The Canadian men’s team has gone up one point – yes, one point – in the latest FIFA world rankings released on Thursday.
Canada jumped to 1334 points as it continues to chase El Salvador, who remained static in the latest rankings, for the final spot in “the Hex,” the six-team shortcut in Concacaf’s 2020 World Cup Qualifying format.
The gap between Canada and El Salvador is now 14 points, up from 15 from the last rankings that were published in December.
John Herdman’s side earned the single point last month with back-to-back 4-1 wins over Barbados before suffering a narrow 1-0 loss over European Championship-bound Iceland.
Canada remains seventh in the Concacaf region (at No. 73 in the world), behind Mexico (No. 11), the U.S (22), Costa Rica (46), Jamaica (48), Honduras (62), and El Salvador (69).
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In order to crack the top six by June and advance to “the Hex,” Canada has to win friendlies in order to earn valuable ranking points and move up the ladder in Concacaf.
Should Canada not advance to “the Hex,” it would be forced to compete in an arduous secondary Concacaf qualifying competition (which would include a group stage and subsequent knockout rounds), with the ultimate winner then facing the fourth-place finisher from “the Hex” in a two-game series.
The winner of that series would then have to play a home-and-home playoff against a nation from outside Concacaf (either from Asia, South America or Oceania) with a World Cup berth at stake.
Canada will now turn its attention to a pair of friendlies vs. Trinidad on March 27 and 31 at Pacific FC’s Westhills Stadium. Canada leads the all-time series against Trinidad and Tobago, with seven wins and two losses in 11 matches dating back to 1977.