That one time Canada made it to the World Cup

It’s the biggest sporting event on the planet, and for the first time ever, Canada will be there.

In September 1985, in a raucous game in St. John’s, Canada’s national men’s team beat Honduras 2-1 to clinch a spot at the 1986 World Cup soccer tournament in Mexico.

The first World Cup was held in 1930 in Uruguay, whose team also won the tournament. The event was cancelled in 1942 and 1946 due to the Second World War. Brazil has captured five World Cups — more than any other country — winning in 1958, 1962, 1970, 1994 and 2002.

Canada first competed for a place at the World Cup in 1958, and again in 1970, 1974, 1978 and 1982, failing to qualify each time.

In 1986, when Canada first qualified, 121 countries competed for 24 spots in the final tournament. In order to qualify for the tournament, teams play a series of matches in their regional subdivisions. Canada plays in CONCACAF, which covers North and Central America and the Caribbean.

17 nations competing for one slot

‘A solid base for the future’

Canadian soccer historian Colin Jose ranked the win the greatest triumph in Canadian soccer history. The second-greatest was the match against Honduras that cemented Canada’s place in the 1986 World Cup.

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