Now it gets real for the Canadian men's national team.
John Herdman’s squad cruised through earlier rounds to reach the final stage of World Cup Qualifying for the first time since 1997. Coming off a strong performance at the Concacaf Gold Cup, Canada are trying to book their World Cup ticket for the first time since 1986 – and their endeavors are bound to be challenging.
First up for Les Rouges are Honduras, with the game being played at BMO Field – the first match on Canadian soil and in front of fans since a historic 2-0 win over the US men's national team in Nations League play on Oct. 15, 2019.
Here’s what you need to know ahead of Canada’s anticipated Octagonal opener.
- Thursday, September 2 | 8:05 pm ET
- BMO Field | Toronto, Ontario
How to watch and stream
- OneSoccer, Paramount+
What to know: Canada
Against a veteran Honduran side, Canada are hoping to keep the good vibes rolling from earlier qualifying rounds and a run to the Gold Cup semifinals. New England Revolution forward Tajon Buchanan, Colorado Rapids midfielder Mark-Anthony Kaye and Toronto FC midfielder Jonathan Osorio headline the 11 MLS players who received call-ups.
The side is steered by Vancouver Whitecaps FC academy product and current Bayern Munich star Alphonso Davies, as well as Lille forward and Ligue 1 champion Jonathan David.
To reach this point, they overcame Suriname to win Group B (first round) before taking a home-and-home series with Haiti (second round). Now, Canada meet Honduras for the first time since a Gold Cup group stage 0-0 draw in 2017.
What to know: Honduras
Honduras are coming off an appearance in the Gold Cup quarterfinals, where they lost to Mexico, 3-0, after finishing second in Group D behind Qatar.
Head coach Fabian Coito has called in an experienced squad that includes Romell Quioto, who scored for CF Montréal in a 3-1 win over Toronto FC on Friday in his return from injury, as well as veteran midfielder Boniek Garcia and defender Maynor Figueroa from Houston Dynamo FC. Other MLS connections include FC Dallas midfielder Bryan Acosta, LA Galaxy defender Danilo Acosta and defender Andy Najar, who has enjoyed a career resurgence this year under Hernan Losada at D.C. United.
Los Catrachos are looking to book a World Cup return after making the 2010 and 2014 editions. They also qualified for the 1982 version, though have never advanced past the group stage.