A Look At How Canada's Opponents Fared This Week (June 2022 Window)
While Canada Soccer was mightily embarrassed by scheduling a friendly match with Iran and then having to cancel it weeks later due to public, government and player pressure (I'll have more on this in another blog post), the three teams they will face at the group stage in Qatar 2022 all played matches this week and all of them suffered their own embarrassments by losing their games, each of them by three goal margins. Let's take a look at each game.
Point 1 - June 1, 2022 - Morocco takes it on the chin from the U.S., losing 3-0 in a friendly played in Cincinnati. The Americans, led by Christian Pulisic, easily outclassed a Moroccan team that looked lost against a superior American side. The Americans always look good playing in the U.S. but really struggle when they have to go on the road. In this game, they didn't get their usual home crowd advantage as a large portion of the spectators were Moroccan supporters, which led Pulisic, in an after game interview, to bemoan not enough U.S. supporters were in the stands.
Point 2 - June 3, 2022 - Belgium gets schooled by the Netherlands by a score of 4-1. In a UEFA Nations League match the No. 2 ranked FIFA team was thoroughly outplayed at home by a determined Netherlands squad. Netherlands tore apart the Belgium defense and looked poised for a 4-0 win, with a late goal by Batshuayi saving a bit of face for the Belgians, who were booed off the pitch by their own fans.
Point 3 - June 3, 2022 - Croatia takes an Austrian beating at home, losing 3-0. Austrian gaffer, Ralf Rangnick, fresh off ditching Man U., coached a strong Austrian side who scored just before the end of the first half, scored two more goals at the beginning of the second half and then hung on to keep a clean sheet against a Croatian side that decided to rest star Luka Modric (I guess because he just won Champions League with Real Madrid). Modric was called upon as a sub after Austria went up 3-0 and tried to light a fire under his team, but without success.