last spot in the FIFA world rankings is important for seeding in the draw. That means not only is a win Wednesday in Panama important, other results may need to go their way.

Right now, Canada is in Pot 4, the lowest ranked pot. This means Canada would theoretically face tougher teams in Qatar. But with a few results going their way, they could sneak into Pot 3. While FIFA’s ranking system is complicated, Canada has a clear path into Pot 3.

Canada needs two results to go their way from the following UEFA and CAF final playoff ties.

  • North Macedonia over Portugal
  • Ghana over Nigeria (0-0 after first leg)
  • DR Congo over Morocco (1-1 after first leg)

It is simple. If two of these results happen, Canada is in the coveted pot 3. If not, it gets extremely confusing and could come down to Canada needing a win against Panama and other scorelines going their way before Friday.

Final Thoughts

This has been a magical qualifying run for Canada. Even though qualifying has been extremely likely for almost two months now, it was special to see the team lock in their spot at home. This result is a moment Canadian soccer fans will never forget.

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