International watch

Three games of vital importance

Four Impact players are with their national teams for games that are of vital importance. In Finland, Jukka Raitala and the Finland national team are one win away from booking their ticket to the Euro Cup in 2020, for the very first time in its history.

On the other side of the Atlantic, Samuel Piette and the Reds are on a mission. After defeating the United States last month for the first time in a very long time, John Herdman will look to repeat the feat on enemy territory. Let’s dive into the details.

Finally, Orji Okwonkwo is with Nigeria’s U23 squad at the Africa U23 Cup of Nations, his team having amassed one win and one loss thus far.

Jukka Raitala
Finland v Liechtenstein, November 15, noon
Greece v Finland, November 18, 2 :45pm
Euro Cup qualifiers

It’s quite simple for the Finns. If they win one of their last two qualification games, they secure their first ever berth into a major tournament. Their first opportunity is tonight, against Liechtenstein, a team that has yet to win in this qualification campaign and which sits dead last in Group J.

Playing at Telia 5G stadium in the middle Helsinki, in front of a sold-out crowd of close to 11,000 fans, the atmosphere is sure to be electric tonight as Jukka Raitala and the Finns look to make history. And the Montreal Impact media team will be there, so be sure to follow us closely on Instagram for this one.

Samuel Piette and Daniel Lovitz
United States v Canada, November 15, 7pm
Concacaf Nations League

Canada not only beat the United States last month for the first time in 35 years; they dominated them. Herdman and his men had their way with the USMNT, causing shockwaves in the world of North American soccer.

 Now, they’ll look to repeat the feat in Orlando, booking their ticket at the same time for the semi-final of the first ever Concacaf Nations League.

But there’s much more on the table for the Reds. After its win last month, Canada jumped in front of El Salvador in the FIFA rankings, making them the sixth best Concacaf team, which places them in the Hex, the main way of qualifying for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. Another win against the US would cement that position, and almost ensure a top six finish.

Last time, the Impact’s Samuel Piette and Daniel Lovitz were both on the pitch for this one, so let’s hope to see more of the same this time around.

Orji Okwonkwo
Nigeria U23 v South Africa U23
Africa U23 Cup of Nations

Sitting second in its group behind South Africa, Okwonkwo and his team have an opportunity to qualify to the semi-finals of the competition with a win, and even a tie would see them through if Ivory Coast loses its game.

Okwonkwo has played an essential role thus far, starting his team’s second game against Zambia and scoring the opening goal in the 16th minute.