Preview: Canada vs. Jamaica

Preview: Canada vs. Jamaica

Canada need just a single point against Jamaica on Sunday to clinch their spot in World Cup 2022 this November, as the two CONCACAF sides square off at BMO Field in Toronto.

The Canucks saw their 17-match unbeaten run in World Cup qualifying come to an end on Thursday, dropping a 1-0 decision to Costa Rica, while The Reggae Boyz came back to draw El Salvador 1-1.

The Canadian champagne remains on ice for the time being, as they failed to find a way through a desperate Costa Rican defence, determined to maintain their advantage at all costs.

Despite the setback, there were still plenty of positives for coach John Herdman to take away from their performance, as they pressed Los Ticos relentlessly for an equaliser in the second half, but in the end, it came down to a matter of inches and a few bounces which did not go their way.

Les Rouges will fancy their chances of officially qualifying for the finals for the second time in their history when they take on a Jamaican side who have never beaten them on Canadian soil.

Defending set-pieces has been a bit of a worry for this team, as their defence seemed a little slow in their marking on Thursday, while they lost their share of aerial duels.

Their breakaway speed in transition has been one of the most vital aspects of their game, as they have a plethora of talented individuals with the skill and pace to burn opposing sides and create their share of opportunities.

They have had a bend but don’t break approach to defending throughout the qualifying campaign, often sustaining a lot of early pressure before settling into their game and picking their spots to counter.

While a draw is all Canada need to make it to Qatar, Herdman and his team have never been satisfied with the bare minimum, and they will be eager to win their final two games.

Doing so would not only earn them a tournament berth, but it would likely to give The Canucks a more favourable draw for the finals come November.

Jamaica may be out of contention for Qatar, but their interim boss Paul Hall saw many things that he liked from his players in their 1-1 draw against El Salvador.

The Manchester-born manager, who is also currently serving as the lead coach for the Queens Park Rangers U-23 squad, asked his team to show some style on Thursday, and we saw plenty of creativity from this group over 90 minutes.

They are physically stronger than most sides in this region, with a ton of speed and stamina that, with the right touches and skill, can cause problems for the opposition.

When they play a free-flowing style as we saw against the Salvadorans, this is a group capable of competing and defeating the strongest sides in this region, which has to be a bit disappointing knowing that they will have to wait four years for another shot to qualify.

When you look at this squad, there is quality and talent all over the field, but perhaps they lack a clear identity on how they should be playing each game tactically.

Five of their eight points in the Octagon have come away from home, which should give them a little bit of confidence coming to Canada, a place that has not been kind to them through the years.

Even though a spot in Qatar was their primary objective, if Jamaica can claim at least one point from their last two qualifiers, they would finish with the most points in the final qualification phase, since their only World Cup appearance in 1998.

Canada World Cup Qualifying – North Central America form:
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Jamaica World Cup Qualifying – North Central America form:
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Jamaica form (all competitions):
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We say: Canada 2-0 Jamaica
The Jamaicans should be able to contain the Canadians speed, but as fast as they are, their technical ability is not on the same level as Canada.

Les Rouges were unlucky to come away empty-handed versus Los Ticos, though they have never lost consecutive matches since Herdman took over.

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