It’s been 36 years since Canada played in a men’s FIFA World Cup tournament. This November, they’re back on soccer’s biggest stage. What did it take to get to this point? Who made it happen? And what are they up against? Introducing Ahead Of The Game, a brand new sports podcast from The Globe and Mail, which follows Canada’s journey into the World Cup in Qatar and the tournament as a whole. Join hosts John Doyle, Globe and Mail columnist and soccer writer, and soccer journalist Sonja Missio throughout the tournament as they speak to former players, experts on and off the field, fans and fanatics, to cover every angle of Qatar 2022; from great goals and must-see matches to bitter failure and brilliant triumphs.
Greatest final ever? Messi finally wins a World Cup despite legendary performance from Mbappé
Argentina are world champions after one of the most thrilling games in World Cup history, which saw them beat France 4-2 on penalties after a 3-3 draw. In our final episode, we’re looking at the rollercoaster victory and reflect on Qatar 2022 as a whole. Plus, we look ahead to the World Cup in 2026 and the next four years of Canadian soccer.
Mbappé vs. Messi: What to expect from a France-Argentina World Cup final
With Argentina knocking out Croatia 3-0 and France beating Morocco 2-0, the two heavyweight teams are set to faceoff on Dec 18. for the World Cup final. The stakes are high: France is going for its second World Cup win in a row, while Argentina’s Lionel Messi is vying to finally win a World Cup, and in what will be his last tournament. John and Sonja break down how each team and their star players are looking and who they think will win it all. Plus. Sonja speaks with David Miller, the former Toronto mayor and soccer advocate, about Canada’s journey to becoming a soccer nation and what the 2026 World Cup could mean for this country. And John and Sonja discuss the problem with referees.
Morocco and Croatia upsets and a look ahead to the semi-finals
How quickly things change at a World Cup. A few days ago, hosts John and Sonja were talking about how the tournament was unfolding rather conventionally. Now, Croatia has knocked out Brazil and Morocco beat Portugal to advance to the semi-finals. We delve into the dramatic upsets of the quarter-finals and look ahead to what to expect from the upcoming semi-finals. Plus, Sonja speaks to Shireen Ahmed, a senior contributor for CBC sports, about her recent time in Qatar, lessons from this World Cup and the growth of women’s soccer both in Canada and internationally. And a tribute to Grant Wahl, an American sports journalist who died suddenly in Qatar.
The problem with penalty shootouts, Ronaldo vs. Messi, and what to expect in the quarter-finals
Since 1990, four out of the eight winners of the World Cup have won a penalty shootout on their road to victory at the tournament. And as we’ve seen, in this World Cup, it has the ability to make or break a team’s progression. Spain has now been eliminated from four World Cups after penalty shootouts - its most recent against Morocco this tournament. In this episode, we’re talking about how much penalty taking matters as a skill on the road to a World Cup championship. Plus, we hear from Roger Bennett, one of the hosts of the popular Men In Blazers soccer podcast, about what might be Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo’s final World Cup, the 100 greatest players ever and his admiration for Canadian soccer. And John and Sonja look ahead to what we can expect in the quarter-finals.
What the group stage results from this World Cup say about the state of international soccer
As the World Cup group stage wraps, 16 teams move on and 16 are heading home, including Canada. John and Sonja break down Canada’s 2-1 loss to Morocco in their final game of the tournament and the future of our National Men’s program ahead of the next World Cup, which Canada co-hosts in 2026. Plus, John speaks to soccer journalist Eoin O’Callaghan about how various teams - from Brazil to England - are faring at this tournament and what it means about the state of international soccer.
Breaking down Canada’s 4-1 loss to Croatia, plus what it’s like on the ground in Qatar
Despite an early goal by Alphonso Davies, Canada lost to Croatia by 4-1, making them the second team to be eliminated from the World Cup. In this episode, Sonja Missio and John Doyle break down the devastating loss and what went wrong, as well as how their final match against Morocco could decide the outcome for the rest of the group. Plus, Sonja speaks to The Globe’s sports columnist Cathal Kelly, who is on the ground in Qatar, about what that experience has been like. And of course, we delve into other key results from the group stage.
Really enjoyed listening
I’m a casual soccer fan, and I really appreciated the conversational tone, how the hosts made the game accessible, their thoughts on the games… Was one of my favorite podcasts to listen to over the last month! I’ll miss it.
Engaging and smart!
Excellent hosts, clearly experts on the sport and Canada’s teams in general. Excited to follow along as the Cup progresses.