When Canada last qualified for the FIFA World Cup, the original Super Mario Bros. was the highest-grossing video game in the United States, Top Gun was released, and Freddie Mercury and Queen had their farewell concert. It had been a while since we last spoke.
Now that they’re back, Canada doesn’t want to be an afterthought at the 2022 World Cup. They are looking to create a strong impression. That would be achieved if Canada were to go beyond the group stage, something they failed to accomplish in their lone World Cup campaign in 1986.
To what end, therefore, would Canada hope to advance from Group F to the Round of 16? The odds need to be examined first.
World Cup Group F Odds
World Cup Odds To Win Group F
Odds as of August 18 at OKBET SPORTSBOOK
World Cup Odds To Qualify From Group F
Odds as of August 18 at OKBET SPORTSBOOK
Canadian World Cup Hopes: How They Can Advance To The Round Of 16.
There will be a total of three games. That settles the matter. In the World Cup, Canada and the other 31 countries will each play three games to determine who advances to the round of 16. In Canada, the group stage runs from November 23 to December 1:
Match time for Canada vs. Belgium is set on November 23 at 2 p.m. ET.
When: Wednesday, November 27 at 11 a.m. EST, Canada vs. Croatia
Match time for Canada vs. Morocco is set for December 1 at 10:00 a.m. ET.
Canada has to earn enough points in the three matches to finish in the top two in Group C and advance to the Round of 16. If Canada enters the World Cup as an underdog, the conventional wisdom is that they only need four points to get out of the group stage. That isn’t entirely correct.
Since the 1994 World Cup, 33 teams have earned four points in the group stage, however only 17 of those teams have advanced to the knockout round. Therefore, if a club gains four points, they are eliminated from playoff contention (which is the case for 48% of the teams). Canada might still qualify with four points, but they’d need some help from the other teams in the tournament. They need at least five points to be in charge of their own fate and make the cut.
Even though securing five points is no longer a guarantee of advancement to the Round of 16, all 13 teams who achieved this feat in the group stage advanced. How, therefore, can Canada get a perfect score of 5? In other words, a victory and two ties. Those outcomes are spot-on, but I have to wonder where they come from.
Let’s check the odds and matches once again.
World Cup Canada Game 1 Vs Belgium
|Canada To Lose||-400|
|Canada To Win||+1050|
Odds For Outcome In Canada Vs Belgium
The chances of winning versus Belgium are +1050, which is a long shot. The French team, Les Diables Rouges, had a lot of momentum heading into the World Cup. After losing the 2018 World Cup semifinal against France, 1-0, they finished in third place. But in the match for third place, they defeated England 2-0.
Belgium has gone 34-7-5 since achieving their third-place finish in 2018. Their +85 goal differential is amazing. Once again, success seemed improbable. However, Canada would be content with a tie in this match.
The Belgians have played six times since 2020 and drew each time with Ivory Coast, the Czech Republic, Greece, Wales (twice), and Ireland. Canada is ranked third in FIFA, after Wales and the Czech Republic. This has allowed Canada’s comparatively weak opponents to achieve the desired result. The question is, “How did they manage to pull it off?”
Analyzing each team’s initial configuration, we find that the 3-4-3 is the most effective arrangement versus Belgium (to obtain a draw). The Ivory Coast and the Irish both exploited it to salvage a pointless draw. Canadian head coach John Herdman favors this formation, and it is the one that has gotten his team all the way to the World Cup.
A draw has +475 odds, so if you wager $100 and win, you’ll get $475 back since you bet on Canada to score a single point.
Romelu Lukaku of Belgium has the sixth-best odds to win the World Cup Golden Boot, sitting at +1800.
World Cup Canada Game 2 Vs Croatia
Odds For Outcome In Canada Vs Croatia
|Canada To Lose||-130|
|Canada To Win||+350|
Although the odds are still stacked against Canada, they aren’t as as lopsided as they were when comparing the two teams to Belgium. Croatia has 56.36 percent implied chances to win at a -130 betting line, according to our odds calculator. We now know that Canada must avoid losing to any team in their group. Their best case scenario would be a victory, but they’d be satisfied with a tie.
With a +18 goal difference since the previous World Cup, Croatia has a 21-11-14 record. Taking a deeper look at their track record reveals that Croatia seldom wins by more than one goal. Thirteen (62%) of the 21 victories have come by exactly one goal. Croatia has very little room for mistake. Just what our Canadian friends ordered.
The Canadians, who used a more rigorous defensive scheme, yet managed to put up respectable scoring totals. With regards to goals, assists, and goals-assists minus penalties per 90 minutes throughout CONCACAF qualifiers, the Red and White were the undisputed leaders of the Red and White (among teams that played at least 10 games).
The Canadians allowed the fewest number of goals and assists per 90 minutes of any club in the area with at least 10 games under their belt.
Given Croatia’s, shall we say, “ability,” to keep the score tight and Canada’s, at least through CONCACAF qualifications, excellent attacking figures, a draw seems plausible.
A $270 payout on a +270 wager on a draw between Croatia and Canada seems reasonable.
Match 3 of Canada’s World Cup: Morocco
Canada has yet to compete with Morocco on the market.
Canada must aim for a victory versus Morocco in this clash, although a draw against Belgium and Croatia would be enough. Morocco, though, is no pushover. They have only lost twice in competitive and friendly matches since 2020. The first was in the quarterfinals of the AFCON in January, to Egypt; the second was on June 1, to the United States, in a friendly.
In both matches, Morocco had less possession of the ball than their opponents (45% vs. Egypt and 47% against. Spain) (vs USA). Both Egypt and the United States lined up in a more conventional 4-3-3 formation and applied constant pressure to the Moroccans both on and off the ball. And the plan was successful.
In June’s 3-0 defeat to the United States, Morocco outshot the Americans by a 22-11 margin but scored on only eight of those opportunities. This demonstrates how the Americans were able to force the Atlas Lions into chances where there was little to no risk, while the Moroccans could only cross their fingers.
For Canada to earn the result they need, Herdman will need to switch to a more classic 4-4-3 formation (something he’s done before to fit the opponent) in order to continually force the Moroccans into making costly mistakes, like the United States did against them back in June.
Morocco has replaced longtime head coach Vahid Halilhodzic with the comparatively inexperienced Walid Regragui. Regragui’s only prior international coaching experience was as an assistant for the Moroccan national team from September 2012 to October 2013.
There is a path for Canada to join the elite Group of 16. It will be difficult, but they may be able to pull through. Our odds calculator puts them expected chances of qualifying at +275, or 26.67 percent. If you bet $100 on Canada meeting the requirements, you would win $275 ($275 bonus + $100 original wager).
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