Canada are nearly through to the World Cup finals

Every soccer player dreams of playing in the finals of the World Cup. Betting on Canada to make it to Qatar later this year looks a winning wager. They top their qualifying group ahead of the USA, who are also out to end an absence from the finals.

It was back in 1986 that the Canadian men’s soccer team last reached the World Cup finals. That was in Argentina but those placing wagers on them to be successful were in for a disappointment. You can tell how long ago it was, one of the countries Canada played was the Soviet Union. They beat Canada 2-0, as did Hungary. The other game was a narrow 1-0 loss to France.

In the 36 years that have followed, the men have had to sit at home watching the finals. Their female counterparts have made it to four World Cup finals and finished fourth in 2003. In 2014, the men’s team put in a strong effort.

They won seven games and sportsbooks were confident of success. However, they lost their final game 8-1 away in Honduras and missed out on the next round by a point.

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The return of the CFL doesn’t look like being the only reason to celebrate. Sportsbooks are offering short odds on Canada qualifying for the 2022 World Cup. They had to play six games just to reach the final qualification group. Those who had a bet on Canada to win away in the Cayman Islands never saw their wager in any trouble. Canada won that match 11-0. A two-legged 4-0 aggregate win over Haiti saw them in the final group.

Finishing fourth would see them in the Inter-Confederation play-off. The real target was a top three finish and then sportsbooks would have to offer odds on how they’d do in the World Cup finals.

The USA didn’t have to play any matches to reach the final round of qualifying. Their fans and those who placed bets on them are probably still having nightmares about the 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign.

America had reached seven consecutive finals and made the quarter finals in 2012. Sportsbooks were offering good odds on them making it eight in a row. Then, they earned just five points from their final five games and missed out on the finals for the first time since 1986.

Canada didn’t make the best of starts to this final group. The had to come from behind to get a home draw with Honduras. Then, came the big match in the USA in September of last year. Again, the Canadians fell behind, but a Cyle Larin goal saw them return home with a point.

Larin has proved to be one of the stars of the Canadian team. Betting on the striker (who plays for Besiktas in Turkey) to score is always a good idea. He’s scored 23 goals in 47 appearances. Along with Lille striker Jonathan David, he’s one of the reasons why you can bet on Canada making it to Qatar in November.

Canada’s reasonably slow start to their group continued though. They weren’t losing but the first five games only produced one home win over El Salvador. Their form suddenly went up a gear or two and betting on them to win was successful.

They’ve won six games in a row to take a four-point lead at the top of the group. Just three games remain, and qualification has nearly been achieved. That’s especially the case with the second placed USA having to play both Mexico (third) and Panama (fourth).

The big win for Canada came on January 30 of this year. That’s when they justified the odds and beat the USA 2-0 at home. They went ahead in the seventh minute but had to wait until the 95th to get the goal that clinched the win and sent those who had bet on them into endless celebrations.

They next play Costa Rica (fifth) away on March 24 with a home game against seventh placed Jamaica on the 27th. Their final game is home to Panama on March 30, but you can bet on them having guaranteed qualification by then.

As for the USA, they braved the cold to beat Honduras 3-0 at home last week. They are four points clear of fourth placed Panama as they bid for automatic qualification. Next up they go to Mexico and then host Panama. You can bet they will be difficult games and they may still need something from the final away game in Costa Rica on March 30.

Get ready for the celebrations, Canada are on their way to the World Cup finals, will the USA join them though?

Photo: Canadian Mens Soccer Team via Facebook