Canada’s Jonathan Osorio, left, celebrates scoring his side’s first goal against Mexico during a qualifying soccer match for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, at Azteca stadium in Mexico City, Thursday, Oct. 7, 2021. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)
- It’s third vs fourth in the final CONCACAF qualifying group as Panama visits Canada on Wednesday, October 13th
- Canada is winless in the past three meetings against Panama and hasn’t beaten it since 2012
- Read on for betting odds, a full preview and the best bet for Wednesday’s World Cup qualifying match
Canada, along with first-place Mexico, is one of just two of the eight CONCACAF teams that remains unbeaten through the first five games of this 14-game final qualifying round. However, because of four draws, John Herdman’s team is actually a point back of Panama, the team that it hosts on Wednesday, October 13th, with a 7:30 pm ET kickoff in Toronto.
Coming off a shock 1-0 win over the United States last Sunday, Thomas Christiansen will be hoping his Panama team can keep its upward trajectory here as it attempts to qualify for a second straight World Cup, following the country’s breakthrough appearance in Russia three years ago.
Canada vs Panama Odds
|Canada vs Panama||CAN -1.5 (+160) | PAN +1.5 (-225)||CAN -205 | PAN +290
|Ov 2.5 (+130) | Un 2.5 (-170)|
Odds as of October 13th at DraftKings
Canada Getting Reinforcements
While captain Atiba Hutchinson, striker Cyle Larin and regular goalkeeper Milan Borjan remain out, along with Junior Hoilett and Lucas Cavallini, Canada will benefit from a number of returning regulars here.
I’m sorry, but Tajon Buchanan can actually be World Class. He picks this ball up practically at half, has the pace to beat his man and every other man.
Then the ball into the middle is just perfect. pic.twitter.com/uxADGf4F6a
— 🍁 CanMNT Universe (@CanMNTUniverse) October 9, 2021
Richie Laryea, Tajon Buchanan and Steven Vitoria are all eligible to play Wednesday, having missed Sunday’s 0-0 draw in Jamaica through suspension. The returnees – particularly the width and pace provided by Laryea and Buchanan – should be a welcome development for Canada, which needs to turn its chances into goals if it wants to turn some of its ties into wins.
— Canada Soccer (@CanadaSoccerEN) October 13, 2021
On the plus side, Canada will be back at home for this one, and in front of a capacity stadium in Toronto with pandemic seating restrictions having been limited. Herdman’s team has done well at home in this cycle, taking four of six points, and it is unbeaten in its last 20 home games, having scored in each of the last 14 games played on Canadian soil.
Herdman Wants ‘Ruthless’ Approach
Having seen his team score just six goals through the first five games of this final qualification round, head coach Herdman knows his team needs to convert chances into goals if it is going to generate the necessary results.
“Clean sheet. Point on the road. And we’ve stayed undefeated away to three of the teams we felt would pose the most difficult environemnts – Mexico, USA and Jamaica. Now we’re heading back to Toronto for three straight games at home.” #CANMNT #WCQ #ForCanada pic.twitter.com/ZAWnQGaZlS
— Canada Soccer (@CanadaSoccerEN) October 11, 2021
In Sunday’s game in Jamaica, for example, Canada had 10 shots and 64% of the possession but was unable to find the net. Part of the problem is that the team has been heavily reliant on goals from Larin this year, with the Besiktas striker scoring 12 goals in 11 internationals in 2021.
But in Larin’s absence, the team has seen four other players step up with goals, including Jonathan Osorio’s tying goal in last week’s 1-1 draw in Mexico.
Canada Has Historic Edge
In the all-time series played between these two teams, Canada sits in the catbird seat, having taken three wins from the 10 games the teams have contested, to go along with six draws.
Canada’s only loss against Panama came nine years ago in a World Cup qualifier in Panama City, coming just days after Canada had recorded its last win against them. Since then the teams have played twice times, with both games finishing in goalless draws.
Much like Canada though, Panama has been enjoying a recent surge of success, powered by their first-ever qualification for the World Cup finals last time around. Christiansen’s team has lost just once in their last 13 games in the final round of CONCACAF qualifying dating back to the last cycle. And in addition to beating the US for the first time in World Cup qualifying, the side also eeked out a creditable 1-1 draw in Mexico City at the Azteca.
Canada vs Panama World Cup Qualifying Stats
With just two goals conceded thus far, Panama boasts the best defensive record among the eight remaining CONCACAF teams in the final stage of World Cup qualifying.
And they should be boosted by the fitness of captain Anibal Godoy, who scored the only goal against the U.S. but was then stretchered off in the same game. However, he claimed it was just fatigue and should be back in the starting lineup on Wednesday night.
Best bet: Draw (+550)
For the last 20 years, Paul Attfield has worked in sports media. Starting out in his native Britain with the likes of The Independent, he eventually switched continents, with his work appearing in the likes of the Los Angeles Times, Washington Post and Yahoo Sports since.