The news was perhaps not unexpected, but it was certainly met with joy when it was announced that Canada, USA and Mexico would be hosting the 2026 FIFA World Cup. Montreal, Toronto and Edmonton look to be the three host cities in Canada, so there should be an opportunity to catch a big game or two. In total, there are expected to be 10 matches held in Canada, 10 in Mexico and the remainder in the US.
Of course, for the majority of Canadian soccer fans the big news will not be the fact that Canada hosts a World Cup, but the fact that the men’s team will finally get to play in a World Cup. It’s been 32 years since Canada graced the Finals; the one and only appearance at Mexico ’86 saw Les Rouges play three games and post three losses.
World ranking shows Canada have mountain to climb
So, what to expect from the Canada 2026 team? Will eight years be enough to build a side worthy of competing with soccer’s heavyweights? In a word, no. Canada, currently ranked 79th in the world, sandwiched between Lebanon and Curacao in the FIFA World Rankings, will need a small miracle to make a lasting impact on the competition.
It’s not clear what the odds of Canada’s success would be, but you can guess the odds will be a lot higher than 81.00 offered for the Canucks and Senators, the two teams with the biggest odds (according to Sportsinteraction) for the 2019 Stanley Cup Finals. Les Rouges will be a whole new level of underdog.
Les Rouges will be massive odds for success
In fact, the best way to look at it is to see Panama’s odds for the current World Cup in Russia. They stand at a massive 909.00 for the most stunning upset in sports history. That doesn’t give Canadians much hope when you consider Panama qualified for Russia 2018 ahead of Canada (Les Rouges were eliminated in the fourth round). Of course, that’s just the view of one bookie, so check out these sportsbook reviews for the Canadian bettor for a broader outlook.
Anyway, the point is that Canadian men’s team are unlikely to throwing a parade with the World Cup trophy in July 2026. But, there is every chance that they can perhaps win a game or two, perhaps get to the knockout phases. The reason for that optimism is the that the 2026 World Cup will be played with an expanded number of 48 teams (there are currently 32). It means there is more chance of coming up against fellow minnows (in soccer terms) and getting a result.
Hosting World Cup is once in a lifetime opportunity
But, you can bet that the celebration will be happening win, lose or draw. How amazing would it be to see Canada take on, say, Brazil in the Olympic Stadium in Montreal in a competitive World Cup match? How about a clash with neighbours USA in a match that really mattered? The chance to put one over on England – the team every soccer nation loves to beat – in Toronto? The possibilities are endless and part of the reason that Canada, along with Mexico and USA, are real winners even before the tournament starts.