Canadian men take on Japan in final warm-up for FIFA World Cup

Canada will face Japan in Dubai on November 17 in the final warm-up match before the World Cup in Qatar.

The match will take place at Al Maktoum Stadium in the United Arab Emirates. .

The Canadian men are tied in Group F and are scheduled to open World Cup game against No. 2 Belgium on November 23, while Japan kicks off Group E’s game against Germany on the same day.

The Canadians then take on No. 15 Croatia on November 27 and No. 23 Morocco on December 1.

“With an eight week difference between our games in September (against Qatar and Uruguay) and our first game at the FIFA World Cup, it is important for our players to experience that level of international intensity with our pre-tournament game against Japan, Canada coach John Herdman said in a statement.

“Japan has consistently progressed from the group stage during the recent FIFA World Cups, so it will be a good test for the group.”

Japan, ranked 24th in the world, has secured its berth in Qatar by finishing second (at 7-2-1) to Saudi Arabia (7-1-2) in Group B of the Asian Football’s AFC qualifier Confederation (AFC).

It is Japan’s seventh consecutive trip to the World Cup.

Canada, currently ranked 43rd, has lost both previous encounters with Japan – 2-1 in March 2013 in Doha and 3-0 in May 2011 in Niigata, Japan (in the Confederations Cup).

The Canadians will meet Qatar on September 23 at the Generali Arena in Vienna, followed by a match against Uruguay on September 27 at the Tehelne Pole Stadium in Bratislava, Slovakia. The match in Uruguay was originally also scheduled for Vienna.

Uruguay is in 13th place, while Qatar, the reigning champions of the AFC Asian Cup, is number 48.

Host country Qatar plays in group A at the World Cup, alongside Ecuador, Senegal and the Netherlands. Uruguay is in Group H with Portugal, Ghana and South Korea.

Canada only played once against Uruguay, losing 3-1 in the Orange Bowl in February 1986. The Canadian men have never played against Qatar.

The September window marks Canada’s first trip to Europe since March 2018. Canada last played against an Asian opponent in November 2016 and a South American team in 2014.

Herdman’s team last played in June, beating number 84 Curaçao 4-0 in Vancouver and losing 2-1 to number 80 Honduras in San Pedro Sula in the CONCACAF Nations League game.

A warm-up game against Iran earlier in June was canceled due to public criticism of the opposition. Panama replaced Iran as their opponent on June 5 in Vancouver, but the game was canceled due to a deadlock in contract talks between the players and Canada Soccer.

Canada qualified for Qatar on March 27 with a 4-0 win over Jamaica at Toronto’s BMO Field. The Canadians concluded their qualifying campaign on March 30 in Panama, finishing at the top of the final CONCACAF qualifying round at 8-2-4.

The Canadians went 14-4-2 in three qualifying rounds.