Canada had one very brief taste of FIFA World Cup football

Compared to Mexico and the USA, Canada's experience of world soccer's showpiece is quite bare

BY Raf Diallo 15:54 Thursday 27 April 2017, 15:54 27 Apr 2017

A Canadian fan waves a flag ahead of Canada vs France in 1986. Peter Robinson/EMPICS Sport

Thanks to Tomasz Radzinki's memories of Canada's only senior men's international match against Ireland, Canadian soccer springs to mind.

Currently their national team is ranked 109th in the world, well below North American neighbours USA who are 23rd.

And fellow CONCACAF members Mexico are even further up the rankings at No 16 in FIFA's rankings.

Predictably, Canada's place in the CONCACAF pecking order means they are already ruled out of the 2018 World Cup, having failed to reach the fifth round of qualifiers in the current campaign.

But they are likely to co-host in 2026 alongside both USA and Mexico having co-announced their intention to do so this month.

If Canada do host part of the 2026 World Cup, their national team would qualify automatically and it would also be the first time Canadians will appear at international football's showpiece tournament for exactly 40 years.

The one and only time they got to a World Cup was all the way back in 1986 which of course was best remembered for Diego Maradona's ascension into the pantheon of the all time greats as he dragged Argentina to glory in Mexico.

A Canadian squad dominated by US based players, on the other hand, had a short and forgettable World Cup - at least when it came to results - having been drawn into a tough and European dominated group with Soviet Union, France and Hungary. While the results would match low expectations for Canada, that being said they were not as badly beaten as the Zaire side of 1974 in their three defeats.

Indeed, their opening match against 1982 semi finalists France was no walkover with Les Blues only earning victory after a 79th minute goal from Jean-Pierre Papin from close range after a deep cross was then headed across goal into his path.

Highlights show that Canada did put France under some pressure in the early minutes before Michel Platini and co began to take control.

They followed that with a 2-0 loss to Hungary, going down to an early goal before the central Europeans added another with 15 minutes to go. 

And the same result would transpire against the Soviet Union with goals in the second half, including one from the legendary Ukrainian Oleg Blokhin. 

Thus all in all, three games, three losses and no goals, although the results were not disastrous. However, the Canadians have not had the opportunity to get back to the finals stage again, although they did win the 2000 CONCACAF Gold Cup, breaking the pattern of US and Mexican victories. 

Off The Ball


The very best bits of Off The Ball delivered every week