World Cup Party Rumbles On As Canada Head Home
Canada’s hopes of springing a surprise in the FIFA World Cup came to an end at the earliest opportunity as they crashed out of the Qatar tournament at the group stage.
While the World Cup party carries on into the knockouts, John Herdman’s men leave the Middle East at the earliest stage after a promising start against a disappointing Belgium side who also failed to progress to the latter stages.
Canada’s opening game against Belgium showed real promise, with Alphonso Davies’ missed penalty inside the opening ten minutes a golden opportunity to get this World Cup off to a perfect start.
The Bayern Munich man missed, and despite dominating for large spells, Canada succumbed to a 1-0 loss to Roberto Martinez and his men who are ranked no.2 in the world.
Desperate to make up for his missed spot kick in that game, Davies wasted no time in the next match against Croatia by opening the scoring in just the second minute – sending the travelling Canadians into raptures.
Davies is the star man in this Canada team, and for him to register their first ever World Cup goal – after failing to net during the 1986 World Cup – seemed fitting.
Croatia, however, made it to the final of the 2018 World Cup and showed their quality with four unanswered goals to register a 4-1 humbling.
That defeat meant that Canada’s hopes of qualifying for the knockouts were no more, but a final group game match against Morocco – who had just beaten Belgium 2-0 – provided an opportunity to register a first ever World Cup point.
Our boys mustn’t have received the memo, as they found themselves two goals down inside the opening 25 minutes, and an own goal shortly before the half-time interval was the last goal involvement of the match, and Canada’s last of the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
Canada are still searching for that first ever World Cup win, and even a point through a draw seemed highly possible at various times during this brief campaign.
However, after leaving the 1986 tournament without scoring a goal, the two strikes this time around indicates progress. Who knows what the World Cup betting will dish up for Canada in 2026 – on home turf after all?
World Cup Betting: The Favourites
Still, as Queen famously said, the show must go on, and that is exactly what is happening out in Qatar, with some of soccer’s most famous nations through to the latter stages with the World Cup party showing no signs of slowing down.
At the time of writing, a formidable looking Brazil are the +250 favourites on Bodog’s World Cup odds board.
It is difficult to look beyond the five-time champions, as their squad depth is truly frightening. Despite a shaky start that saw Argentina (+450) lose to Saudi Arabia in one of the most shocking results in World Cup history, Lionel Messi and co have recovered to top their group and are building up some momentum at just the right time.
Reigning champions France (+500), although riddled with injuries to key personnel, are looking as strong as expected, and finally broke the curse of the reigning champions crashing out at the group stage of the following World Cup after three consecutive occurrences in 2018, 2014 and 2010.
Now that potential banana skin has been avoided, Kylian Mbappe and his teammates will have their eyes fixed on defending their trophy, although they look likely to face and England team (+900) in the quarter-finals that have scored an impressive nine goals in qualifying.
The only nation to match England’s nine strikes so far are Spain (+600), largely down to their 7-0 thumping of Costa Rica in their opening clash. However, a 1-1 draw with Germany and a 2-1 defeat at the hands of surprise-package Japan saw them just about scrape through Group E, and improvements will be needed if the 2010 champions are going to make an impression beyond the group stage.
If the second best ranked team in the world crashing out at the group stage isn’t the biggest upset a World Cup, then we don’t know what is. Belgium’s abysmal performance in Qatar has seen manager Martinez resign with talks of serious unrest in the camp failing to go away throughout the tournament.
Romelu Lukaku missed several golden chances to secure Belgium’s passage to the last 16 during their 0-0 draw with Croatia, but the Red Devils are now on the first plane back to Europe.
In Group D, France topped the group as expected, despite losing their final match to Tunisia after resting several key players.
Such a decision to rest star players could have had huge implications, with three points for Tunisia meaning they would qualify if Australia and Denmark played out a draw.
Australia had other ideas, however, with Matthew Leckie scoring the decisive goal that saw the Aussies qualify for the knockout stages for only the second time in their history.
Belgium failing to progress is a huge upset, but at one point during the closing stages of action in Group E, both Spain and Germany were heading home with unfancied Japan and Costa Rica qualifying. Spain, following their 7-0 victory over Costa Rica in their opening game were more or less assured of qualification, but the unthinkable almost became a reality as they surrendered a one-goal lead in their final group match to Japan.
Their superior goal difference still saw them in the top two – all they needed was for Costa Rica not to beat Germany, with the four-time champions sitting bottom of the group. With twenty minutes left to play, Costa Rica did just that, and the live table had Spain and Germany crashing out. Germany came back to win 4-2, sparing Spain’s blushes. However, it wasn’t enough to secure their own passage, and the 2014 world champions are out – incredible!
The build up to the Qatar action had been controversial, but one thing is for sure, the action on the field has been packed full of excitement. As we roll into the knockout stages, where the magic really happens, we’re in no rush for this World Cup party to come to an end.