FIFA World Cup Odds: One Month Until Canada Returns to the Big Stage
It’s been a while since Canada played in the World Cup. The year was 1986, and the men’s national team was making their first appearance on soccer’s biggest stage, led by veteran defender and Vancouver native Bob Lenarduzzi – who would go on to manage the team the following decade. As expected (and repeated 36 years on), Canada’s World Cup odds were considerable.
Lenarduzzi played well, and Canada only conceded five goals during their three Group Stage matches. But they also failed to score at the other end. And we’ve been waiting for a World Cup goal ever since.
The wait is almost over – we hope. Canadian soccer will return to the spotlight this November at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, and you can bet on it right now at Bodog Sportsbook. At press time, our World Cup odds board has Canada in the middle of the pack of contenders at +12500, just behind the United States (+10000) and tied with both Mexico and Poland.
Canada World Cup Odds
This is heady territory for our national side. The team that qualified for the 1986 World Cup did so in part because that event was held in Mexico; the host nation gets an automatic berth in the tournament, so there was an extra spot for CONCACAF members to scoop up.
No such luck this time around in Qatar. Then again, Canada didn’t need luck to qualify. This is by far the best men’s team we’ve ever fielded, reaching their all-time peak on the FIFA World Rankings at No. 33 this past February.
Much of this success is due to head coach John Herdman. Formerly the coach of Canada’s highly successful women’s team, Herdman switched to the men’s side in 2018, with added duties as the director of the entire national program from U14 and up. Under Herdman’s stewardship, Canada were named FIFA’s “Most Improved Side” for 2021, after jumping from No. 72 to No. 40 in the rankings.
Having elite-level players on your side doesn’t hurt, either. Left-back/winger Alphonso Davies is probably the best soccer player we’ve ever produced; Davies is one of the keys to Bayern Munich’s continued run atop the German Bundesliga, and in 2020 became the first Canadian to play for a Champions League winner.
We’re equally fortunate to have Jonathan David on our side. The do-everything forward has also tasted victory at the club level, helping Lille win France’s Ligue 1 in 2021 after a €30-million transfer from Gent in the Belgian league – the largest fee ever paid for a Canadian.
Davies (four goals) and David (nine goals, including three assisted by Davies) were the twin engines for Canada’s success during World Cup qualifying. The men’s team sailed through the First Round with four straight wins at a combined score of 27-1, blanked Haiti 4-0 on aggregate in the Second Round, then finished first among the eight remaining CONCACAF teams in the Third Round.
This was Canadian soccer at its finest. Of their 14 Third Round matches, Canada won eight – including victories over both Mexico and Team USA. It wasn’t just Davies and David, either; winger Cyle Larin led all goal scorers in that round with six, one more than David. Winger Tajon Buchanan, Larin’s teammate at Club Brugge in Belgium, added three of his own.
Canada will need all of these players firing on all cylinders if we’re going to compete with the World Cup betting top favourites in Qatar. The good news is that we’ve been placed in Group F, along with Belgium, Morocco and Croatia; this is one of the medium-strength foursomes in the Group Stage. The bad news is that only two teams will advance, and both Belgium (+1600) and Croatia (+5000) are ahead of Canada on Bodog’s World Cup odds board.
World Cup Betting Favourites
Life could be worse. There are eight World Cup teams with shorter odds than Belgium, and any of them can be considered legitimate contenders – as can Belgium, for that matter:
Brazil have regained their familiar place at the top of this list – and at the top of the FIFA rankings – with some impressive results under manager Tite, who took over from Dunga in 2016. But they’re still stinging from their elimination four years ago at the hands of Belgium in the World Cup quarter-finals. Undefeated in 17 qualifying matches, the top team from CONMEBOL is dripping with talent, from goalkeepers Alisson and Ederson to forwards Neymar and Vinicius Junior.
Argentina (No. 3 on the FIFA rankings) are always a threat to win the World Cup, even if captain Lionel Messi is still waiting for that elusive first victory, and the defending champions from France (No. 4) are loaded up front with forwards Antoine Griezmann, Olivier Giroud and Kylian Mbappe. England have come close in their last two major tournaments, and will be desperate to go one better this time. Canada will probably have to upset one or more of these teams to win the Cup. It could happen.
Memorable World Cup Moments
If it does, Canada’s victory will surely go down as one of the most memorable moments in World Cup history – and would without doubt be the biggest World Cup odds upset. But for now, we’ve compiled the following top three list:
1. The Hand of God: Maradona punches in a goal for Argentina at the 1986 World Cup, helping them beat England 2-1 in the quarter-finals. Their second goal was also by Maradona just four minutes later, and is still called the Goal of the Century. Argentina would eventually go on to win the Cup.
2. Pele’s Hat Trick: Pele scores his third of three goals against France in the 1958 World Cup semifinals. Pele scored another against Sweden in the final to lead Brazil to their first Cup victory; he would help them win two more in 1962 and 1970.
3. Zinedine Zidane’s Head-Butt: With France and Italy tied 1-1 late in the 2006 World Cup final, Zidane takes offense to something Marco Materazzi says about his sister, and head-butts him directly in the chest, earning a red card and leaving France down a man. They still made it to the shootout, but lost 5-3 with their best player unable to participate.
Will Canada write their own place in the history books this November? The betting starts now at Bodog Sportsbook; visit our soccer odds page for the latest lines, and we’ll see you on the pitch.