Now, Canada, Did You Learn Something In All This?

For thirty years now Canada have been searching for their elusive treasure. The 1986 World Cup in Mexico was the last time they'd qualified for a World Cup finals, finishing a glorious 24th out of 24 participants.

Their hopes of advancing to the 2014 tournament in Brazil were dashed before the final Hexagonal round, a calamitous 8-1 defeat to Honduras leaving the Canucks hurting.

Fast forward four years and Canada found themselves in an eerily similar situation. On the cusp of the Hex, Canada were once again hopeful of advancing with an all-important match against, who else, Honduras.

The result was an improvement, but a 2-1 loss to Honduras ultimately cost them their place in the final round of CONCACAF qualifying. They finished behind Mexico and Honduras, left to rue another failed World Cup cycle.

What’s plaguing Canadian soccer? They hired former Villarreal, Albacete and Real Madrid manager Benito Floro to lead their campaign but to no avail. Players like Cyle Larin, Scott Arfield, Atiba Hutchinson and Junior Hoilett make this one of the strongest Canada squads in history, but they were unable to improve on their previous showing.

If Iceland can make it happen in Europe, why not Canada in CONCACAF? Can’t we draw a line between Iceland and the Canadian territory of Newfoundland? This all began over one thousand years ago with Leif Eriksson traveling the distance between the two, and, today, the largest Icelandic population outside Iceland is in Canada.

Shouldn't Canada also be better than England by now?

MLS directives have led to the development of academies within Toronto FC, Montreal Impact and Vancouver Whitecaps, but, with over 2.5 million people playing soccer in Canada, it’s time to get serious.

Canada can no longer be one of the only countries in the world without an assessment-based coaching qualification for aspiring coaches, the equivalent of handing an aspiring doctor some neurosurgical instruments and telling them to have at that brain organ over there.

Canada can no longer be out CONCACAF’d by their opponents. Sure, the hockey and Molson coursing through their veins might detest gamesmanship, but this region requires you to get crafty. You’ve got to venture into the heat of Central America, why not turn every home match into a version of the USA-Costa Rica ‘Snow Classico’ in Nunavut?

A World Cup with our Northern Neighbors is simply too long in the making. Imagine the “O Canada” anthem ringing throughout a stadium and broadcast to millions of viewers around the globe. If you’ve ever had the privilege of celebrating Canada Day north of the border, you’ll know that a World Cup full of Canucks would be one hell of a celebration.

Follow me on Twitter: @ConmanFleming

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