Richie Laryea REACTS to Canada drawing Belgium, Croatia, Morocco in Group F
Richie Laryea is raring to go.
The Canadian international got to experience a new moment in his own World Cup journey on Friday afternoon, sitting down with his Ghanaian family and looking not at where Ghana places during the 2022 FIFA World Cup draw, but where he and his Canadian teammates fit into the group stage picture.
The 27-year-old joined us on OneSoccer immediately following Canada's group stage fate being determined, and reflected on his next adventure - playing Belgium, Croatia and Morocco in Group F.
But, despite being underdogs on paper, Laryea knows he and his Canadian teammates will put up a genuine fight.
"Honestly, with the group that we have, I think guys wouldn't want it any other way," Laryea said, of being drawn against Belgium and Croatia. "You want to go head-to-head with the best in the world, and they're one of obviously the best footballing countries in the world. So it's going to be a class experience for us. But like John (Herdman) has said, we're going there to win these games. That's where our mindset is.
"Qualifying wasn't enough. Now it's about going to this World Cup and going head-to-head with a team like Belgium and saying, all right, it's great, they have X, Y and Z, and this guy plays there, this guy plays here. But it's about us going into this, knowing that we can win these type of games. And I think we put people on notice, but this is about doing it to even higher extend against a great opponent."
Laryea added: "Guys are excited, guys are ready. Guys want to get to work now and start going. So it's going to be exciting. Now everyone has eight months to use, obviously, all these competitive club games that guy play across the board on our national team now have a little bit more behind it."
For a player who has experienced his own whirlwind adventure beyond Concacaf - moving from Toronto FC to Nottingham Forest in the middle of their bid for Premier League promotion - Laryea is finally started to feel the adrenaline of knowing he's got a World Cup circled on his calendar for December in Qatar.
"Today made it a little bit more real," Laryea said. "I think even after the game against Jamaica and even after we played Panama and realized that we clinched the number one spot, it still didn't really hit me. But watching it, seeing some of the legends of the games up on the stage and obviously the draw, it makes you look at it and you're like, wow, yeah, this is really happening.
"So it's sinking in a little bit more now, but, yeah, it's all still surreal. It's an unreal moment."