Canada is officially ready for the 2022 World Cup.
Beginning this Sunday in Al Khor, Qatar, the Red and White will compete against soccer’s best 32 countries for only the second time. Canada last qualified for footy’s ultimate challenge back in 1986.
Understandably, given the near four-decade gap, some viewers – and bettors – may need to brush up on their knowledge to get the most from the sporting event.
Not to worry, PlayCanada compiled this guide explaining Canada’s World Cup chances, tournament favourites, and critical info about the beautiful game.
Watching the 2022 World Cup in Canada: Time zones will be a challenge
Qatar is this year’s host country.
That means watching the World Cup live could prove difficult given the time zone difference and where in Canada you are.
For instance, Canada – slotted for Group F alongside Belgium, Croatia and Morocco, is ensured at least three matches (one against each country) in the group stage. The top two teams advance, while the bottom two book flights home.
Unfortunately, of Canada’s guaranteed games, only the Croatia matchup falls outside of the Monday-Friday work week:
- Belgium (Wednesday, Nov. 23, 1:45 pm EST)
- Croatia (Sunday, Nov. 27, 10:45 am EST)
- Morocco (Thursday, Dec, 1 9:45 am EST)
Schedule-wise, viewing games live or even at a sports bar could be challenging. However, it could be easier to tune in for a few hours if you are a remote worker or work outside the 9-5.
Canada cornered the underdog category in Group F
Given the time difference and potential sleep sacrifice, fans will likely want to see results if they do watch.
Unfortunately, oddsmakers aren’t exactly expecting the Canadians to put on a show. Consider that of the four teams in Group F, Canada – ranked No.41 in the world – is a long shot to reach the elimination round, let alone win the competition.
According to some of Ontario’s legal online sportsbooks, Canada’s odds of a World Cup win, while varied, are less than great.
- BetMGM: 251.00 European odds, +25000 American odds
- BetRivers: 551.00, +55000
- Caesars: 151.00, +15000
- DraftKings: 251.00, +25000
But, score a goal, win a game – Canada still makes history
Unlikely win or not, there is still much to look forward to with Canada’s performance in the World Cup. Because really, anything Canada manages is a positive.
In our last kick at the Cup, Canada’s soccer team failed to register a single goal or point (win or draw). So, any offensive output or stalemate would be considered a historic result.
Given its matchups, Morocco – ranked No.22 worldwide – would likely be the most winnable game.
Oddsmakers: Canada’s most winnable match up is Morocco
Canada’s odds versus Morocco:
Canada victory (3.00 European odds, +200 American odds)
Morocco victory (2.40, +140)
Canada victory (3.20, +220)
Morocco victory (2.40, +140)
Canada victory (2.85, +185)
Morocco victory (2.45, +145)
Beyond Morocco, Canada will be hard-pressed to get a positive result. For starters, Belgium – ranked No.2 in the world – is the toast of Group F and has the seventh-best odds (+1600 American odds, 17.00 European odds) to win the entire competition.
Meanwhile, Croatia – while aging – will be tough. Their experience led the team to the 2018 World Cup final against France.
Brazil, Argentina favourites to win 2022 World Cup
Outside of Canada, Brazil and Argentina – in that order – are the consensus favourites to win the tournament. Brazil holds the record for the most World Cups (five), but Germany and Italy are right behind (four apiece).
Interestingly enough, it’s been 20 years since a Latin American country won the World Cup (2002, Brazil). But Brazil – ranked No.1 – will undoubtedly be at an advantage playing in Qatar’s scorching climate.
European countries have struggled in such playing conditions previously. Indeed, the temperature could be the swaying factor making the Portuguese-speaking country the favourite.
Besides Brazil and Argentina, other serious contenders include:
Future awards: Kane, Mbappe, Benzema and more in contention
Although “the beautiful game” is about teamwork, the World Cup also awards individual honours.
Thus, punters could bet on futures too.
The main two categories are the Golden Boot (top goal scorer) and Golden Glove (best goalkeeper). However, historically the former is more popular for betting.
To that end, England’s Harry Kane (+800 American odds, 9.0 European) is the odds-on favourite to win, followed by France’s young star, Kylian Mbappe (+900, 10.0).
Meanwhile, Brazil’s Alisson Becker is favoured to win the goalkeeper’s prize glove. Thibault Courtois (Belgium) has the second-best odds.
World Cup bids farewell to legends in 2022
When it comes to Canada, it’s unlikely any native Canadian will make it home with hardware.
But expect to hear lots about Alphonso Davies. The 22-year-old has quickly risen to become one of football’s best left-backs since joining powerhouse Bayern Munich in Germany.
Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo (37) and Argentina’s Lionel Messi (35) are two other names to note. The pair – likely making their last World Cup appearances – are universally revered as two of the best footballers to do it.
TSN/CTV official streamers of 2022 World Cup
Regardless of who, what, or where you’re watching, TSN/CTV will be your live stream provider. The pair – and their three-hour pregame shows mounted for each of Canada’s matches – are the country’s official World Cup broadcasters.
All matches will be viewable through the duo. Fans can also watch via the TSN app.
The entire broadcasting schedule is online, too, so you can plan your viewing timetable.
Best sports bars and sportsbooks for watching World Cup in 2022
Of course, the next best thing to catching a game in Qatar is to recreate the environment yourself.
To that end, Ontario recently had a slew of its casinos launch retail sportsbooks. Unfortunately, one of the province’s biggest potential brick-and-mortar sportsbooks – Caesars Windsor – remains a work in progress.
But don’t fret because many other Ontario casinos still have HD plasma TVs, soccer fans needing company and sports betting kiosks.
Here are a few examples:
- Great Blue Heron Casino (Port Perry, Ont.)
- Pickering Casino Resort
- Elements Casino Brantford
- Shorelines Casino Belleville
In-person sports bars are a great alternative, too:
- Real Sports Bar (Toronto, Ont.)
- LEV2L Sports Bar & Entertainment (Niagara, Ont.)
- The Endzone Bar & Grill (Hamilton, Ont.)
- The Bottom Line (Toronto, Ont.)
- The Dock Ellis (Toronto, Ont.)
- The Dugout Sports Lounge (Windsor, Ont.)
Bars in other Canadian cities also have you covered:
- Vancouver: The Butcher & Bullock, Shark Club Vancouver
- Edmonton: The Gadren, 1st Round
- Calgary: Schanks, The Unicorn
- Regina: The Canadian Brewhouse, Baller’s Rec Room
- Winnipeg: Shark Club Sports Bar & Grill, Boogie’s Diner & Sports Lounge
- Quebec City: La Cage Brasserie Sportive, Vegas 2.0
- Montreal: Monsieur Ricard, Bar Champs
- Moncton: The Hub Sports Pub & Club, Cheers Beverage Room
- Halifax: Halifax Sports, Niche Lounge
- St. John’s: The Duke of Duckworth, The Bigs Ultimate Sports Grill
- Charlottetown: All About Golf
Critics rage at FIFA over Qatar hosting World Cup
Even if soccer isn’t your thing, you might still enjoy the political commentary. That should be aplenty once the games begin.
For instance, while Qatar is the first Middle Eastern country to host, that historic breakthrough has been wholly overshadowed up to this point.
Since Qatar’s appointment as the 2022 World Cup hosts nearly a decade ago, criticism has come harsh and fast.
Some of the main concerns are:
- Unsafe playing competitions (hot temperatures)
- Qatar’s history of human rights violations
- Iran’s participation
- Corruption allegations involving FIFA
For their part, Qatar – and FIFA- have tried to douse those flames.
One obvious example is moving this year’s World Cup from its traditional summer slot to November – December to appease players from cooler climes.
Qatar’s human rights record a sticking point for many
However, beyond the playing conditions, political dilemmas rage on.
For starters, activists have condemned Qatar in recent years for its spotty human rights record. Some media reports state thousands of migrant workers have died since Qatar was awarded the World Cup in 2010. Qatar reportedly spent more than US$200 billion to host the event in a major case of sportswashing.
The Qatari government has since said World Cup projects were not responsible for all those deaths. They also added the number was within the expected range given Qatar’s population and type of work.
According to Human Rights Watch, LGBTQ+ people face a harsh reality in the country too. They claim arbitrary arrests, abuse, and discrimination are commonplace. Same-sex relationships are also illegal.
Finally, in recent weeks, global activists have called on FIFA to ban Iran – mired in a bloody revolution – from the competition altogether.
FIFA to teams: Focus on football
FIFA – not one to shy away from controversy – has taken a political stance before.
Earlier this year, the governing body expelled Russia from the World Cup and all of its club competitions. However, this time, no dramatic action appears underway.
Just weeks before the big competition, FIFA passed out a memo to all 32 nations.
Its message? Focus on soccer.
“We know football does not live in a vacuum and we are equally aware that there are many challenges and difficulties of a political nature all around the world.
But please do not allow football to be dragged into every ideological or political battle that exists.”
Canada, the US, and Mexico jointly hosting 2026 World Cup
The 2022 World Cup marks the last time FIFA will use the traditional 32-team format. The field will increase to 48 nations beginning in 2026.
Interestingly enough, Canada, the US and Mexico will jointly host the next edition in four years.
The World Cup was last held in North America (US) in 1994. Many soccer pundits credit the event for popularizing the game in the United States, ultimately catapulting the sport in the country.
Thus, it would appear a lot is riding on Canada’s showing at this year’s tourney.
If we do well – even exceed expectations – the team can harness the momentum into 2026.