The Canadians will face Japan in the final warm-up before the FIFA World Cup

Long-standing World Cup questions for Canada will be answered in the September window

Sixty days from today, the Canadian men’s national team will face Belgium in the first World Cup match in 36 years.

Still, Canada has just three matches to prepare for the big dance. The first two will be against World Cup hosts Qatar on September 23, followed by Uruguay on September 27. It will be the first non-CONCACAF opponent since January 2020. Les Rouges.

All the more reason why Friday’s list reveal was highly anticipated. In the end, 27 players were called for the cut with some interesting names.

Most of the regulars in defense are back in the fold, with the exception of Joel Waterman, who replaces the injured Donal Henry. Waterman has made headlines this season with CF Montreal as part of a back line that also includes fellow internationals Kamal Miller and Alastair Johnston.

Waterman’s distribution, positional flexibility – he can play on the left or right side of a back three – and comfort in the system already used by Canada coach John Herdman make him an ideal call for this window. 26 years old xGB build And the accuracy of the passage, as reflected in it Statistical radar Below, back up those claims.

However, Waterman is suffering from the odd hiccup defensively. When he pushed up the pitch with Montreal, the team showed up in transition.

Check out number 16 in the video below.

But distribution is a major weapon in Canada’s favor. Montreal’s build-up from the back is exciting to watch and can help against their opponents who pressure Canadian defenders at a high level.

“He plays the game the right way,” Herdman said. “For him, now is that he can handle Alphonso Davis, Ciel Lauren, Jonathan David in these environments?

“We know it’s a step above MLS, and we’re ready to put Joel to the test.”

Like Waterman, fellow Montreal call-up Ishmael Kwon joined the midfield group due to injury. Captain Atiba Hutchinson has recovered from a pre-season hamstring injury and is set to return in late October. National team medical staff plan to fly to Istanbul, where Hutchinson plays his club soccer with Besiktas, to monitor his progress.

At the same time, one can benefit. Jonathan Osorio is dealing with “nervous weakness” related to his heart attack in mid-July. Marc-Anthony Kaye is still developing match fitness, so the 20-year-old midfielder could be the next man up.

Then 19 and with a handful of professional appearances to his name, Coon played in Canada’s March World Cup qualifier against Costa Rica. He’s now logged around 2,000 per minute and looks very polished.

Cowan’s success led to reported bids from English Championship clubs City of Norwich and Sheffield United. Nothing moves but the potential is evident.

“I had the opportunity to speak to a colleague of mine who works at Norwich City and they gave a really deep assessment of Ismail and felt the same way as us,” Herdman said. “He has first class talent. He has the opportunity to really play in the world.

“I think he has shown good form for it again [Montreal]. His club is really high at the minute and you can see that it is hard to get into the midfield group with Samuel Payet. [Victor] Vanyama is in there.”

Kwon’s box-to-box ability, especially the way he moves the ball up and down, could be an asset at the World Cup, provided he owns these friendly hosts.

As thin as the midfield is, the forward corps is as loaded as ever. Ten wingers and strikers were called up, including 18-year-old Espanyol youngster Luca Coloso, who was part of a June camp that was eventually cut short due to a labor dispute.

Colocho started for Espanyol in La Liga as a mere 17-year-old, which accelerated his progression to the top flight. The fact that he is also eligible for the United States, Nigeria and Italy earlier this summer only thickens the plot.

But despite getting just two training sessions during a grueling week, the group made an impact on Koliosho.

“He enjoyed the environment,” Herdman said. “I think Alfonso is his favorite player and he’s had a good relationship with Jonathan David and a number of the young players and he’s certainly had a good relationship with the staff. There’s no doubt he’ll be back.”

Because Kolyoshu has qualified for four different countries, appearances in these friendlies will tie the youngster to Canada. He has to play in a competitive game to lock him in the red and white.

Theo Corbiano, who has been in sensational form with Blackpool, returns with Tajon Buchanan suffering from a quad injury. Herdman says Buchanan will get “very limited minutes” in these friendlies as a result.

Injuries, along with players potentially lacking rhythm, have all contributed to a high number of forwards during the World Cup, although Herdman said he might test a few of them at wing-back.

All of this leads to an interesting tactical question around formation. A line-up of five midfielders and 10 forwards certainly indicates that Herdman will stick to a 3-4-3 in possession, which will change from the ball to a 4-4-2. Whether this is the right strategy considering how Belgium, Croatia and Morocco can approach the group stage matches is another matter.

Again, these friendlies—and November’s World Cup match against Japan—should prepare the squad for what awaits them in Doha.

“I think there are similarities in playing styles with at least one of our opponents who will play against an important group stage opponent,” Herdman said.

Uruguay prefers to deploy a central trio, usually formed at Galatasaray of Real Madrid’s Federico Valverde, Tottenham’s Rodrigo Bentancur and Lucas Torreira. Manuel Ugart (Sporting CP) and Matias Vicino (Lazio) are the only two reserves in a packed midfield, which Canada’s World Cup opponents will also be proud of.

“I have to say the game against Uruguay, it was a huge leap for Canada to make it in Europe,” Herdman said. “It’s going to be a real test and it’s not necessarily a tactical test. It’s going to be the first time you’re playing a $400 million team. When you think you’re playing the United States and they’re at 250 Be on the mark. You double it when you play Uruguay, you play Real Madrid against Valverde, you play a game. [Edinson] Cavani, you play [Darwin] Nunez plays in Liverpool.

“It’s just another level. We can’t wait. It’s so exciting.”

Note: Daniel Jebison, one of the most sought-after dual nationals, has been called up by the England Under-20 squad for this window. “He’s proud of his Canadian heritage, he sees himself as Canadian, he identifies as Canadian and at some point he wants to play for Canada,” Herdman said, and is involved in ongoing discussions with the 19-year-old. is, although agent and commercial influences delay the process. … Herdman also ruled out the potential recruitment of 22-year-old center back Tom Holmes, who has a Canadian-born grandmother. However, d 2009 amendment According to Canadian law, Holmes, who has no ties to Canada since his grandmother, is not allowed to represent the national team, despite FIFA rules.

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