October FIFA World Rankings see Canada vault into Hexagonal spot, USMNT drop

Jonathan David – Canada – dribbles past Steffen

The latest FIFA World Rankings were released on Thursday, and there’s welcome news for Canada fans.

Les Rouges have vaulted past El Salvador and into sixth place in Concacaf, meaning John Herdman’s team would slot into the Hexagonal were 2022 World Cup qualifying to start today. The shift up to No. 69 overall comes after three consecutive wins in Group A of the Concacaf Nations League, most notably a 2-0 victory over the US men’s national team at BMO Field on Oct. 15.

As for the USMNT, Gregg Berhalter’s team dropped two spots to No. 23 overall after that shocking night in Toronto. They remain in second place in Concacaf, with Mexico (No. 11 overall) still leading the pack.

For Canada, these new rankings could prove massive in their efforts to qualify for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. Concacaf’s new format has been restructured into two parts, with the main avenue to Qatar going via the Hex. The event’s six teams will be determined by the confederation’s rankings after the June 2020 FIFA window, and Canada were previously on the outside looking in.

The other part gathers Concacaf nations ranked Nos. 7-35, with eight groups eventually giving way to one winner via a single-elimination knockout phase. That winner will face the fourth-place finisher of the Hexagonal group to determine the Concacaf representative in the FIFA intercontinental playoff.

There’s no guarantee that Les Rouges would make their first World Cup since 1986, though this new pathway is certainly more promising. The new rankings also place a greater spotlight on the Canada-USMNT rematch Nov. 15 at Exploria Stadium, home of Orlando City.

Should Canada build off their first USMNT victory in 34 years, a path to the Hex would stand on much firmer ground. It’s all about creating separation from the likes of El Salvador (73), Curacao (76) and Panama (80).