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Canada has yet another game before turning its focus to 2026.

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AL RAYYAN, Qatar — After the ultimate whistle, after Canada had been eliminated from the 2022 World Cup with a 4-1 loss to Croatia on Sunday, its goalkeeper Milan Borjan stood in the course of a huddle of his teammates and waved his arms as he spoke.

Based on the Canada captain Atiba Hutchinson, Borjan reminded his teammates of how far that they had come, told that they still possessed talent despite their performance, and encouraged them — 4 years before Canada co-hosts the subsequent World Cup — that they’d keep convalescing.

Even reaching this far was an accomplishment. Canada toppled the USA and Mexico en path to winning their qualifying group and ending its 36-year World Cup drought. Once in Qatar, Canada showed flashes of its tantalizing potential — it outplayed Belgium within the teams’ opening match but lost, 1-0. But in its loss to Croatia, Canada then showed how far it has to go before it will possibly expect to contend at the very best level.

“You’re playing on a world stage, there’s a number of quality, so there’s things that we’re going to must learn as a team,” said Hutchinson, 39, who made his one hundredth international appearance for Canada on Sunday. “We didn’t get the result we wanted but we’ll learn from this and these mistakes that we made and we’ll get well and higher, and the subsequent World Cup might be in Canada. We’ve got great players and have increasingly more coming through the system. We just must be able to do what we’ve been doing.”

The 2026 World Cup might be jointly hosted by Canada, the USA and Mexico, and in its expansion to 48 teams all three host countries are expected to qualify robotically. But Canada will definitely want to indicate greater than it did in Qatar. With several standouts who’re 25 or younger and play in a number of the top leagues on this planet — Alphonso Davies (Bayern Munich in Germany), Jonathan David (Lille in France), Tajon Buchanan (Club Brugge in Belgium) and Stephen Eustáquio (F.C. Porto in Portugal) — that will possible.

“I do know the longer term for this team is actually vivid and there are a number of lessons on this World Cup,” defender Steven Vitória said. “We’re going to maintain working to shut gaps against the most effective teams on this planet.”

Canada still has yet another group stage game left in Qatar, against Morocco on Thursday. It has already done higher than its only previous trip to the World Cup — Canada went scoreless and winless in Mexico in 1986 — but that shouldn’t be ok for Davies, its best player and the scorer of its only goal in Qatar.

“For me, I keep dreaming and keep believing and keep pushing,” Davies said after the loss.

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