Canada is going to Qatar.

John Herdman and his side clinched a berth in the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 this winter on Sunday afternoon at BMO Field with a 4-0 win over Jamaica. 

A single point from the final matchday of Concacaf qualification on Wednesday when Canada travels to face Panama will secure them top spot in the region heading into the Final Draw on Friday in Doha, Qatar.

It will be Canada’s second appearance at that grandest of stages and the first time in 36 years, dating back to 1986.

Toronto FC’s Jonathan Osorio was right in the middle of it.

“Hard to explain,” said the midfielder post-match, asked how it felt. “The best way I can explain it is a dream come true.”

“As a Canadian kid, to dream of something like this was impossible,” Osorio continued. “And to see it come to fruition is incredible. It's a dream come true. I don't know how else to explain it.”

With just a single loss through 13 matches, outscoring their opponents 23-6, Canada will be going to the World Cup with momentum. From the opening whistle Jamaica could not deal with the relentless pressure. Canada took the lead after 13 minutes and never looked back, keeping their foot on the pedal to the final whistle.

“A dominant performance,” concurred Osorio. “We showed we were the better team, we showed that we are the best team in Concacaf, which I think we set in stone today. We’re going to go to the World Cup with that title and we don't take that lightly. We want to represent this region, more so this country, in the best way possible in Qatar.”

Not so long ago, it seemed unfathomable.

“There was a point where it was far, far away, but I never lost the hope, I never lost the hope,” Osorio explained. “When you believe, you believe. And when you see the vision, you keep going even when the times are rough. And when you’re down you just keep believing, you push through. That's all we did here. We believed and eventually everything all came together.”

It was a message to all the future Osorio’s out there.

“Believe, believe in yourself because you can do it,” said Osorio. “As a Canadian kid, you can be whatever you want. You can be a footballer and you can be the best footballer in the world if you dream that.” 

Osorio pointed to Alphonso Davies, cheering his teammates on from Germany, as just such an example. 

See it, dream it, believe it, be it. Football is life.

There will be struggles, but in the end.

“It’s all worth it,” Osorio reflected. “Footballs is ups and downs; I personally have been through real lows, it's all worth it. To go to Uruguay, leave my family, friends, everything to go there to develop and then to come back and to play for Toronto FC. It’s incredible.”

This one ranks up there with any of the other magical nights Osorio has experienced at BMO Field.

“Everybody knows how special this city is to me, this place, this stadium,” he replied, asked about getting the job done on his home patch. “All my family is here watching me realize my dream with my brothers, with my teammates, it’s incredible. Honestly something I could never even imagine to be this good.”

But he was not the only local product on that pitch. 

Doneil Henry, Richie Laryea, Liam Fraser, and Mark-Anthony Kaye have all spent time with TFC, the first three with the first team and Kaye in the development structure. 

All three goal-scorers – Cyle Larin, Tajon Buchanan, Junior Hoilett – hail from the GTA, as do so many other members of the squad that it seems excessive to list them all.

“I grew up with a lot of these guys in neighbourhoods all around here,” reflected Osorio. “I don't think a lot of us grew up very wealthy. We grew up starting from the bottom. We had to fight, we had to do a lot to be where we are today. So this is special to do it together.”

It bears repeating: Canada has qualified for Qatar.

Just the latest step on this journey that leads to 2026 when Canada alongside the USA and Mexico will host the FIFA World Cup.

“There's more to come, of course. This is just the first step for this program, qualifying for a World Cup,” said Osorio. “I remember people used to ask me about 2026, they used to forget about Qatar.”

“And I used to say, ‘No, what are you talking about? We want to go to Qatar.’ And now people believe,” he added. “And it's only going to get better. Now we want to go to a World Cup and really make a statement.”