Legend Hutchinson returns home for FIFA World Cup Qualifiers in Toronto

Hutchinson hopes to aid Canada as they look to make their return to the FIFA World Cup™ next year in Qatar.

Brampton legend Atiba Hutchinson will return to the pitch at home this month for a pair of matches at BMO Field against Honduras and El Salvador in the Concacaf Final Round of FIFA World Cup™ Qualifiers. Hutchinson hopes to aid Canada as they look to make their return to the FIFA World Cup™ next year in Qatar.

Hutchinson, Canada’s active leader in Men’s National Team appearances, is just the second Canadian to feature in five editions of FIFA World Cup™ Qualifiers. Of his 85 career international appearances for Canada, he has made 14 of those in FIFA World Cup Qualifiers including six at BMO Field in Toronto. Since the current edition started in the global pandemic, these September matches will be Canada’s first FIFA World Cup™ Qualifiers at home since September 2016.

“This time around we’ve got a team that is full of talent,” said Hutchinson. “We’ve got a lot of players that are playing in some good clubs around the world. They have great abilities and can add a lot to the team and have been doing that over the past couple of years. So, this time around, there’s a different feeling in the squad.”

Tickets for Canada’s two home matches at BMO Field in Toronto are available via Ticketmaster.ca, with the first match on Thursday 2 September against Honduras and the next match on Wednesday 8 September against El Salvador. In between the two home matches, Canada will play away against USA in Nashville, TN on Sunday 5 September.

Canada’s two home matches will be broadcast live on OneSoccer (Canada v Honduras at 20.00 local / 20.00 ET / 17.00 PT; Canada v El Salvador at 19.30 local / 19.30 ET / 16.30 PT) while the away match will be broadcast live on TSN and RDS (USA v Canada on 5 September at 19.00 local / 20.00 ET / 17.00 PT). Fans will find extended coverage across Canada Soccer’s digital channels on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube featuring the hashtags #CANMNT and #CANWNT.

Coming into his fifth campaign of FIFA World Cup™ Qualifiers with Canada, Hutchinson believes this time around the style of play has changed. Hutchinson explained that “we go into games with a different mentality now. We believe that we can win against any team in this region.”

The 38-year old Hutchinson described this new squad as fearless, admitting that he didn’t think he would be back playing for Canada at this stage in his career. He said he is extremely grateful and blessed to be in the position and “extremely happy to see that we’ve been growing and developing over the years.”

Hutchinson believes that kicking off the Final Round of the tournament at home will provide Canada with a good start.

“We’re all very aware of what we need to do, how important it is playing at home and protecting our home. Getting the maximum amount of points we can at home and then taking care of the rest on the road.”

The Beşiktaş veteran midfielder is returning to play at home, just a few kilometers away from his hometown of Brampton, for the first time since October 2018 in Concacaf Nations League Qualifying. Of his 12 career appearances at BMO Field in all competitions, Hutchinson has an all-time record of seven wins, four draws and one loss (including six consecutive wins since 2012).

“Just knowing that we were gonna have a game here in Toronto and to have that feeling of coming back home playing in front of our home crowd, in front of my family and friends again, which a couple years ago, I didn’t think would happen again. It’s just exciting. I’m really looking forward to it. We’ve got a team that can be very successful and make a lot of noise on that (and) that comes together with it. I think, creating that feeling of having that home advantage is going to be great for us. So yeah, I’m really looking forward to it.”

Story by Duaa Rizvi

CANADA SOCCER’S MEN’S NATIONAL TEAM PROGRAM

Canada has built plenty of momentum in a landmark year for the Men’s National Team Program that will feature a record 19 international matches including FIFA World Cup Qualifiers and the Concacaf Gold Cup. Canada have already played 11 of those 19 matches, posting a record of 9-0-2 with six clean sheets and a record 42 goals scored. Canada also set a record with eight consecutive wins and reached the Concacaf Gold Cup Semifinals for the first time since 2007.

Canada will play eight of their 14 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers in the Concacaf Final Round from September through November 2021: three matches in September, three matches in October, and two matches in November). In 2022, Canada will play three more matches in January/February and three more matches in March. Along with Honduras, USA and El Salvador, Canada’s other opponents in the Concacaf Final Round are Costa Rica, Jamaica, Mexico and Panama.

To reach the Concacaf Final Round, Canada won their First Round group against Aruba, Bermuda, Cayman Islands and Suriname, then eliminated Haiti in a head-to-head Second Round series. This marks the first time since 1997 that Canada have reached the Concacaf Final Round of FIFA World Cup Qualifiers. From the Concacaf Final Round of eight nations, the top-three nations automatically qualifying for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and the fourth-best nation advancing to an inter-continental playoff for additional FIFA World Cup Qualifiers.

Canada Soccer’s Men’s National Team are two-time Concacaf champions, previously winning the 1985 Concacaf Championship and 2000 Concacaf Gold Cup. This year marks Canada’s 15th participation at the Concacaf Gold Cup since 1991. Along with their first-place finish in 2000, Canada reached the Semifinals in 2002, 2007, and 2021. Across the past five years from 2017 to 2021, Canada are one of only four nations that have finished top-six across all three Concacaf major tournaments: fifth place in Concacaf Nations League A and sixth place at both the 2017 and 2019 Concacaf Gold Cups.

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