Canada’s Alphonso Davies offers his take on loss to Belgium at World Cup
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DOHA, Qatar – Alphonso Davies took to social media Thursday to provide a brief take on Canada’s 1-0 loss to second-ranked Belgium at the World Cup.
“A disappointing result against a top team in the World Cup. We got two more games to go, we go again on Sunday!” wrote the Bayern Munich star. “Thank you to all the fans for their support.”
The 22-year-old from Edmonton was front and centre Wednesday at Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium in nearby Al Rayyan. He had a chance in the 11th minute to score Canada’s first-ever goal at the tournament but his penalty kick was saved by Belgian goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois.
Asked by beIN Sports after the game what was going though his mind when he stepped up to the penalty spot, Davies provided a more general answer.
“For me, it was knowing that it’s the biggest stage in the world, yeah, just play my game. Don’t change anything about how I play. And defend and attack with the team.
“In all, I was a little bit disappointed but we’re definitely, definitely proud of how we played today.”
Canada Soccer has not made Davies available to the Canadian media since he arrived last Friday from Germany, although he did do an interview with TSN on Sunday.
Davies also shared his emotion on making his World Cup debut.
“It feels good,” he told BeIN, a tournament rights-holder. “Stepping out on the pitch today was a dream come true for everyone in this white shirt. Playing Belgium, it wasn’t easy and we took the fight to them. We knew we had to show our quality today and that’s what we did.”
And Davies shared some of coach John Herdman’s comments after the match.
“He told us just keep going. The easiest thing to do is shy away from competition. We kept fighting, we kept battling and he just told us to keep our head high and keep fighting.”
Davies’ penalty was one of Canada’s three shots on target. Eighteen other Canadian attempts were off the mark.
Davies, who was yellow-carded in the 81st minute, switched from wingback to forward as Canada chased a tying goal.
“Fonzie, I thought he was brilliant tonight,” Herdman said after the match. “I thought he was way more disciplined. He showed courage when he needed to. I think in some of the others games we’ve had him in positions where he’s overplayed at times. But tonight I just thought he got the perfect balance.
“So his response (to the penalty miss) was brilliant.”
Of the Canadian starters Wednesday, Junior Hoilett has had the most success from the spot — converting three penalties for Canada. Davies has two successful spot kicks and Jonathan David one.
Some observers have wondered why David did not take the penalty.
“We had two players that were confident in doing it,” captain Atiba Hutchinson explained Thursday. “Alphonso’s taken a couple of penalties, as well as Jonathan … John (Herdman) has left it to the players in that position with who’s ready to go.”
Hutchinson said he was close to David and Davies in the lead-up to the spot kick.
“I don’t think it was a discussion. It was more of ‘Are you OK to take it?’ And Fonzie, he had the ball in his hand and was obviously ready for that moment. Like I said, it was just unfortunate he didn’t score. He was going up against a very good goalkeeper. Just on the day it didn’t cross the line.”
Courtois, who plays his club football for Real Madrid, currently holds the Yashin Award as the world’s top ‘keeper.
Canada, ranked 41st in the world, takes on No. 12 Croatia on Sunday knowing a loss will end its hopes of advancing to the knockout round. It wraps up Group F play Dec. 1 against No. 22 Morocco.
Follow @NeilMDavidson on Twitter
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov 24 2022