ORLANDO – And so, once again Canada find themselves watching, waiting and hoping to see if results go in their favor.
But unlike previous times where they play the waiting game, Canada are sweating their fate in two competitions instead of one.
The team holds out the slimmest of hopes that Cuba will pull off some kind of improbable result on Tuesday against the US national team in the League A, Group A finale to get them into the final round of the Nations League. Putting it charitably, those odds are very long to say the least.
With a few games still to come in this international window, Canada also wait to see what remains of their hopes of qualifying for the Hex as they embark on the road to 2022 World Cup qualifying.
“It’s a learning process with this Canadian team,” said Alphonso Davies after Friday's 4-1 loss to the USMNT. “Step by step we go forward. We can’t really think about this loss too much. It can’t get us down. We just have to keep our heads up and keep moving forward.”
Their odds were always long to get into the top six in the FIFA rankings in Concacaf but they had gained a glimmer of hope after last month’s shock win over the United States in Toronto.
Canada now have to break out their calculators and check the scenarios to see if there’s any way the math can work in their favor and they can sneak into the top six teams in Concacaf in the FIFA rankings.
“We’ve got to be optimistic,” said head coach John Herdman.
“They still believe in themselves that this group are good enough to be in the Hex. We’ve left it to the football gods to some degree but we keep pushing and our luck's going to come our way. It’ll come for Canada.”
There are still some international windows to try and gain the points for the Hex but Canada likely will need to land friendlies against some higher-ranked opposition.
It’s going to be a tough challenge to even get those games organized, let alone get a result should they manage to line them up.
“You have to be very strategic. And then the big question is who wants to play Canada in that window,” said Herdman. “We’ve been working behind the scenes to make sure that we’ve got these teams lined up that can give us a range of points that are realistic based on where we are in our journey. We come out of this at the end of next week, we see where these points are and as an organization we’ll be doing everything we can toward going to the Hex.”