© US Today
There is only one man in Canada’s squad who was old enough to play when Canada last played at a World Cup 36 years ago: Atiba Hutchinson. But he probably won’t be able to tell you any memories of it at just three years old.
As we look ahead to one of the country’s greatest football games of all time against Belgium at the World Cup in November, we predict Canada’s starting XI.
Goalkeeper: Milan Borjan (Red Star Belgrade)
Milan Borjan, who has just won his fifth consecutive Serbian SuperLiga title with Red Star Belgrade, remains an integral part of the Canada squad, especially after such a fantastic form in World Cup qualifiers. The 34-year-old is a fantastic shot-stopper and his form at Red Star means he will almost certainly start.
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Right-Back: Richie Laryea (Toronto)
A 4-4-3 formation should see Alphonso Davies attack for Canada. Toronto’s Richie Laryea will step in at right-back. The Canadian is on loan from Nottingham Forest this season but has not disappointed in MLS. With Nottingham struggling to win the Premier League, Laryea will at least pick up some form ahead of the World Cup with Toronto.
Left-back: Sam Adekugbe (Hatayspor)
Sam Adekugbe’s consistency was crucial for Hatayspor last season as they climbed the league in the Super Lig and overtook the likes of Galatasaray en route to a sixth-place finish in their first-ever season in the top flight. Also, he played more minutes than any other player in Hatayspor team last season.
He has looked promising again this campaign as an attacking-minded left-back and John Herdman will field Adekugbe to propel Davies further up the field.
Central defender: Steven Vitoria (Moreirense)
Steven Vitoria is one of the oldest players in the squad but he remains an integral part of GD Chaves in the Primeira Liga. In fact, after playing every other out of four games, Vitoria has scored to move Chaves sixth in the league. His form and experience make him indispensable for Canada.
Central defender: Kamal Miller (Montreal)
Montreal has been outstanding in MLS this season and looks set to be in the playoffs ahead of the World Cup if they can continue their current form. Much of that was thanks to Kamal Miller on defense, and he now sees his team second in the Eastern Conference. Miller has also scored a goal this season and will start as a central defender for Canada.
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Center-Midfield: Stephen Eustaquio (Porto)
Although Stephen Eustaquio has barely played for Porto this season, his experience in Europe means he remains one of Canada’s most important players. The defensive midfielder gives Canada stability in midfield and will be just as important as the forwards at the World Cup as Canada will hardly see the ball in games against Belgium, Croatia and Morocco.
Central Midfield: Tajon Buchanan (Club Brugge)
Tajon Buchanan has been one of the key players for Canada this season. However, he is still injured and has yet to play for Club Brugge in Belgium. He has plenty of time to get fit and will start for Canada if he makes it to the World Cup in time.
Center Midfield: Atiba Hutchinson (Besiktas
Hutchinson may be 39 at the World Cup, but with his experience captaining for Canada and his club Besiktas, he will start and wear his country’s armband again. However, he’s been playing significantly less this season, which is no surprise given his age.
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Right Wing: Cyle Larin (Club Brugge)
Canada’s all-time top scorer Cyle Larin is now at Club Brugge and is yet to score for his new side, having previously scored 31 goals in 83 games for Besiktas. Canada are hoping they can reverse their form ahead of the World Cup.
Forward: Jonathan David (Lille)
Jonathan David, as a Canadian, remains the top active scorer in Europe and now has two goals and two assists in five games for Lille. The forward scored 15 goals last season after scoring 13 in Lille’s Ligue 1 title triumph in 2020/21 and at just 23 years old he’s getting better and better.
Left Wing: Alphonso Davies (Bayern Munich)
Davies needs no introduction and will be the first name on the squad list for Canada as he seeks to score his country’s 13th goal.
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