There was a lot of excitement surrounding Canadian men’s soccer in 2022, with the team making the World Cup for the first time since 1986 and just the second time ever.
The event created even more buzz for Ontario sportsbooks with sports betting happening, meaning World Cup bets could be placed legally for the first time in the province.
Canada bowed out from the tournament quickly in late Novemeber, losing all three games in Group F and being outscored 7-2.
Still, there’s more good news on the way because, as a co-host, the Canadians will automatically qualify for the world’s biggest soccer tournament in 2026. And World Cup betting was popular at the province’s sportsbooks this time around despite Canada’s early elimination.
Here’s a look at the future for the Canadian men’s national team.
Who’s Likely To Be Gone
The average age of Canada’s squad in 2022 was 26.9 years, putting them pretty much in the middle of the pack for the tournament. Coach John Herdman had the 15th youngest squad at the 2022 World Cup.
If the roster were to stay intact, Canada would have an average age of 30 in 2026, but international rosters never stay intact for even a short period, never mind for almost four years.
Based on their age, Canada will likely lose starting goalkeeper Milan Borjan (current age 35), captain and midfielder Atiba Hutchinson (39) and starting defender Steven Vitoria (35). Other veterans such as Junior Hoilett (32) and Jonathan Osorio (30) are not sure bets to be around in 2026, either.
Who’s Likely To Play For Canada in 2026
Many of Canada’s stars are young enough that it’s reasonable to expect most, if not all, will be with the team in 2026 for the nation to co-host a men’s World Cup for the first time (the other co-hosts, Mexico and the United States, have previously hosted World Cups on their own).
And Ontario sports betting apps are sure to take plenty of action — on Canada and on the tournament in general — in what by then will be a mature sports wagering market.
Two of the most promising attacking players in the Canadian lineup for the 2022 World Cup are just 22. Alphonso Davies started all three games, and Jonathan David started twice and entered one game as a substitute.
Forward Tajon Buchanan is 23, defender Alistair Johnston is 24 and defender Kamal Miller is 25. All three of them started all three games for Canada.
Only three members of Canada’s World Cup team play in the top division of one of Europe’s “big five” leagues — England, Germany, Italy, Spain or France — while 11 play in Major League Soccer, including six for Montreal.
But again, the players in the top European leagues are all young. Davies plays for German power Bayern Munich, David plays for Lille in France and forward Ike Ugbo (age 24) is also in France with Troyes.
Good Timing For Ontario Sports Betting
The sports betting market in Canada’s most populous province, in addition to Ontario online casinos, launched in April. By then, the nation’s men’s soccer team already had its tickets booked for the World Cup in Qatar. Canada led the CONCACAF region in World Cup qualifying last year, finishing ahead of fellow qualifiers Mexico, the United States and Costa Rica.
Only two host countries have failed to advance from the group stage and into the knockout phase in World Cup history, South Africa in 2010 and Qatar this year.
While the structure in 2026 will be different with Canada being among three host nations — and with a 48-team World Cup field for the first time — it’s reasonable for Ontario soccer fans to hope that their men might make a run in the tournament just as the Canadian women are accustomed to doing.
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