Canada is enjoying a dream start to the fourth round of FIFA World Cup qualifying for Russia 2018 after a scoreless draw in El Salvador on Tuesday night.
The single point picked up at Estadio Cuscatlan brings Canada’s haul to four after a 1-0 win over Honduras last Friday in Vancouver. The other country in Canada’s group is Mexico, which beat Honduras 2-0 Tuesday to pace all sides with six points. El Salvador registered its first point with Tuesday’s draw, something Honduras has yet to do in the round robin stage.
Having a four point advantage over Honduras with as many matches to go gives Canada a slight edge early on. The top two teams from the group will head to the fifth round of World Cup qualifying, where countries can advance directly to the world’s biggest football tournament. Mexico and Honduras are favourites to get through. Both played at Brazil 2014, the last FIFA World Cup finals tournament.
Coached by Spain’s Benito Floro, Canada’s defensively organized side will face its toughest tests in its next two matches taking place on March 25 and 29 of 2016 against Mexico. The first leg will be in Canada before the daunting task of meeting Mexico away four days later. The Canadian host city has yet to be announced.
Canada beat Belize 4-1 on aggregate over two matches in the previous round to get to this stage. Prior to that round, Dominica fell to Canada 6-0 over two legs, an affair that opened Canada’s 2018 World Cup regional (CONCACAF) qualifications.
Mexico 1986 was the only FIFA World Cup finals that had a Canadian entry.