Canada’s men soccer team will play Iceland on Jan. 15 in Irvine, Calif., in a Dec. 30, 2019 story. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Canada’s men soccer team will play Iceland on Jan. 15 in Irvine, Calif., in a Dec. 30, 2019 story. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Canadian men to play Iceland in January international soccer friendly

TORONTO — Canada, bidding to add much-needed FIFA ranking points, will play Iceland in a men’s international soccer friendly on Jan. 15.

The game will take place in Irvine, Calif., at the Orange County Great Park with coach John Herdman summoning his players for a camp in advance.

Iceland is currently ranked 39th in the world, compared to No. 73 for Canada. The teams have met three times before with one win for Iceland and two ties.

With the January game not taking place within a FIFA window, neither team will be able to field its top lineup given most European leagues will be in play. The Canadian roster is expected to be released later this week.

Iceland’s top league will be on its winter break while MLS and CPL players will be preparing to get ready for pre-season. Canada, however, is no stranger to January camps or matches. The Canadian men met Iceland twice in January 2015 in Orlando, losing 2-1 and tying 1-1 with Dwayne De Rosario scoring both goals for Canada.

Canada stands seventh among CONCACAF countries and is looking to close the gap on No. 69 El Salvador, which currently stands sixth. The top six teams in CONCACAF come the June rankings will move directly to the Hex round of World Cup qualifying, the most direct route in the region to the 2022 Qatar World Cup.

The top three teams in the Hex will book their ticket to Qatar.

Teams ranked seventh and below in CONCACAF, which covers North and Central America and the Caribbean, will have to slog through a longer qualifying process. The last team standing will face the fourth-place Hex finisher to determine who advances to an intercontinental playoff with a World Cup berth on the line.

The Canadian men currently have 1,331 points, 15 behind El Salvador.

Both teams are likely to use FIFA international windows in March and June to boost their points total. Games played outside the windows are worth points, but not as many.

Iceland can help Canada’s cause. It plays El Salvador on Jan. 19 at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, Calif.

Iceland is preparing for a March Euro 2020 qualifier against Romania with the winner facing either Bulgaria or Hungary for a place in the tournament. The winner will land in a tough group alongside Germany, France and Portugal.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 30, 2019.

Just Posted

Pro-Palestinian protesters run from police following a demonstration in Montreal, Sunday, May 16, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Tensions flare at Israel-Palestinian demonstrations in Montreal, Toronto

Tensions ran high at competing demonstrations over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in both… Continue reading

Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, then-vice-president of logistics and operations at the Public Health Agency of Canada, participates in a news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa, Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. An expert in military affairs says the sudden departure of the  general in charge of Canada's vaccine rollout is unlikely to have any impact on the high-profile program. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Canada to get 4.5M vaccine doses as questions swirl around immunization effort

OTTAWA — Canada is set to receive a large infusion of COVID-19… Continue reading

Israelis take cover as a siren sounds a warning of incoming rockets fired from the Gaza Strip, in Ashkelon, southern Israel, Sunday, May 16, 2021. (AP Photo/Heidi Levine)
Israeli strikes hit Gaza tunnels as diplomats work for truce

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — The Israeli military unleashed a wave… Continue reading

John Guise is seen at 4 weeks and one day after his birth, weighing two pounds and three ounces, in hospital in Hamilton, Ont., in an Aug. 1 1979, handout photo. Canadian researchers who've tracked a group of men who were born prematurely at a weight of less than one kilogram are finding they tend to age more quickly than male babies who aren't born prematurely. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-John Guise, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Boys born prematurely and very small age faster as men, study suggests

Canadian researchers who tracked a group of men who were born prematurely… Continue reading

In this photo taken on May 13, 2021, Russia's performer, Manizha, smiles during an interview after rehearsing at the Eurovision Song Contest at Ahoy arena in Rotterdam, Netherlands. For many, the stage and global television audience of millions is a chance to express messages of inclusion, strength and positivity. Manizha has a message of strength for women in her song whose lyrics include the lines: "Every Russian Woman. Needs to know. You're strong enough to bounce against the wall." (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)
Eurovision Song Contest returns despite coronavirus pandemic

ROTTERDAM, Netherlands (AP) — Pounding beats? Check. Uplifting lyrics? Check. Huge, backlit… Continue reading

Serena Williams of the United States returns the ball to Italy's Lisa Pigato during their match at the Emilia Romagna Open tennis tournament, in Parma, Monday, May 17, 2021. Serena Williams earned her first victory in more than three months by beating 17-year-old qualifier Lisa Pigato 6-3, 6-2 in the first round of the Emilia-Romagna Open. Williams accepted a wild-card invitation for the Parma tournament after losing her opening match at the Italian Open last week. (AP Photo/Marco Vasini)
Serena Williams posts 1st victory in more than 3 months

PARMA, Italy (AP) — Serena Williams earned her first victory in more… Continue reading

In this Oct. 21, 2014 file photo, people pass an AT&T store in New York's Times Square. AT&T will combine its media operations that include CNN HBO, TNT and TBS in a $43 billion deal with Discovery, the owner of lifestyle networks including the Food Network and HGTV. The deal announced Monday, May 17, 2021, would create a separate media company as households increasingly abandon cable and satellite TV, looking instead at Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Facebook, TikTok and YouTube. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)
AT&T, Discovery join media brands as cord-cutting encroaches

NEW YORK (AP) — AT&T will combine its massive media operations that… Continue reading

The Minnesota Wild celebrate their overtime victory over the Vegas Golden Knights in Game 1 of a first-round NHL hockey playoff series Sunday, May 16, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/David Becker)
Eriksson Ek’s OT goal lifts Wild past Vegas 1-0

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Joel Eriksson Ek’s goal at 3:20 of overtime… Continue reading

Toronto Blue Jays' Lourdes Gurriel Jr., celebrates after hitting a double against the Philadelphia Phillies during the third inning of a baseball game Sunday, May 16, 2021, in Dunedin, Fla. (AP Photo/Mike Carlson)
Girardi, Segura have confrontation as Phils lose to Jays

Blue Jays 10 Phillies 8 DUNEDIN, Fla. (AP) — The injury-depleted Philadelphia… Continue reading

New York Islanders' Kyle Palmieri (21) returns to the bench after scoring during the first period in Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup first-round playoff series against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Pittsburgh, Sunday, May 16, 2021. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
Palmieri’s OT winner lifts Isles by Penguins 4-3 in Game 1

PITTSBURGH (AP) — The New York Islanders brought Kyle Palmieri home at… Continue reading

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, speaks during a Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions hearing to examine an update from Federal officials on efforts to combat COVID-19, Tuesday, May 11, 2021 on Capitol Hill in Washington. (Jim Lo Scalzo/Pool via AP)
Fauci says pandemic exposed ‘undeniable effects of racism’

ATLANTA (AP) — The immunologist who leads the COVID-19 response in the… Continue reading

Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, vice-president of logistics and operations at the Public Health Agency of Canada, participates in a news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa, on Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Feds face growing calls for answers after general overseeing vaccine effort sidelined

OTTAWA — The federal Liberal government is facing growing calls for answers… Continue reading

Most Read