It took 36 years for Canada to return to the World Cup odds. The Maple Leafs qualified for world cup soccer 2022 after finishing atop the CONCACAF qualifiers with 28 points. Mexico also had 28 points, but Canada finished with a plus-16 goal differential while El Tri finished with +9. Having lethal strikers such as Cyle Larin, Tajon Buchanan, and Jonathan David helped a lot.
Precisely, we’ve chosen David as Canada’s top player. Yes, we know Alphonso Davies plays for Bayern Munich, but he has been dealing with a serious heart condition. Plus, David has taken the Ligue 1 by storm at only 22 years old. He was crucial for Lille to pull off one of the biggest upsets in recent years. Let’s find out a little more about him and how he can help Canada to do something similar at the 2022 World cup.
Born in New York City, David moved to Ottawa when he was still a child. He was quickly spotted by a scout, who helped him get a chance in Europe. David signed with Gent, a Belgian team, in January 2018. Seven months later, he made his professional debut against Zulte Waregem, scoring the equalizer to save a point in stoppage time. In other words, he had a dream debut.
He ended up scoring five goals in his first five games, including one in the UEFA Europa League, which caused Gent to offer him a contract extension. That was a very good move, as only one year later, David (37 goals in 83 games) was transferred to Lille for 30 million euros, making him the most expensive Canadian transfer to date.
He played from day one of the 2020-21 season with Lille but didn’t score his first goal until November against Lorient. After a terrible first half of the season, he ended up scoring 13 goals in 37 games, including the winning goal against PSG at Parc des Princes. Lille won the title, against all soccer odds, thanks to a one-point advantage over the Parisians. Regarding Lille, only Burak Yilmaz scored more goals than David with 16.
The Mastiffs had a terrible 2021-22 season, but that didn’t stop David, who finished as the team’s top scorer with 15 goals. He also scored three goals in the UEFA Champions League, helping Lille to reach the Round of 16. He also contributed for the Mastiffs to win the French Super Cup, in which they defeated PSG 1-0.
With the Maple Leafs
David has been able to transfer success at the club level to the national team. He made his debut with the senior squad on Sept. 9, 2018, scoring a brace in an 8-0 victory over the U.S. Virgin Islands.
That was enough for him to be named to the final squad for the 2019 CONCACAF Gold Cup. The Maple Leafs were eliminated by Haiti in the quarterfinals, but David finished as the tournament’s top scorer with six goals. He scored a hat trick against Cuba in the last game of the Group Stage.
That year, he ended up setting the record for most Canada senior international goals in a single year with eight. That was enough for him to be named Canadian Men’s Player of the Year.
Most recently, he tallied a total of nine goals on the road to the 2022 WC, five of them coming from the third and final round. That’s when the top teams like Mexico, the United States, and Costa Rica come into play.
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Canada in Qatar 2022
As mentioned before, Canada had to wait 36 years to return to soccer’s grandest stage. Now, the Maple Leafs will face Belgium, Croatia, and Morocco in Group F. Some, myself included, consider this to be the Group of Death. We have CONCACAF’s best team. Belgium is second in the FIFA world rankings. Croatia finished as the runners-up in 2018 and Morocco finished the African qualifiers unbeaten with a 7-1-0 record.
Canada is offering a +1200 in the sportsbook price to win the group. Belgium comes in as the favorite at -190. If you were looking for an underdog to include in your soccer picks, Canada could be the answer.
Individually, Jonathan David is offering a +10000 price to win the Golden Boot in Qatar. From CONCACAF, only Raul Jimenez (Mexico) is ahead of him at +8000.