Exciting Canadians out to shock the sport
Canada face Belgium, Croatia and Morocco in Group F
We look at how John Herdman plans to see them thrive
Alphonso Davies and Jonathan David will be key
With the money from a whole country, John Herman is playing at the casino. Would he approve of Canada scoring their first goal and winning the tournament on the Arabian Peninsula after spending 36 years without doing so?
Oh, no way. The Canucks' goal, according to the 47-year-old, is to go to the knockout round despite being caged in with the silver- and bronze-medal winners from Russia 2018 in the first round.
“When Belgium and Croatia came out of the hat, we were just rubbing our hands, saying, ‘This is going to be an amazing experience’,” Herdman recently told FIFA+. ”We want to create a freedom and have them go in against the De Bruynes, Lukakus, Modrics and relish that chance of pushing their limits against these immortals of the game. As coach, I know that I’ll either be a hero or a zero.”
Clevpicks.com will introduce you the Croatia national football team...
Canada’s Group F fixtures
Belgium vs Canada (22:00 local time, Ahmad bin Ali Stadium)
Croatia vs Canada (19:00 local time, Khalifa International Stadium)
Canada vs Morocco (18:00 local time, Al Thumama Stadium)
Herdman’s approach and tactics
The 47-year-old has experimented with different formations but, if Canada’s last two friendlies are something to go on, seems to have settled on a 3-4-1-2, with Davies in a free role behind David in Larin. The system is dependent on two holding midfielders working tirelessly to protect the defence and enabling the wingbacks to support the front three.
Canada’s counter-attacking is a key component in their game, while Herdman stressed that he wants “the players to play with freedom”.
Key player: Alphonso Davies
The call him ‘Road Runner’. He’s a human thunderbolt who intoxicates spectators and terrifies opponents in equal measure. Herdman is adamant ‘Little Canada’ have a player who would not just get into, but “walk into” any of the biggest teams on the planet.
Still just 21, Davies is already the most decorated footballer in Canadian history. Labelled a “phenomenon” by Bayern Munich team-mate Thomas Muller, he operates at left-wingback at club level but is deployed further north – “where he can hurt people most” – by Herdman.
One to watch: Jonathan David
One must not solely concentrate on Davies. One of the hardest players to mark I have ever seen, according to Christophe Galtier, the former Lille student is dangerous if you can't keep up with the jet-heeled striker. Since joining Les Dogues in 2020, the 22-year-old has scored a lot for them, tallying 22 goals in 34 international games.
David and Davies' telepathy also helps to crack defenses. Can "The Iceman" in Qatar melt some old fault lines?
Canada’s World Cup history
The only World Cup played by the Canucks occurred in Mexico in 1986. They bravely tested defending European champions France in their opening match, losing 1-0 with to a late goal from Jean-Pierre Papin, before suffering back-to-back 2-0 losses to Hungary and the Soviet Union.
Until John Herdman's squad won the Concacaf Octagonal to advance Qatar 2022 in style, Canada hadn't even gone close to making another appearance in the international championships.
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