Three days after learning their draw for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, the Canadian men’s national team learned on Monday night they’re in League A’s Group C for the 2022-23 Concacaf Nations League alongside Honduras and Curacao.
Here’s what awaits Les Rouges in the second edition of the regional competition, which begins this June and acts as a qualifier for the 2023 Concacaf Gold Cup, aside from providing another trophy opportunity.
When they play
Schedule details are to be announced, with the semifinal matchups occurring at a centralized location between the four League A group winners.
- Group stage: June 2022 and March 2023, four total (home-and-away)
- Semifinals and final: June 2023
Who they drew
Canada, who finished second in their group in the inaugural edition, are one of 12 teams in League A. They’re in Group C alongside Honduras and Curacao, two teams that also featured in the 2019-20 tournament.
Honduras: Los Catrachos finished bottom in the recently-completed Octagonal, with Canada taking four of six points via a 1-1 home draw and 2-0 road victory – all before finishing first in Concacaf’s final qualifying stage. From MLS, the Central American nation’s squad includes Minnesota United FC midfielder Kervin Arriaga, CF Montréal forward Romell Quioto and Colorado Rapids midfielder Bryan Acosta.
Curacao: This Caribbean island nation was dropped from the 2021 Gold Cup due to a high number of COVID-19 positive cases, a setback for the 79th-ranked team in the world (three spots above Honduras). Columbus Crew goalkeeper Eloy Room features for Curacao, while D.C. United forward Nigel Robertha is also in their player pool – part of the Dutch influx of talent.
League A groups
- Group A: Mexico, Jamaica, Suriname
- Group B: Costa Rica, Panama, Martinque
- Group C: Canada, Honduras, Curacao
- Group D: USA, El Salvador, Grenada
Canada nearly advanced to the inaugural Nations League semifinals, only slotting second in Group A behind the United States via goal differential.
During that run, they recorded a memorable 2-0 win over the Yanks in October 2019 that portended the team’s rise toward a first World Cup berth in 36 years. That marked their first victory over their southern neighbors since 1985, though a 4-1 loss in Orlando a month later proved decisive in the standings.
This go-around, Canada will be among the favorites. And the June 2022 group-stage games are particularly important with limited international windows ahead of the World Cup in November.
HIGHLIGHTS: US Men's National Team vs. Canada | October 15, 2019
Gold Cup implications
The top two finishers in each League A group, as well as the group winners in League B, qualify directly for next summer’s confederation championship.
Twelve other teams will have an opportunity to qualify for the tournament via the Gold Cup Prelims. The Prelims will include the participation of the League A third-place finishers (four teams), the League B second-place finishers (four teams), and the League C group winners (four teams).