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Canadian men to face the sixth-ranked Dutch in June friendly

Alphonso Davies Alphonso Davies - The Canadian Press

Canada will play the sixth-ranked Netherlands in a men's soccer friendly in June in Rotterdam.

The 50th-ranked Canadians will face the Dutch on June 6 at Stadion Feijenoord.

The teams have met just once before, with the Netherlands winning 3-0 at Toronto's Varsity Stadium in June 1994 in the run-up to the 1994 FIFA World Cup in the U.S.

Frank Rijkaard, Marc Overmars and Dennis Bergman scored that day.

The Dutch went on to make the '94 World Cup quarterfinals, losing to eventual champion Brazil.

The June fixture marks Canada's highest-ranked opponent since the 2022 World Cup when the Canadian men lost 1-0 to second-ranked Belgium.

“We are very excited for our men’s national team to be playing a top-six FIFA-ranked opponent," said Kevin Blue, incoming Canada Soccer's incoming general secretary and CEO, said in a statement. "The opportunity to play against the top teams in the world will serve as an opportunity to continue our development on the journey to our home FIFA World Cup.”

Blue officially starts his job on March 14.

Canada Soccer said it is looking for another fixture in the June international window.

First up for the Canada men is No. 96 Trinidad and Tobago in a CONCACAF Nations League play-in match March 23 in Frisco, Texas with a Copa America playoff berth on the line.

The hope is the Canadians win so the June window becomes preparation for the 16-country Copa America, which runs June 20 to July 14 across the U.S.

Should Canada qualify, it will slot into Group A alongside top-ranked Argentina, No. 33 Peru and No 42 Chile.

The 13th-ranked U.S., No. 15 Mexico, No. 44 Panama and No. 57 Jamaica have already qualified as four of the six guest CONCACAF teams by virtue of making the semifinals of the CONCACAF Nations League.

The Canadians were forced into the playoff after losing on the away goals rule to Jamaica after their two-legged quarterfinal finished tied at 4-4 in November.

No. 54 Costa Rica and No. 78 Honduras meet in the other March 23 play-in match.

The Dutch have qualified for 11 editions of the FIFA World Cup, finishing as runner-up in 1974 (to West Germany), 1978 (Argentina) and 2010 (to Spain). They made it to the quarterfinals in 2022 in Qatar, losing to Argentina in a penalty shootout


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This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 7, 2024