After 36 years, Canada must wait longer to win the World Cup

AL RAYYAN, Qatar (AP) — O Canada, the wait remains.

Alphonso Davies was lucky enough to score his country’s first-ever World Cup goal, to take an early lead over Belgium. As Davies braced for the 11th-minute kick after a handball, the red-clad Canadian fans at the other end of the Ahmed bin Ali Stadium buzzed with anticipation for decades.

“You carry the weight of a nation: 36 years of waiting – more than 36 for our first goal,” said coach John Herdman.

Goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois guessed correctly to dive right and hit Davis’ attempt with his forearm. The ball bounced and the Canadians never got closer to the goal.

Despite dominating the world’s second-ranked team in Canada’s first World Cup match since 1986, the Canadians lost to Belgium 1-0 on Wednesday night as Michy Batshuayi scored on a quick counter at the 44th minute.

Davies did not speak to the media after the match.

“He’s our star player. He’s one of the best players in the world. He’ll move on and he’ll get another chance and he’ll bury it,” midfielder Jonathan Osorio said. also had the best goalkeeper in the world in front of the net which he had to pass.”

Courtois had studied Davies’ video.

“He shot twice from that side, that’s why I decided to go in that direction,” Courtois said.

Much of the crowd of 40,432 in the Arabian Desert stadium supported Canada.

Many waved the maple leaf and proudly sang “O Canada” before the game.

“Goosebumps,” Osorio said. “Times are changing in this country for this sport. I was a little surprised. It’s not a close trip to Canada to get here. It shows you how much support we have, how much the fans love football, how much people love football in Canada. It is a change in the history of this sport in this country. It was like a home game. And I think Belgium looked like an away game.

The players brought the sword they wore in Central America and the Caribbean during qualifying, which reads “Nihil timendum est (Do not be afraid)”.

Retired Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield spoke with the team before the game.

Atiba Hutchinson, 39, has become the oldest non-goalkeeper to start a World Cup match.

Even though Canada fell to 0-4 in the World Cup, the players were proud and felt they had momentum heading into Sunday’s match against losing runners-up Croatia at the 2018 World Cup. a 0-0 draw against Morocco.

“They come away proud, I’m sure, proud of the feeling that we are a footballing nation,” Herdman said. “We came into this game with a few goals. The first goal was to play without fear, and the second goal was to entertain. We had other goals, which were to create firsts, but we didn’t quite live up to those moments.

He gathered the players on the pitch after the final whistle.

“I was really passionate in the circle,” Herdman said, recounting what he told them. “I thought it was a big step for this country. We deserve to be here. You showed it. You showed you could live here.

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AP World Cup coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/world-cup and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports




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