After Qatar, Canada’s dream also burst prematurely
Canada loses against runner-up Croatia and has no chance of progressing at the World Cup in Qatar. Even the historic goal by Bayern star Alphonso Davies could not prevent the outsider from being eliminated early in the preliminary round.
Dhe historic World Cup goal by Bayern star Alphonso Davies was not enough for Canada, instead Andrej Kramaric put vice world champion Croatia on course for the round of 16 with a brace. Hoffenheim became the match winner in a 4-1 (2-1) Zoff duel in Doha and gave the Croatians their first victory at the World Cup in Qatar. But the situation in Group F remains tricky. Luka Modric and Co. only need one point to progress, but in the last group game they meet Belgium, who are third in the World Cup and are under a lot of pressure.
For the Canadians, on the other hand, the end of the World Cup is sealed. Davies created a historic moment in front of 44,374 spectators when he headed in the Maple Leafs’ first goal in World Cup history after 67 seconds. But Kramaric (36th and 70th) and Marko Livaja (44th) turned the game around for the favourite. Lovro Majer finally made everything clear in injury time (90+4).
Canada coach John Herdman had already caused explosives in the run-up to the game when he committed his team to the duel with the runner-up world champion with a “Fuck Croatia” slogan. That was not well received in the Croatian camp. National coach Zlatko Dalic had complained about the lack of respect, and domestic tabloid media even railed against the Canadian coach on their front pages.
Davies scored with a head
The Croatian response should follow on the pitch. But first of all there was a sensitive blow to the neck. Davies rushed in after a cross from Tajon Buchanan and hit his head. It was the earliest goal at these finals. The 22-year-old celebrated his coup with a jump and shouts of joy. In the first group game, Davies, who scored the first goal by a Bayern player at this World Cup, missed a penalty.
In the period that followed, Davies turned up the heat on the left flank and caused his opponent Josip Juranovic to have dizzy spells. In this phase, the big favorite, who had already started the tournament sluggishly in the 0-0 draw against Morocco, wobbled.
After 20 minutes, however, Modric and Co. took over and shortly afterwards Kramaric was already celebrating, but his goal was ruled out for offside (26′). The Hoffenheim player had been moved from the storm center to the outside lane by Dalic, and Livaja stormed in for it. That fitted much better. The Hajduk Split man initially missed two good chances (22nd and 35th), then he scored from long range.
At this stage, the Canadian defense was no longer up to par. Not even Captain Atiba Hutchinson could provide stability. The 39-year-old completed his 100th international match and is the first Canadian in the 100 club. He is also the second oldest outfield player in World Cup history after Cameroon’s Roger Milla.
In the second round, the Croatians shifted down a gear, but still remained dangerous. Kramaric missed the early decision (54th), but made up for it later. In the 73rd minute, the 31-year-old was substituted to the cheers of the fans. Canada posed another threat with two long-range shots from Jonathan Osorio (49′) and Jonathan David (56′). But Croatia brought the victory easily over time.