What a time to be alive, Canada is in the semi-finals of the Copa America. As Nickelback once sang: How the hell did we end up like this?

Canada has also gone further than Brazil in the Copa America. What timeline are we living in? A pretty good one if you ask me.

They will face Lionel Messi, Lautaro Martinez, Angel Di Maria and Argentina in the semis. Did anyone expect Canada to get to this point? Highly doubt it, even the ones reading this saying they did. Winning a game was the goal. Getting out of the group was even better. But reaching the semi-finals? That is like unexpectedly getting a bonus at work.

And I am being literal here because Canada is reportedly earning eight million dollars from their quarterfinal win over Venezuela according to Peter Schaad. For a federation that has been struggling with finances over the last couple of years, this is huge.

Canada progressed through the Copa America not at their best

How different would it be if Canada could finish their chances? Things would be even better.

Jacob Shaffelburg and Jonathan David are the only goal scorers for Canada in the Copa America. David could’ve had more with the amount of missed chances. Same with the likes of Shaffelburg, Liam Millar and Stephen Eustaqio.

Canada progressed through the semi-finals but it wasn’t easy. Remember, despite playing well in the first game against Argentina, they lost. Before beating Peru, they struggled in the first half. Against Chile, finishing was a big problem.

In the quarterfinals against Venezuela, it was a tight evenly contested match that drew a lot of (questionable) fouls and yellow cards. It had to go to penalties and Maxime Crépeau came up big.

The defending has been solid but there were times when it looked chaotic. Nonetheless, Canada has only given up three goals in four games at the Copa America. That’s not bad at all.

Canada players stepping up

When you think of the Canadian men’s national team, you think of Alphonso Davies and Jonathan David. Davies, of course, is one of the best players in the world.  He’s the face of the team. In the past, when Canada was struggling in games, he would try to put the whole team on his back and it wouldn’t work.

In the Copa America so far, that hasn’t happened. Other players have stepped up. Shaffelburg comes to mind. He has proven he can be a starter for Canada with his speed and agility. Look at how good he has been in terms of expected goals.

Derek Cornelius and Moise Bombito have, for the most part, held the fort down as a centre-back duo. They have kept their game simple: Get the ball and clear it.

Stephen Eustaqio has been the creative playmaker in the midfield while Jonathan Osorio’s ball progression has been solid.

Meanwhile, Richie Laryea is doing what he does best: drawing fouls, creating chances and being a master of the dark arts.

Marsch mentality

Jesse Marsch has only managed six games for Canada and so far, it is fair to say he has done a good job. Has he been perfect? No.

However, he clearly has changed the culture around the Canadian men’s team. Despite the adversity, Marsch has had his team pull through. Losing Tajon Buchanan to a broken tibia really hurt. But despite losing a key player, Canada pulled through and won a huge match.

Marsch has brought in a “why not us” or “yes we can” mentality to this squad. After all, he is known for being an excellent motivator. Just look at him motivate RB Salzburg in English and German.

On the sideline, you can see Marsch barking out orders but also telling his players to remain calm and stay focused. Even when things are getting hectic, he and his players have done a great job of adapting.

Of course, it is not all perfect but it is clear there is progression under Marsch. Under him, Canada has proven they can compete with the best teams. The semi-final against Argentina won’t be easy but that doesn’t mean Canada will back down.

“Argentina will have to be the best match we’ve ever played and it still might not be enough,” said Marsch after the win over Venezuela per TrueNorthFoot. “But whatever, we’re going to go for it.“

“We’re a completely different team than when we last played Argentina,” said Laryea after Sunday’s training session per Joshua Kloke of The Athletic. “We think we can win this thing.”

At this point, you have to be proud of Canada’s performance at the Copa America and this is a great building point for the 2026 World Cup. The federation has had problems on and off the pitch for the past couple of years. While there is still a long way to go, it seems things are slowly moving in the right direction under CEO Kevin Blue.

But this team likes to prove doubters wrong. They have a monumental task ahead, but they will not go quietly into the night.

Kickoff against Argentina is Tuesday at 5:00 pm Eastern.