Canada v Azerbaijan & Uzbekistan
Canada Soccer has confirmed an away Men’s International Friendly match against Uzbekistan to be played on 7 June in Austria. The 2016 match comes four days after a previously-confirmed international soccer match against Azerbaijan on 3 June during the FIFA international window.
Canada are now preparing for a pair of 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ Qualifiers in early September against Honduras (away) and El Salvador (at home in Vancouver, British Columbia). Tickets to the 6 September match in Vancouver will officially go on sale this 26 April with a special pre-sale window kicking off on 19 April. Tickets are on sale via CanadaSoccer.com/Tickets.
This will be Canada’s first opportunity to meet either Azerbaijan or Uzbekistan at the international “A” level. Azerbaijan ranks in the middle of UEFA’s 54 nations, with their 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ Qualifiers to commence in September. Uzbekistan, meanwhile, are one of Asia’s top-10 nations and recently won their group to reach Asia’s final 12 in Russia 2018 Qualifiers.
“We consider both matches will provide us with a very good test for our players,” said Benito Floro, Canada Soccer’s Men’s National Team Head Coach. “This camp in Europe will be important because it will give us the opportunity to create positive methods within our team as we prepare for our September matches.”
CANADA’S JUNE OPPONENTS
Azerbaijan are currently preparing for UEFA’s upcoming 2018 FIFA World Cup™ Qualifiers which kick off in September (53 nations spread across nine groups of five or six nations). Azerbaijan will compete in a difficult UEFA Group C, facing Germany, Czech Republic, Northern Ireland, Norway, and San Marino.
Azerbaijan recently went through a difficult qualifying campaign for the UEFA EURO 2016, gaining just six points through 10 matches with a win, three draws, and six losses. On 26 March, Azerbaijan lost their most recent Men’s International Friendly 0:1 to Kazakhstan.
Uzbekistan recently won Group H in Asia’s second round of 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ Qualifiers (from eight groups of five nations). With 1:0 wins over Philippines and Bahrain in March, Uzbekistan booked their spot in Asia’s final round.
ROAD TO THE 2018 FIFA WORLD CUP RUSSIA
The 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ is the biggest single-sport event in the world. From 209 member associations from around the world, 32 finalists will qualify for the 32-day event that is played in 11 cities from 14 June to 15 July 2018.
Canada are amongst the 11 remaining CONCACAF nations in the hunt for a spot at the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™. The remaining nations are split into three groups for the continent’s 2015-2016 semi-final stage. The top-two nations in each group will advance to the final round in 2017, from which three nations qualify for Russia 2018 and the fourth team advances to an intercontinental playoff.
In CONCACAF Round 4, Canada will play six matches, with both a home and away encounter against Honduras, El Salvador and Mexico. The stage concludes in September after Canada faces Honduras away and El Salvador at home.
Canada Soccer outlines return to soccer guidelines. The return to soccer guidelines provide member organizations with a five-step process, including a checklist of weighted questions known as the Return to Soccer Assessment Tool.