Looking ahead to Canada's Friendly Ahead of World Cup

Looking ahead to Canada's Friendly Ahead of World Cup
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The World Cup is just two months away. This means preparations across the globe for the national teams are beginning to ramp up and we will start to see countries battle one another in the warmup games. 

In truth, we can’t take too much away from these matches, but we do get a glance at the potential lineups, form and ability of everyone heading to the World Cup in November. Canada is going to face off with Japan on Nov. 17 in an international friendly match at the Al Maktoum Stadium in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.  

Both nations will play their opening matches less than a week later on Nov. 23, as Canada meets Belgium in Group F. Let’s take a look at what to expect from the game with Japan. 

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Canada Faces An In-Form Japan Team 

Japan will prove to be a great test for Canada. It's in excellent form based on the past year with just two losses since last November, one to Brazil in a friendly and the other to Tunisia in the Kirin Cup. 

This means just two losses in the past 13 games for Japan, as it has managed to qualify for the World Cup with relative ease in this time, while also making it to the Kirin Cup final where that loss to Tunisia happened. 

Japan has also managed to make it to the final round of the EAFF East Asian Cup — a competition that sees it battle with high-caliber nations like South Korea. In fact, Japan defeated South Korea 3-0 in July in its last competitive game, while also beating Hong Kong 6-0, before a 0-0 tie with China. 

Canada will have to be at its best to beat Japan. Beating a South Korean team with superstars like Son Heung-min is far from an easy task, and with just two losses in the past year, Canada will need to do something special to register loss number three for Japan. 

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World Cup Friendly is A Low Intensity Game

For the manager in these pre-World Cup games, their main aim is to look into the players’ form and mentality in their final preparations for the World Cup. In reality, managers have normally already decided on their starting XI by this point, and their objective is to conclude whether or not they have got it right in the final few games before the competition. 

For the players, however, it’s about impressing the coaching staff, but also keeping fit. Players are walking on eggshells when it comes to these pre-World Cup matches, as any injury could force them to lose their place in the competition. 

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Canada Could Face Plenty of Changes 

As alluded to, bar any injuries or sudden changes in form to one of the Canadian players, head coach John Herdman should already know his starting XI for the game against Belgium on Nov. 23. 

With this in mind, this warm-up game should bring plenty of changes to the usual Canada team to allow for others to impress. 

As it’s a friendly, managers can make as many substitutions as they please throughout the game, and Herdman will no doubt allow those who are not in his World Cup starting XI against Belgium to play here. In other words, don’t expect superstar names like Alphonso Davies and Jonathan David to play much.