Will Canada make the 2024 Copa America?

November 24, 2023

The anticipation surrounding Canada's potential participation in the Copa America in June 2024 has sparked widespread speculation. However, committing to a definitive answer remains challenging at this juncture. While the sentiment leans towards a positive affirmation, reservations persist, creating a sense of uncertainty.

One crucial factor influencing this uncertainty is the team's performance on the field. The offensive capabilities of the Canadian team are undeniable, showcasing moments of excellence. Yet, concerns loom large when scrutinizing the defensive aspects of their play. Unlike club football, where reinforcements can be easily acquired, the national team faces constraints with its existing defensive lineup—Derek Cornelius, Steven Vitoria, Daniel Henry, and Kamal Miller.

Internationally, this defensive quartet might fall short of the required standard. The limitations become evident, emphasizing the need for a seasoned coach who can instill a collective defensive strategy. Relying on an aging defense is not a sustainable approach, especially considering the future unavailability of players like Steven Vitoria. Cornelius, despite his achievements with Malmo in the Swedish Championship, may face challenges at the international level.

The concern deepens when considering the lack of game time for certain players. The recent victory over the United States, while commendable, was achieved with certain advantages. The absence of FIFA windows until the Copa America poses a significant hurdle. This limitation restricts the team's ability to engage in meaningful match practices, affecting their overall preparedness.

Addressing this, there are potential opportunities for friendly matches. However, without FIFA windows, securing the participation of players from top-tier clubs becomes problematic. The logistical challenges of convincing clubs like Bayern Munich to release players for non-sanctioned FIFA days are formidable. This situation underscores the importance of having the team play together consistently, a necessity emphasized by the missed timber window.

The post-match analysis on Tuesday revealed the team's recognition of these challenges. While not offering excuses, the coach acknowledged the missed opportunities for game time during the league quarter-final. The need for consistent playtime is highlighted, even if it means participating in the Copa America, where the competition may be formidable.

In conclusion, the level of concern regarding Canada's readiness for the Copa America is palpable. Despite the recent victory over the United States, the challenges ahead, including the lack of FIFA windows and the aging defense, raise valid apprehensions. Nevertheless, the consensus is clear—Canada must secure a spot in the Copa America and use the platform to grow and learn, even if they face formidable opposition.

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