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Team Canada: 2020, The Road to Qatar

Hello everyone and it’s a pleasure to bring you a fresh episode of my Football Manager Story – The Road to Qatar, as Team Canada begins their journey towards the 2022 World Cup. We finished the last installment on a sour note as the Canadians failed to score in any of their last three games in 2019 after a somewhat successful Gold Cup going out in the quarter-final stage.

As the year 2020 gets underway, gone is experimenting with younger players as most are just not up to international calibre and so I’ll be recalling some of the more seasoned players as the year unfolds.

In terms of fixtures we only have summer games arranged so far as the year gets underway and all in the summer months. Hopefully we can get in a couple of spring games before then.

In fact the first six months of 2020 was just a waiting game as there were no dates available to arrange friendlies so it’s just the away game in Guatemala before we jump right into World Cup Qualifiers.

**Authors note**

The above was totally boring, terrible game play and I never thought I’d get through it!!!

June 2020

Finally, our first game of the year and it was a thrilling one to with David DiPlacido coming on a sub and winning the game for us in dramtic style.

World Cup Qualifier: Third Phase, Group 1

Six days later and we opened our World cup campaign in Montreal against Surinam and we were unable to dominate possession as the visitors held onto the ball magnificently leaving us chasing it all around the park. With a bore draw on the cards the introduction of home town boy Alex Dos Santos spiced things up and soon enough he gave us the lead off a through ball by McIntosh. With three points seemingly in the bag a harmless looking cross by Surinam was turned into the net by defender Rodriguez for a disastrous end to the game.

World Cup Qualifier: Third Phase, Group 1

Next we were off to Costa Rica where both sides looked very nervous resulting in a first half with few chances and very little action to speak of. The course of the game changed midway through the second half as Dos Santos finally found some space and his shot was pushed away by the Costa Rican keeper straight into the path of Philippe Davies who smashed it into the net, 1-0. With confidence running high we seemed to have victory in the bag but then were stunned by three goals from distance in the last 10 minutes that has left the team deflated and demoralized and a uphill battle ahead of us.

Here’s the table after the opening series of games.

In July the FIFA rankings were announced which made disappointing reading and truly hammered home my failings as an international manager. Under my tenure Canada had slipped below the top 100 mark, dropping an incredible thirty places in less than a year.

September 2012

Back in Montreal we had a very convincing win over Barbados putting the game to bed by half time as our forward line each bagging a goal. We then faced a long journey south to Surinam where a shot by Koffie from just outside the box gave us an early lead. We soon doubled our score with a great strike by DiPlacido, finishing off a through ball by Galloway. Just before half time Gustaffson was sent off, which launched the Surinam comeback scoring off the ensuing free kick and shockingly the equalizer came in the 95th minute as we capitulated under intense pressure.

Costa Rica made it 4 wins in a row securing a place in the next phase. We play them next at home and if we lose it will mean most likely a show down in Barbados.

October 2012

World Cup Qualifier: Third Phase, Group 1, Match-Day 5

The final matches of the third Phase were about to begin I would be without my starting DMC, Gustafsson who was now serving a two match ban. Additionally some of my 23 man squad had sustained injuries in MLS action. 24 hours before kick off I lost starting GK Edson.

Montreal once again provided the back drop for the visit of Costa Rica and they started where they left off last time pummeling our goal with long distance shots and eventually taking the lead on the half hour mark. However, we didn’t slip into defensive mode and soon enough were rewarded with a goal as DiPlacido received a ball from Galloway in a crowded box, turned on a dime and his shot squeezed into the net 1-1!! After the break we continued with the pressure with Galloway conducting the attack and again his through ball this time to Tiebert who struck from a very acute angle under the diving Costa Rican goalkeeper and we were in the lead!!! The visitors couldn’t find a way through our defence being marshalled by David Edgar and that gave us confidence to remain on the attack scoring a third goal for a remarkable win. With Barbados losing at home to Surinam that meant we had qualified for the fourth and final phase

So we were off to Barbados for the final game of the Third Phase where we were hit by inconsistency once more. Roared on by the home crowd and with nothing to play for but pride Barbados ripped through us like a hot knife through butter and by early in the second half we found ourselves 4-1 down, this after just beating Costa Rica for goodness sake!

** Authors note

In reality then I went and fed the cat, put the kettle on, 70 minutes gone still 4-1. Made all three substitutions and went to take a shower. Came back to discover that I had missed a dramatic last 20 minutes and we’d fought back for a 4-4 draw. Still I wasn’t happy as we should not have conceded four goals!

Third Phase: Group 1 Final Table

With the third phase over and done with here are the teams who stand between us making it to Qatar in with the top three going through.

We kick things off in 2021 with a friendly on New Year’s Day in Nicaragua then the real action begins in Honduras the following month. The qualifiers will finish up with an away game in the US and I wonder if it will all come down to those 90 minutes to decide who goes to Qatar?


So that’s about it for this update other than a request from CsAtlantis for a look at  Junior Hoilett’s profile which can be viewed by clicking here

Thanks a lot for the taking the time to read this.




  1. Gaurav Chaddah

    September 8, 2012 at 22:20

    Good stuff Kevin looking forward to the next update already will this be your last story Iintil Fm 13 and have you got any ideas for a fn13 story?

    • Kevin

      September 8, 2012 at 23:30

      Hi Guarav
      Glad you are liking this story and it will be my last until 2013. My rough idea is a story on how I’m playing the game each day rather than focusing on the team itself.

  2. Darren Smith

    September 8, 2012 at 22:40

    Well done on reaching the final round of qualifying Kevin, that group looks seriously tough with USA and Mexico primed to qualify it seems like yourself and Costa Rica will fight it out for third…if you can qualify it’ll be an amazing achievement, can’t wait to see what happens.

    • Kevin

      September 8, 2012 at 23:33

      Hi Darren
      Yep, this is it!! The final six and the best I can hope for is the third spot you so rightly pointed out. I’d love to get Canada to the World Cup and would be a great way to end my FM2012 career!

  3. saltwater

    September 9, 2012 at 01:09

    Bar Mexico, you avoided some of the European big boys in the final world cup qualifying stages, and if USA drop points here and there and the constant thorn in Canada’s side that is Costa Rica don’t continue to go as strong, you could be in for qualification. But I really like that group – you just can’t call it.
    I’m pretty sure your FM was seeking revenge against you for leaving, and they produced three wonder goals in your absence :).
    There is a constant almost unavoidable problem with international management and that is when your team goes months without a game very annoying.
    Good luck mate!

    • Kevin

      September 9, 2012 at 08:47

      Thanks saltwater
      It’s a very interesting final group with no east games for sure, hopefully we can pick up maximum points in home games with Honduras, Guatemala and Costa Rica. And as for your goals comment it just goes to prove never leave until the final whistle :)

  4. vaibhavc

    September 9, 2012 at 07:43

    Mexico and USA are your toughest opponents, but I am sure that you can get some good results against them. You can win against Guatemala like you did before and win against Honduras as well. It is a tough group, but with some luck, you can get Canada to the WC.

    • Kevin

      September 9, 2012 at 08:49

      Hi vaihhavc
      You’ve summarized things pretty nicely and that’s exactly my thinking too!

  5. Johnny Karp

    September 9, 2012 at 09:58

    That was a lot more difficult than I had expected, it seems that Surinam and Barbados are not that weak. The final group will be extremely tough but you have a chance to reach the World Cup even if you finish fourth, that would take you to a play-off if I’m not mistaken. It will be one hell of a ride, I’m sure, so best of luck for it!

    • Kevin

      September 9, 2012 at 11:04

      Hi Johnny
      Actually you are right about a fourth place as I think there’s a play off with an Oceania team. The next 10 months is a real test of both mine and the teams capabilites. I;m expecting a bumpy ride too :)

  6. Lye

    September 9, 2012 at 13:08

    One more round to go. Mexico and USA should be the favorites but i love to see you occupy that automatic spot. Your team surely has the quality to do it. Go for it mate.

    • Kevin

      September 9, 2012 at 21:06

      Hi Lye

      Thanks for the vote of confidence and support!!

  7. TheZiggy

    September 9, 2012 at 13:33

    A real rollercoaster of a ride there. I was somewhat concerned when you had just a single point after the first two games. I can understand the walking away from the screen when you were well behind in the last match. I did something similar a few years ago, and came back to find that we’d pulled off an unlikely draw right at the end.

    One tip about getting through the times where there is little or nothing happening. Go to the calendar and select a couple of weeks or a month ahead and then holiday to that point. It stops you having to keep clicking through the continue. The only downside is that the messages build up during that time.

    • Kevin

      September 10, 2012 at 09:12

      Hi Ziggy

      Thanks for the calendar tip – I forgot all about that. This team sure has taken me on a wild ride, I never know what’s going to happen from one game to the next except isf playing against Mexico then you are bound to lose :)

  8. Bhargav

    September 9, 2012 at 17:31

    WOW! Best of luck! You are so close! I hope you can find some semblance of consistency for the crucial final games!

    • Kevin

      September 10, 2012 at 09:14

      Thanks Bhargav

      We surely won’t make it through the next phase with from like this, that’s for sure.

  9. CsAtlantis

    September 13, 2012 at 02:15

    A bit scrappy making it out of your group (what’s up with Surinam anyway? Are they really good?)

    Congratulations on beating Costa Rica at home Kevin, at least you got a bit of payback over the defeats in Gold Cup and World Cup Qualifying

    As expected the final group looks strong but with some good results against Honduras, Guatemala and Costa Rica you should be able to take third (I think the playoff spot is very dangerous as it is against the 5th team in South America :P)

    Good luck Kevin, what happened to your super right winger by the way? His name escapes me……..

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