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breaking news 2018 finalists react in style with landslide victory to stun Can

Alphonso Davies scored Canada’s first-ever World Cup goal to give his side an early lead, but Croatia responded with a brace from Andrej Kramaric to run away with a 4-1 win and eliminate Canada in the group stage.

Canada have fulfilled at least some of their World Cup goals despite exiting in the group stage: scoring their first goal in tournament history and showing they can take on some of the best teams in the world.

John Herdman, who took charge of the team in 2018, was on a mission to transform the image of the men’s game in a country where ice hockey dominates the public psyche. Canada’s combativeness in Qatar has undoubtedly elevated the status of the sport ahead of the 2026 tournament, which the country will co-host with the United States and Mexico.

In back-to-back defeats, one to second-placed Belgium and the other to 2018 runners-up Croatia, Canada showed they could challenge, even if they didn’t consistently beat, teams with more experience and depth.

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The defining moment for Canada, in their first appearance in the final since 1986, was a poorly struck penalty from Bayern Munich’s Alphonso Davies that could have given Canada a lead against Belgium in the first half, which the Canadians lost. surprisingly dominated.

Some Canadians were left baffled that Davies struck an unusually weak penalty against Thibaut Courtois, arguably the best goalkeeper in the world, but Herdman praised his player for taking the initiative and carrying “the weight of a nation”.

Herdman managed to distract his players after their 1-0 loss to Belgium, infuriating the Croatian media with the expletive threat that Canada would “eliminate Croatia”.

The comments provided fodder for Croatian tabloids, one of which published a full-page photo of a naked shepherd, maple leaves covering his mouth and private parts, with the headline: “You have your mouth, but do you also have the balls? “

Herdman’s impolitic comments may have fired the Canadians in the opening minutes of their game against Croatia on Sunday, as Davies beat goaltender Dominik Livakovic with a powerful header in the second minute.

But Croatia responded ruthlessly by capitalizing on Canada’s suspect defense in the first half, scoring twice in eight minutes before adding two more after the break.

The World Cup is expanding from 32 nations to 48 from 2026 and, although Canada automatically qualified as one of the hosts, they can hope to become a regular in the larger format in later tournaments.


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