Canada boss John Herdman opened up about the game of football in Canada and qualifying for the World Cup for the first time since 1986. Their 4-0 win over Jamaica guaranteed a spot in the 2022 World Cup. It is set to be a golden period for the hockey-loving nation with them being anticipated to be co-hosts of the 2026 World Cup. Although this has not been confirmed, automatic qualification as a host nation will allow them to participate in consecutive World Cups.

“Canada is a hockey nation, but football is the highest participation sport. All the kids play football, that is the reality. The country has a very diverse demographic. We have a lot of immigrants, including myself, whose first love is football,” Canada boss John Herdman said. “But they have not had a national team to rally around. The women’s team has been uber-successful but the men’s team hasn’t broken that threshold. It is a sleeping giant. It is ready to put itself into the sporting consciousness of the genuine Canadian sports fan.”

“In Haiti, in June, it was 37 degrees. People’s boots were melting on the rubber on the plastic turf. There are moments in those games where the opportunity to check out is there. The ability to say ‘OK, we have an excuse, it is too hot. The brain is always playing with that. It was time for our opponents to get that feeling,” he added. “We could have played in a more hospitable climate, maybe even in a closed, indoor stadium, but we were pretty clear this was a new Canada. It is a very resilient nation that has grown up having to play on plastic fields and in cold conditions. We looked at it as an opportunity. When people say ‘why haven’t Canada qualified?’ [for so long] you can see the challenges of managing the Concacaf window.” 

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