Canada has moved higher to number 48 in the FIFA rankings; a remarkable achievement considering the Canadians started the year ranked at number 72.
Tickets for home games in Edmonton have sold quickly
By Brandon Yip, Senior Columnist
The Canadian men’s national soccer team continues their quest to qualify for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar. Canada will play Costa Rica on November 12 at Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton. Canada then faces Mexico on November 16 (also in Edmonton) in what will likely be another difficult match for Canada. The Mexican team is ranked number nine in the FIFA world rankings. Canada has moved higher to number 48 in the FIFA rankings; a remarkable achievement considering the Canadians started the year ranked at number 72.
Canada’s last match against Costa Rica was on July 25, 2021, at the CONCACAF Gold Cup tournament. Canada won by a score of two to zero. The Canadians’ all-time record against Costa Rica is five wins, eight losses and nine draws. In contrast, Canada’s all-time record versus Mexico is three wins, 24 losses and 10 draws. In their last game on October 7, Canada and Mexico played to a 1-1 draw (CONCACAF final qualifying match). Based on the historical record between the two teams, a draw against Mexico would be considered a victory for Canada.
Peter Montopoli with Canada Soccer is proud of what the Canadian men’s national team has accomplished. “It’s a team that’s ready, willing, and able to do everything they can for our country to qualify. You can see it on the pitch. It resonates every time they are together,” he said as reported by CTV News Edmonton on October 19. “I hope you get to see that and everybody in the city of Edmonton and Alberta gets to see what we have to offer for [the] strongest men’s national team we’ve had.”
Tickets for Canada’s two matches in Edmonton went on sale on October 19. Remarkably, over 13,000 tickets for each game have already been sold during advanced ticket sales. The Canada Soccer website outlines its public safety protocols for fans attending the upcoming matches at Commonwealth Stadium: “Notably, all fans in attendance will be required to demonstrate proof of full vaccination or produce a negative COVID-19 test to enter the stadium and must follow City of Edmonton, Province of Alberta, and Commonwealth Stadium COVID protocols and guidelines.”
Janelle Janis, director of the presenting partner, Explore Edmonton, told the Edmonton Sun on October 24, that the upcoming soccer games in Edmonton have generated a very positive reaction in the city. “We are so incredibly proud of Edmontonians for stepping up and understanding how big these games are for our city,” she said. “We know that Alphonso Davies and Team Canada need the fans behind them in what are massive games and the hope now is that the Edmonton fans come to the stadium loud and proud for our Canadian squad. And we hope this will send a very loud message about what Edmonton can bring to the table. Edmonton continually shows that it gets behind big events, so this just continues to prove the point. Our team at Explore Edmonton will be able to build on the momentum we’re seeing here to help attract more events to our city that will be key to the recovery of Edmonton’s visitor economy after the pandemic.”
In other soccer news, the Canadian women’s national soccer team played a two-game international friendly against New Zealand—as part of its Celebration Tour. The first match was held on October 23 at TD Place Stadium in Ottawa with the Canadians winning by a score of five to one. On October 26, the two teams played at Saputo Stadium in Montreal with the Canadian women winning the second match by a score of one to zero. Notably, the game in Ottawa was the first match for the Canadian women since winning the gold medal over Sweden at the Tokyo 2020 games on August 6, 2021. It was also the first time Canada has played a game on home soil since May 2019.
Canadian veteran, Christine Sinclair, stated after the first match against New Zealand that she was pleased to be playing soccer again in her home country and especially to see fans in the stands. “It’s great to be back home and some of us were joking that we couldn’t remember that last time we played at home,” she said to the media as reported by The Canadian Press. “To be able to celebrate this gold medal with the fans, it’s obviously a special moment and something to celebrate and to see the little kids in the stands, it’s pretty special.”