Tata Martino

Canada won’t take any moral victories from their Group F-opening match at the 2022 FIFA World Cup, a 1-0 defeat to Belgium.

But their performance against the world’s No. 2-ranked team has drawn rave reviews and shown Les Rouges are for real, firmly belonging on this global stage.

Just ask Mexico head coach Tata Martino, who labeled Canada’s performance a “clinic” and said they’ve played arguably the best soccer of the group stage thus far.

Martino, an MLS Cup 2018 champion with Atlanta United, twice encountered Canada’s new-era squad in the Concacaf Octagonal. And they struggled with head coach John Herdman’s team each time during qualifying, drawing 1-1 at Mexico City’s Estadio Azteca before losing 2-1 during a snow-filled evening at Edmonton’s Commonwealth Stadium.

Those results helped propel Canada atop Concacaf and into their first World Cup in 36 years, last qualifying for the 1986 tournament. Now, at this Qatar-hosted one, the world is seeing Alphonso Davies and Co. mean business.

Canada are still in search of their first-ever World Cup victory and goal. They’ll hope to capture that Sunday when facing Croatia (11 am ET | FS1, Telemundo), before wrapping Group F play Thursday against Morocco (10 am ET | FOX or FS1, Telemundo).

Whatever unfolds, Canada are creating some serious momentum before they co-host the 2026 FIFA World Cup alongside Mexico and the United States – a tournament that'll expand to 48 teams (from 32) and be hosted across the continent.