Canadian Men’s National Team midfielder Jonathan Osorio has claimed there’s no more ‘hope’ in the squad about competing at the World Cup; only ‘belief’.
Les Rouges open their Group F campaign against world No.2 Belgium on Wednesday, playing in their first World Cup match since 1986.
The last time Canada were at this stage, they left Mexico without a point or goal in a group containing France, the Soviet Union, and Hungary.
However, since then, the soccer landscape in the country has undergone radical change, culminating in Canada qualifying for Qatar 2022 top of the Concacaf group, ahead of both Mexico and the United States.
Spearheaded by Champions League-hardened stars like Alphonso Davies, Jonathan David, and Cyle Larin, anything is possible.
“We don’t hope no more, we believe,” Osorio told reporters after training on Sunday. ‘And we’re very confident in ourselves.”
Osorio added: “We want to show that we are a football nation, that we can compete with the best in the world. We want to surprise people because I think people still see us as underdogs and things like this, and Canada and the World Cup, they should just be happy to be here. But that’s not our mentality. We’re here to compete – to compete at a high level.
“We believe within our group. With the quality that we have and our brotherhood we can go as far as we want to go.”
CF Montreal midfielder Samuel Piette echoed Osorio’s sentiments, even suggesting the Canadians are set on beating Belgium and sending out a huge statement in their first game.
“I think in qualifying we played in a way where we were fearless and we want to do that on the biggest stage,” the MLS veteran said. “We don’t want to back down. We want to be on the front foot and go toe to toe with Belgium.
“We just don’t want to sit back and enjoy the moment. and take one game at a time and say after ‘Oh yeah it was a great experience, it was good to be there and then we’ll be back in four years.'”
Following their opener against Belgium, Canada take on 2018 finalists Croatia (November 27) and African giants Morocco (December 1).