Canada returns to CONCACAF Nations League action looking to build on their first World Cup appearance in 36 years — and that starts with Saturday’s matchup against Curacao.
After all the World Cup qualification excitement, the Canadians’ early exit (losing all three games in Group F) and question marks over the future of manager John Herdman have dampened the mood just a little. However, the talent remains rock solid, with Alphonso Davies blossoming into a top-tier star.
Slowing down this free-scoring Canada attack will be a daunting task for a Curacao team sitting 86th in the FIFA rankings, especially after losing 4-0 to these same opponents last summer.
Take a closer look at this weekend's clash with our free picks and predictions for Curacao vs. Canada on March 25.
Curacao vs Canada best odds
|Over 2.5 (-118)||Total||Under 2.5 (-106)|
Odds courtesy of bet365 on March 23, 2023.
Curacao vs Canada picks and predictions
The Qatar experience was both well-deserved and eye-opening for this Canadian squad. Stepping back into CONCACAF action after facing such heavyweights at the World Cup should be a smooth transition — and this time they’ll have the advantage of a talent gap.
That quality edge should be most glaring in the battle between Canada’s attack and the hosts’ defense. Davies has been in outstanding form for Bayern Munich since the World Cup and will have every opportunity to get forward from midfield to support Cyle Larin and Jonathan David.
David has been in lethal form for Lille in Ligue 1 this season, with 19 goals in 27 appearances, and he’s fresh off a hat-trick against Lyon earlier this month. Larin is on a scoring run too, netting five times since joining Real Valladolid on loan in January. Curacao’s Cuco Martina has Premier League experience with Southampton and Everton, but the hosts are otherwise overmatched at that end of the field.
Don’t count on Canada taking anything for granted against weaker opponents. They can’t afford any slip-ups in their bid to keep climbing the FIFA standings, and a win here would close the gap on first-place Honduras in this three-team Nations League group. Only the group winner goes through to the CONCACAF Nations League semi-finals.
With the visitors out to prove their run to the World Cup was no fluke, I like these odds for a high-scoring game on Saturday.
My best bet: Over 2.5 total goals (-118 at bet365)
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Curacao vs Canada side analysis
Predictably, Canada enter this CONCACAF Nations League contest as big favorites after brushing Curacao aside in dominant fashion last June, with Davies scoring two of the Canadians’ four goals.
While I expect this meeting to follow a similar script, it’s worth remembering that this is Canada’s first fixture since the 2-1 loss to Morocco at the World Cup in early December, and it’s reasonable to think the visitors will need a little time to get back into top gear. Plus, there will need to be some reshuffling in defense, with right-back Alistair Johnson suspended for Saturday’s contest after a red card in the loss to Honduras last summer.
However unlikely, Curacao still has a path to topping this Nations League group, but a win here is a must. Even so, a cautious game plan makes sense, as they will rely on Leandro Bacuna to create chances on the counter-attack.
The hosts’ 2-1 victory over Honduras last summer was a positive step forward, but two disappointing exhibition losses to Indonesia in September highlighted how much work is still ahead. Despite the team’s defensive frailty, I see manager Remko Bicentini sticking with a 4-4-2 formation.
Curacao vs Canada Over/Under analysis
Even if Canada gets off to a slow start, I see plenty of goals in this one. In the prior meeting at BMO Field in Toronto, the Canadians had 55% of the possession and registered nine shots on target (with zero for Curacao).
Though Herdman’s men weren’t as dangerous on the road during their CONCACAF qualifying campaign for the World Cup (netting just six goals in seven away fixtures), I expect Canada to create chances here. Davies, Larin, and David give the visitors a potent attack — and all three have been playing at a high level over the past few months.
Of course, it helps that Curacao needs a victory on Saturday to stay in contention for the top spot. At some point, the hosts will likely have to throw bodies forward, and that’s when Canada’s pace and movement could turn this into a lopsided scoreline.
Curacao vs Canada game info
|Location:||Ergilio Hato Stadium, Willemstad, Curacao|
|Date:||Saturday, March 25, 2023|
|Time:||7:00 p.m. ET|
Curacao vs Canada key injuries
Curacao: No key injuries to report.
Canada: Lucas Cavallini ST (Out), Maxime Crepeau GK (Out), Kamal Miller CB (Out), Junior Hoilett FWL (Out).
Curacao vs Canada weather
The Curacao forecast is a far cry from the chilly Canadian weather, with temperatures expected to be in the high 70s on a warm, humid night at Stadion Ergilio Hato.