Alphonso Davies’ goal in Canada’s World Cup elimination made history.
Sunday’s 4-1 loss to Croatia knocked Canada from the World Cup.
Alphonso Davies scored Canada’s first World Cup goal just 67 seconds, but Croatia mounted an amazing comeback with goals from Andrej Kramaric, Marko Livaja, and Lovro Majer to lead Group F with one round to go. Croatia will face Morocco for first place, while Canada will lose to Belgium.
Canada’s first World Cup goal, but they’re out early
Canada’s first men’s national team goal at a World Cup came only 67 seconds, but Croatia took them apart and sent them home.
Canada played well against Belgium and Croatia, but they also looked like a squad competing in their first World Cup since 1986. This level requires adjustment. Davies scored the fastest goal of the tournament thus far from Tajon Buchanan’s inch-perfect pass, sending Canada supporters crazy in their section of Khalifa International Stadium.
By halftime, Andrej Kramaric and Marko Livaja’s goals placed Croatia ahead 2-1. Jonathan Osorio and Ismael Kone gave Canada a boost after halftime, but Kramaric’s second on 70 minutes signalled the end. Lovro Majer’s breakaway goal compounded the damage.
Canada will co-host in 2026, while Luka Modric, Dejan Lovren, and Ivan Perisic prepare one final impossible run.
2. Croatia’s tournament involvement
No one knew what to expect of Croatia in Qatar, but maybe that’s how they prefer it. They’re trapped between an elderly golden generation headed by Modric and fresh talent like RB Leipzig’s Josko Gvardiol, which has led to uneven performances.
In June, they beat France 1-0 in Paris, although they struggled against Morocco and were easily opened up by Canada for Davies’ goal. In 2018, they needed penalties to win Denmark and Russia.
Despite their evident weaknesses, especially at the back, they know how to advance in big competitions, and if they escape Group F, no one will want to play them in the last 16. In Russia, they had to find a way through, and Qatar may be the same. Warning!
3. Canada’s disappointment, but vital experience 2026-plus
Canada were the stronger team versus Belgium in their initial game and were all over Croatia in the first 20 minutes here, but they’re still bottom of Group F with two losses.
After the 2014 World Cup, FIFA placed them as low as 122nd. They’ll have learnt critical lessons by 2026, when they’ll co-host with the US and Mexico. Davies and David have skill and ability, but to succeed at this level, you need experience and nous to control important moments in a game, which they lacked throughout this World Cup campaign.
Canada conceded twice in the closing 10 minutes of the first half when Croatia put the pressure on. Had Canada slowed down and reached halftime 1-1, the outcome may have been different.
Dominik Livakovic (6); Josip Juranovic (5); Dejan Lovren (6); Josko Gvardiol (7); Borna Sosa (6); Luka Modric (7); Marcelo Brozovic (6); Mateo Kovacic (8); Andrej Kramaric (8); Marko Livaja (7); Ivan Peris
Bruno Petkovic, Nikola Vlasic, Mario Pasalic, Mislav Orsic, Lovro Majer.
Milan Borjan (8), Alistair Johnston (6), Steven Vitoria (6), Kamal Miller (5), Richie Laryea (6), Tajon Buchanan (7), Atiba Hutchinson (5), Stephen Eustaquio (6), Alphonso Davies (7), Jonathan David (6),
Ismael Kone, Junior Hoilett, Lucas Cavallini, Samuel Adekugbe subs.
MILAN BORYAN, CANADA
Canada’s experienced goalie made many saves.
Josip Juranovic (Croatia)
Lost Davies for Canada’s first goal and was fortunate to survive another error later.
Davies’ first World Cup goal for Canada was a thrill, despite the loss.
Vancouver, where Davies’ pro career began, celebrated nearly as much as he did.
Post-game: Players and managers’ comments
“Canada’s coach inspired me. Who F’d Who?” Andrej Kramaric
“Croatia’s respected,” he remarked. “We’ll go as far as we can, I keep repeating. We’ll transform the group’s mindset. I could have been more composed, but that’s my lesson. I’m game. In the first 25 minutes, we proved that Canada can compete globally.” — John Herdman
Davies told TSN after the match, “I’m thrilled.” “I’m dissatisfied. Losing is difficult. Three points were crucial.” Alphonso Davies, TSN
• Alphonso Davies’ 1:07 goal was his quickest in all competitions. His previous best was 4:08 versus New York Red Bull with Vancouver.
• Croatia never lost a World Cup halftime lead (5-0-0).
Ivan Perisic is the first Croatian player with two assists in a World Cup match.
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Photo Credits: https://www.espn.com/