Canada’s 2014 World Cup Qualifying Campaign

I was always a cynic on World Cup Qualifying, and even the World Cup itself, to be honest. Even though I first saw soccer during the 2002 World Cup, I’ve always preferred the club game. Maybe its because Canadian TV coverage of the Premiership, Serie A and Champions League has always been more comprehensive than World Cup Qualifying coverage. Or maybe its simply because watching Canada lose early in qualifying to Central American teams in front of just a few thousand supporters was boring. Or more than likely it was a combination of both.

In 2006 qualifying Canada played in front of 8000 fans at the 60, 000 seat Commonwealth Stadium for an important home match against Honduras. Swanguard Stadium in Burnaby hosted Canada’s other two matches, hosting 6500 and 4000 fans respectively. Hardly a difficult atmosphere to come and play in. Canada managed only five points in those games, finishing last in their group.

Fast Forward seven years and soccer has grown drastically in Canada. BMO Field is now the home to most all of Canada’s national team games. It is a beautiful 21, 000 seat stadium on the shores of Lake Ontario. And Friday night was unlike anything I’ve ever seen in Canadian soccer. 17, 500 fans making noise. A lot of it. And for Canada, not their opposition. Canada had a better attendance than many of the teams who played at home in Europe on Friday.

And it is with this growing popularity that Canadian soccer will hit a new high on Tuesday evening when Citytv will broadcast our away World Cup qualifying match in Panama. I don’t remember ever seeing a senior men’s national team game on over-the-air television in my lifetime. The match will also air on Sportsnet One for those without access to City. Coincidently Shaw Direct recently added Citytv HD to their channel lineup. Gerry Dobson and Craig Forrest will call the match. It is one of seven World Cup Qualifying matches airing live on Canadian TV on Tuesday. Many others will air on tape delay and/or Sportsnet World Plus on Rogers Cable.

17 thoughts on “Canada’s 2014 World Cup Qualifying Campaign

  1. Well, if the away game is anything as dramatic as the home game, well are we in for good ride. Canada’s win was an enthralling affair, full of passion, rage, athleticism and the will to win. At times, it was better than an EPL game, with all players on both sides , really kicking it into high gear. More please!

    • “At times, it was better than an EPL game” in terms of everything except skill maybe….

      • There have been some dud EPL games , too….. Skill can only be trumped by desire. The Woman’s Olympic soccer tournament wasn’t too shabby, skillwise.

        • A dud EPL team still beats Canada, Panama and any women’s team.

          • You are a stubborn scot , I guess it will make you happy to know that I am kneeling at your shrine, oh wise footy guru. What do I know, I am just a newbie to football, having watched my first game in 1962. Oh well.

            • I couldn’t care less when you started watching soccer, I was stating the facts. If it’s taken you 50 years to realize that North American soccer isn’t as skilled then I think you have problems. I’m no soccer guru (and clearly neither are you).

              • The only problem I have is with the fact that you are wrong on all counts. Greece won not with skill but with desire. Football is not defined by skill or else England would have won a World Cup recently. We were commenting on a game that was interesting. Making flippant comments about facts when sport is involved shows a lack of understanding that is perfectly echoed in your angry words. While you are entitled to your opinion, you should learn some manners.

                • Your sarcasm caused me to look past the argument you were trying to make. I think boasting about how old you are shows you need some manners as well. If we’re talking about interesting games, then yes the Canada game was fantastic and I was on the edge on my seat. But, the game wasn’t skillful by any means and contained so much gamesmanship that a neutral would probably turn it off right away.

                  • This sounds like the NFL v CFL conversation, haha. Could go on forever about NFL being more talented, but CFL more exciting (or not, depending on your views).

                    Personally I thought Friday’s game was great. Last night’s not so much. The power outage ruined the flow early. Then Panama scored and I just had a feeling it was over.

  2. There are some of us Canadians who watch the national teams and Canadian MLS teams who don’t give a crap about foreign leagues.

  3. Last time Cdn senior men were on over the air tv was World Cup 86 on CBC.

  4. Too bad Team Canada didn’t care about the game tonight, or so that was the impression I got from watching it. Not much effort from the boys, especially once Panama scored

  5. Of course, a draw or win in Panama would have made life much easier for the Canadians, but they aren’t in a horrible position right now.

    They MUST beat Cuba at BMO Field – and I would dare say Canada is favored in that game (Cuba has no points in 4 games so far). Panama and Honduras play each other on the same day, so with a win Canada will be ahead of one of them heading into the last matchday. Ideally, a Canadian win over Cuba would be coupled with Honduras not winning against Panama, in which case Canada would only need a draw in Honduras on the last matchday to qualify. A Honduras win over Panama would mean that Canada would have to beat Honduras to qualify – a draw would be insufficient unless Panama does not beat Cuba on the last day.

  6. Well Women’s soccer in the US had hit that point during which they hosted and won the world cup in the 90’s the team and US women’s Soccer did a lot to promote this event and winning it was what really put Womens soccer in the US over the top and now is a highly regarded media and fan event when the US womens team plays and have the TV ratings to back it.
    The Canadian Women’s soccer program is now doing that. with the north American football game Mens soccer will never get that attention.
    The Canandian womens soccer team went into the Olympics highly ranked in the World at 6th and almost pulled off the upset of the US Women’s team to get ito the gold Medal if no for a few questionable calls to say the least. They did however bounce back to pull out the Bronze.
    This now sets up a Big rivarly between the US and Canadian women’s team.
    You can bet that whether it is part of a qulifier, a medal round game, or just a simple tune up game before the World cup it will be big news and will draw a nice crowd. With the building of all of the new facilities in Canada for soccer and football their will be plenty of first class venues all over Canada in which to play these games. The World cup in 2014 will be followed by the Pan am games in 2015 so back to back years with the now darlings of the Canadian sports world hosting two world class events with a huge rivalry with the Bordering country to the south you can bet that cities will be putting in their bids to get a pre tournament game invilvisn Canada vs any opponent or the US team vs any opponent with them being so close.
    The big pre tournament game will be the natural final tune up game between the Canadian and Women’s team. at this point there will be two stadium that will be brand new for Canada to show off to the US in Winnipeg and in the nations capitol of ottawa.
    If a US vs Canada showdown in the World cup is any indication of things to come you can bet that the OSEG and Ottawa, the nations capitol, would be the perfect place to host a final pre tournament game between the US and Canada befor the Pan Am games begin a few hours down the road in the GTA. Having all of the political big wigs from Canada sitting in new luxury suits with the Canadian National Soccer program heads would be a wise choice.

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