CONCACAF held its draw for 2022 World Cup qualifying Wednesday, and Canada has been slotted in alongside four Caribbean minnows as part of the first round of competition that kicks off in October 2020.
Qualifying for the quadrennial tournament in Qatar consists of three rounds, with the 30 teams ranked No. 6 through No. 35 based on FIFA rankings as of July 16 featuring in six groups of five where each team plays the others once. The winners of each group progress to the second round.
Here's what the six groups look like, with each listed in order of FIFA ranking:
Group A: El Salvador, Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, Montserrat, U.S. Virgin Islands
Group B: Canada, Suriname, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Aruba
Group C: Curacao, Guatemala, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Cuba, British Virgin Islands
Group D: Panama, Dominican Republic, Barbados, Dominica, Anguilla
Group E: Haiti, Nicaragua, Belize, St. Lucia, Turks and Caicos Islands
Group F: Trinidad and Tobago, St. Kitts and Nevis, Guyana, Puerto Rico, Bahamas
The second round will commence in March 2021, where the winners of each group will compete for one of three spots in the final qualifying stage.
Winners of Group A and Group F will face off in a home-and-away format, and the same goes for the victors of Group B and Group E, and Group C and Group D. Canada will likely face Haiti, which handed the Canadians a shock 3-2 defeat in the 2019 Gold Cup quarterfinals.
The third and final round starts in September 2021 and runs through March 2022. It consists of the three teams to advance from the second phase plus Mexico, the United States, Costa Rica, Jamaica, and Honduras, which were CONCACAF's top-five ranked sides as of the July 16 cutoff.
Each of the eight teams will contest 14 matches home and away with the top three sides automatically qualifying for the 2022 World Cup, while the fourth-placed finisher enters the Intercontinental Playoff scheduled for June 2022.