MX23RW : Thursday, December 2 10:05:29| >> :600:1535425:1535425:
Oct 14, 2021 at 12.30am UK at BMO Field
Murillo (28' og.), Davies (66'), Buchanan (71'), David (78')
Brym (90+5')
FT(HT: 1-1)
Blackburn (5')
Davis (26'), Murillo (31'), Cooper (54'), Godoy (90+5')

Preview: Canada vs. Panama - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Wednesday's World Cup Qualifying - North Central America clash between Canada and Panama, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Panama will aim to keep the momentum going from their eye-catching victory over the USA when they travel to Canada for Wednesday's World Cup 2022 Qualifying battle.

The visitors claimed a 1-0 win over the Stars and Stripes on matchday five, while John Herdman's side drew their fourth game in five against Jamaica.

Match preview

Canada manager John Herdman pictured June 24, 2019© Reuters

Despite their status as one of only two teams in CONCACAF Qualifying without a defeat to their name in the third round - the other being leaders Mexico - Canada have not exactly dazzled and delighted during their bid for a first World Cup Finals since 1986.

A 3-0 victory over El Salvador represents their only third-round win so far, and while draws with the USA and Mexico can be regarded as positive results, taking only two points from clashes with Honduras and Jamaica has not exactly boosted confidence in the ranks.

Canada boasted 63% possession in their weekend clash with Jamaica but only registered two shots on target in that goalless stalemate, which has seen them hold their position in fourth place and a potential route into the inter-confederation playoffs.

Herdman's side are only one point behind Panama and the US, though, and they have shipped just three goals in their five third-round matches before they endeavour to keep an astonishing run of home form going in midweek.

Indeed, the Canucks are unbeaten in 20 home matches since a 3-0 defeat to Mexico back in March 2016, and they have scored in each of their last 14 on familiar territory, but their opponents are on cloud nine after a memorable win on matchday five.

Panama manager Thomas Christiansen pictured in 2018© Reuters

With the USA struggling to make things click in the final third at the weekend, Panama took advantage, as Anibal Godoy headed home from a corner at the near post to propel his side to a memorable three points over the Yanks last time out.

Such a result was the perfect way for Thomas Christiansen's side to respond to their 1-0 defeat to El Salvador a few days prior, and this week's visitors to the BMO Field in Toronto find themselves alongside the USA and Mexico in the three automatic qualification places after five games.

A second successive World Cup Finals appearance is very much within reach for this Panama side after their short-lived tournament debut in 2018, and only two goals conceded represents the best defensive record in CONCACAF Qualifying so far.

Panama did claim a 2-0 win over Canada back in September 2012, but that victory represents their only triumph in 10 attempts against the Canucks, and the last two encounters between the two World Cup hopefuls have ended goalless.

Canada World Cup Qualifying - North Central America form:
  • D
  • D
  • W
  • D
  • D

Canada form (all competitions):
  • L
  • D
  • D
  • W
  • D
  • D

Panama World Cup Qualifying - North Central America form:
  • D
  • W
  • D
  • L
  • W

Panama form (all competitions):
  • W
  • D
  • W
  • D
  • L
  • W

Team News

Panama's Adolfo Machado celebrates scoring his side's equaliser against Brazil on March 23, 2019© Reuters

Canada goalkeeper Milan Borjan has been forced to miss October's clashes after a positive coronavirus test, while Cyle Larin, Atiba Hutchinson and Lucas Cavallini remain uncertain due to injuries.

The hosts will also be boosted by three returns from suspension in Richie Laryea, Tajon Buchanan and Steven Vitoria, all of whom could push for starting places given the need for fresh legs.

Bayern Munich's Alphonso Davies ought to continue in a more advanced role in support of Jonathan David, who will aim to avoid a third game without scoring for the national team here.

Panama hero Godoy was forced off injured with 20 minutes remaining against the USA, but despite been taken off on a stretcher, the 110-cap midfielder brushed off the problem as mere fatigue after the game.

Godoy's engine room partner Christian Martinez also had to be taken off in the dying moments with a suspected leg injury, so Abdiel Ayarza must be ready to deputise for either one of his teammates this week.

Gabriel Torres needs two more caps to hit the 100 mark for his country, but the 32-year-old has stiff competition up top in the form of Rolando Blackburn.

Canada possible starting lineup:
Crepeau; Johnston, Vitoria, Cornelius, Miller; Eustaquio, Kaye; Buchanan, Osorio, Davies; David

Panama possible starting lineup:
Mejia; Murillo, Escobar, Cummings, David; Godoy, Ayarza; Barcenas, Quintero, Gondola; Torres

SM words green background

We say: Canada 1-0 Panama

Given Canada's resilient nature, Panama's stellar defensive record and a lack of goals between the two sides in recent meetings, this has all the makings of a low-scoring affair.

While the visitors command plenty of respect for getting one over the US, the Canucks are often unplayable on home soil and will leapfrog their opponents with all three points, so we are backing Herdman's side to return to winning ways by a narrow margin.

Top tip

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