World Cup

John Herdman insists Canada will go into the World Cup with 'absolutely no fear'

Chris Smith
John Herdman has made history with the CanMNT.
John Herdman has made history with the CanMNT. / Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

After breaking down the wall of World Cup qualification, John Herdman has promised the Canadian Men's National Team will head to Qatar with 'absolutely no fear'.

Despite a 1-0 loss in Panama in their final game on Wednesday, Canada have finished ahead of the United States and Mexico at the top of the Concacaf octagonal with just two defeats in 14 matches.

As a result, the Canucks have booked their place at the World Cup for the first time since 1986 and for only the second time overall.

Canada will definitely be seen as minnows and outsiders, but they have a team packed with talent that cannot be underestimated. And Herdman has promised they'll go to Qatar fearing nobody.

“We can go in this World Cup with absolutely no fear,” Herdman said following Wednesday's match. “No one really expects Canada to go and win it at all, I don’t think many people would expect us to get out of the group. But if you’d asked people for years, they didn’t even think we were going to be there.

“So again, we’ll look to make Canada proud. We know we’ve got a nation behind us. We felt that two nights ago. We’ve traveled 1000s of miles. We’ve played lots of minutes. We’ve kicked every ball. We’ve never quit. And now, we’re on our way to Qatar ranked #1 in Concacaf. I’ll sleep well tonight.”

Of course, Canada's journey to Qatar has been more than just the 14 games in the octagonal. Herdman's side also had to navigate the likes of Bermuda, Suriname, and Haiti in earlier qualifying rounds, while the planning behind this achievement goes all the way back to the failed Russia 2018 cycle.

So, while the USMNT kept on-pitch celebrations to a minimum after defeat in Costa Rica, the Canadians didn't hold back.

“Tonight we celebrated on the field when we heard we clinched the top spot, and rightly so,” Herdman continued. “It’s been a hell of a journey for this group of fans, the organization, and these players, and the work just starts now, across all levels in the game. This is just the start of what we’ve got to do.”

Canada now await their fate in Pot 4 of the World Cup draw, which takes place on Friday at 12pm ET.