Canadian Men’s National Team head coach John Herdman believes his side have the ‘biggest opportunity in the world’ at Qatar 2022.
The CanMNT are returning to the World Cup stage for the first time since 1986, beginning their campaign on Wednesday against Belgium before fixtures against Croatia and Morocco.
Facing the teams that finished second (Croatia) and third (Belgium) at the 2018 World Cup and a Morocco side ranked 22nd in the world will be no easy task.
However, Canada have the luxury of playing as the underdogs, expected to lose. The pressure will be on the opposition to get the job done against the tournament minnows.
“This is a massive opportunity. I mean, I think we have the biggest opportunity in the world,” Herdman said (via CTV News).
“You’re not here to be Belgium or Croatia, because they go there [to the World Cup]. They go there all the time. And they are carrying that weight of expectation that ‘We might be the team that get beat off Canada,’ ‘We might be the team that don’t get to the quarterfinal.’”
“For us, we haven’t been here for 30-odd years. As a country, I know the majority of fans are just going to enjoy this moment for what it is. The first time in generations that they’ve been able to put their Italian jersey in the drawer, their Croatian jersey in the drawer, their Greek jersey in the drawer and put the red on.”
The last time Canada performed on this stage, they exited a group containing the Soviet Union, France, and Hungary without a single point or goal.
Even just to score would be an incredible indicator of just how far this nation has come, developing talents like Alphonso Davies, Jonathan David, and Cyle Larin.
“We knew this was a big opportunity to unite a country coast to coast, and the mission is to score that first goal, that’s it,” Herdman continued.
“To have that celebration and know that 15 million people, however million, are watching that game from coast to coast, they’re jumping around their living rooms, the people in the stadium [are] celebrating.
“That’s not the only goal, but for us, that’s the starting point.”
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