Two teams have clinched an important win in the Qatar 2022 qualifying round this week leading to positive outcomes in the final round for Iran and Canada. The former finally secured one automatic berth while the latter is edging closer to their first world cup appearance since Mexico 1986.
Team Melli is the first team in AFC which has sealed the ticket to the world cup 2022 after thumping Iraq 1-0. FC Porto forward Mehdi Taremi bagged the winning goal in Azadi Stadium in the midweek. Iran is leading the group A by collecting 19 points, which is already enough to fly to Qatar. Their closest rival, South Korea is entailing two points behind and only one step closer to follow Dragan Skocic’s men as the second Asian team to the world cup.
Iran have qualified to the world cup six times. Qatar 2022 would be their third consecutive success since 2014. Their first appearance was in Argentina 1978 when they were grouped with Peru, Netherlands and Scotland. In their debut, they only managed to snatch one point. Iran’s first victory in the world cup was in France 1998. At that time, Ali Daei and Co defeated USA 2-1. It was a historic win for them though they suffered two losses in the remaining games of the group stage against Yugoslavia and Germany. Meanwhile, their best result was actually in the previous edition. In Russia 2018, Team Melli under Carlos Queroz were able to pick up four points from a win against Morocco and a 1-1 draw versus Portugal. Unfortunately, they slumped to a 1-0 defeat from Spain.
In the meantime, Canada crushed Honduras 2-0 on the road this week. An own goal by Denil Maldonado and Jonathan David’s goal gave them their first victory against the same team since 1985, the year when they qualified to Mexico 1986. That was the only appearance in the final round. At that time, they were seeded with France, USSR and Hungary. Canada was simply too inexperienced for a debutante as they were beaten in all games, conceded five without scoring any.
This upcoming edition would be a chance for John Herdman’s redemption after the horrible exit in 1986 as well as to show how prepared they are for the 2026 World Cup where they will be one of the join hosts alongside USA and Mexico. Their current squad is filled with promising talents such as Lille’s Jonathan Davied, Club Brugge’s man Tajon Buchanan, Besiktas frontman Cyle Larin and last but not least, Bayern Munich’s wing back, Alphonse Davies.