Canada to play final Nations League qualifier in Vancouver

John Herdman chats with Sportsnet's Irfaan Gaffar about the upcoming match between Canada and French Guiana on March 24th at B.C. Place Stadium, in which Canada could secure a spot in Group A of the 2019-20 Concacaf Nations League.

Canada’s campaign to qualify for next year’s Concacaf Nations League tournament will climax in Vancouver.

Canada Soccer announced on Monday that the Canadian men’s team will play French Guiana at BC Place Stadium on March 24, 2019 in its final game of the Nations League qualifiers.

The inaugural 2019-20 Concacaf Nations League kicks off next September. Canada is attempting to qualify for the A League of the three-tier tournament where it would play the elite nations of Concacaf, including the U.S, Mexico and Costa Rica. The B and C Leagues will feature the also-rans from the region.

Canada currently sits third in the qualifying group out of 34 teams, with nine points and three wins from three games. Its previous home game in the qualifiers came on Oct. 16 when it beat Dominica 5-0 at Toronto’s BMO Field. French Guiana is in 11th place in the qualifying standings with six points following two wins and a loss.

The top six qualify for the A League, while the top 10 will earn berths for the 2019 Concacaf Gold Cup. Barring a string of highly unlikely results on the final matchday of the qualifiers, Canada should book its place in the A League and at next summer’s Gold Cup.

Canada hasn’t played in Vancouver since earning a 3-1 win over El Salvador in a World Cup qualifier on Sept. 6, 2016. The Reds also lost to Mexico 3-0 in World Cup qualifying at BC Place earlier that year.

There was some speculation in the soccer community that Vancouver’s decision to pull out as a potential host city as part of Canada’s bid to co-host the 2026 FIFA World Cup would hurt its chances of staging men’s national team matches for the foreseeable future.

Canada is 76th in the current FIFA world rankings. French Guiana is a member of Concacaf, but not of soccer’s world governing body FIFA, therefore it is not included in the monthly world rankings.

These teams met at last year’s Concacaf Gold Cup when Canada earned a 4-2 win in New Jersey during the group stage. Alphonso Davies bagged a brace in that game – they were Davies’ first goals in just his second appearance for Canada.

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