Who is Canada up against in Qatar?

For the first time in almost 4 decades, Canada has qualified to play in the soccer World Cup.

It’s the second time in the tournament since their abysmal debut at the Mexico World Cup in 1986. Back then Canada lost all 3 of their group stage games against France, Hungary and the then Soviet Union.  

For Canada, this tournament is going to be an opportunity for the country to show what they’ve learned in their friendlies and qualification, as well as the talent they can muster.

It’s not going to be easy.

Canada faces a Group of teams which have a wealth of experience competing at the international level; Belgium and Croatia. Morocco has a patchier experience of competing at the World Cup.

Should Canada also manage to beat these teams in the Group Stages, they will face even more international talent. No pressure then…

How did Canada get here?

On March 27th this year, Canada qualified for the World Cup. It was the first time the team had made it to the international tournament in 36 years and it was a rollercoaster of a ride to get there.

After initial draws with much of their competitors (except for a 3 – 0 win against El Salvador) in the first half of the qualifiers, it was the second half that they really started to improve.

Les Rouges managed significant wins against the likes of Mexico, the United States and Panama, but it was their 4 – 0 win against Jamaica that ensured the team secured its place in Qatar.

Canada is 1 of the 3 countries which have qualified from the CONCACAF division of FIFA. Mexico and the United States have also qualified from their division.  

Group F


Morocco has qualified for the World Cup once again, but will they get past the Group Stages this time? Morocco has so far managed to reach the Round of 16, their highest position in the tournament, back in 1986.

Prior to and following this, the Atlas Lions have regularly been knocked out at the Group Stages. Could Canada beat them then? Possibly…

Morocco faced DR Congo in the third and final round of the World Cup Qualifiers for Central African Federation (CAF). After a decisive 4 – 1 victory in the second leg game, the Atlas Lions punched their ticket for Qatar.

While we don’t know who is in the final squad, we can at least speculate about some of the team’s shining lights from the last tournament. 

Key Players –

Ayoub El Kaabi

Ayoub El Kaabi of Morocco during Morocco against Malawi, African Cup of Nations, at Ahmadou Ahidjo Stadium on January 25, 2022. (Photo by Ulrik Pedersen/NurPhoto)

El Kaabi has appeared for the national team 18 times since 2018, scoring 7 goals. He brings experience playing in the Chinese, Moroccan and Turkish club leagues and is described as a strong attacker who favours rushing the keeper in the penalty box and has an excellent finish on goal.

Hakim Ziyech

Hakim Ziyech of Chelsea during the warm-up before the UEFA Champions League Quarter Final Leg Two match between Real Madrid and Chelsea FC at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on April 12, 2022 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Jose Breton/Pics Action/NurPhoto)

Ziyech has made over 40 appearances for the national team with 17 goals to his name. He’s a winger best known for driving the ball into the centre of the field and making strong plays for strikes on goal. He currently plays with Chelsea, with past experience with Dutch sides Ajax, Twente and Heerenveen.


Belgium’s record at the World Cup has slowly improved in the last 30 years. Their best position has been the Third Place standing in the 2018 World Cup. Belgium beat England 2 – 0 in the playoff.

While we don’t know who is in the final squad, we can at least speculate about some of the team’s shining lights from the last tournament. 

Key Players –

Romelu Lakaku

Turin, Italy, 7th October 2021. Romelu Lukaku of Belgium reacts as he walks past Raphael Varane of France during the UEFA Nations League match at Juventus Stadium, Turin. Picture credit should read: Jonathan Moscrop / Sportimage via PA Images

Lukaku has a very distinguished club career playing for some of Europe’s biggest teams including Chelsea, Manchester United and Inter Milan and has appeared over 100 times for the national team.

He’s a lefty with a powerful presence on the pitch and capable of getting around defenders. He strikes deep on goal and can also dominate the wing. As of 2018, Lukaku became Belgium’s top goal-scorer with 68 goals in international games.

Eden Hazard

Eden Hazard of Belgium looks on during the UEFA Euro 2020 Qualifier between Russia and Belgium on November 16, 2019 at Gazprom Arena in Saint Petersburg, Russia. (Photo by Mike Kireev/NurPhoto)

Hazard also boasts an esteemed career with time spent with Lille, Chelsea and Real Madrid. He’s also appeared over 120 times for the national team, most recently captaining the team in the 2018 World Cup and Euro 2020 tournaments.

At one stage likened to ‘little Messi’, Hazard has a strong technical range and creativity on the field, largely playing in attacking midfield or on the wing.

Kevin De Bruyne

Belgium’s Kevin De Bruyne during the UEFA Nations League Group D Match at King Baudouin Stadium, Brussels. Picture date: Thursday September 22, 2022.

De Bruyne is described as an all-rounder footballer, combining creativity and versatility as a attacking midfielder, winger and even as a striker. His talents for being able to make plays have resulted in some spectacular goals for teammates like Lukaku.

He’s represented Belgium 93 times since 2010 and was named Man of the Match during their Quarter Final game against Brazil at the World Cup in 2018. De Bruyne scored their match winning goal.


Finally… the powerhouse of the Group, Croatia. The former Yugoslavian nation’s highest World Cup achievement was making it to the Final in 2018, where they lost to France in the final. Before that, the team reached third place in the 1998 World Cup in France.

Key Players –

Luka Modrić

VIENNA, AUSTRIA – SEPTEMBER 25: Luka Modric of Croatia warm up before the UEFA Nations League League A Group 1 match between Austria and Croatia at Ernst Happel Stadion on September 25, 2022 in Vienna, Austria. Photo: Igor Soban/PIXSELL

Considered to one of the greatest midfield players of all time, Luka Modrić has been representing the national team since 2006 and scoring 23 goals. He’s considered to be a strong playmaker that’s able to set the pace of the game and using the trivela technique of curling the ball into the goal.

Ivan Perišić

February 12, 2022, Napoli, Italy: Ivan PeriÅ¡i? ( FC Inter ) gesticulates during the game the Serie A between SSC Napoli – FC Inter . at Stadio Diego Armando Maradona Final score: 1.1 (Credit Image: © Agostino Gemito/Pacific Press via ZUMA Press Wire)

Perišić is considered one of the old hands in the Croatian team. He’s appeared 115 times for Croatia and scoring 32 goals. His latest goals were in Croatia’s 2022 World Cup qualification games against Malta.

Perišić plays in a multitude of roles from winger to midfielder, second striker and even wing-back, something he needed to learn while playing with Tottenham Hotspur.

So that’s Canada’s Group… it’s going to be a good opportunity for Les Rouges to show off what they’ve got with some of the best teams in the World. Will they make it through the Group Stages? Who knows?

What we do is that there’s a long history attached the Canadian National team.

Why not check it out here:

Posted on: 06 Oct 2022