Canada eliminated from World Cup after loss to Croatia

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RAYYAN, Qatar — Canada will exit the World Cup this week without qualifying for the knockout stages, having lost their first two games against venerable opposition, including a 4-1 decision against 2018 finalists Croatia on Sunday. This is a big disappointment.

But the Canadians will take home a prize (the first World Cup goal in the men’s program’s 98-year history) and the knowledge they played in ambitious soccer. Four days after scaring second-placed Belgium, they edged past Croatia after just 67 seconds, the fastest goal of the tournament.

“We weren’t afraid of anybody,” defenseman Steven Vitoria said. “We’ve kept pushing forward, trying to play that attacking style. We’re proud of that. We’ll keep working to close the gaps and test the best teams in the world. That’s where we want to take our country.

On November 27, the World Cup continued with four matches in Group E and Group F. Here are the results. (Video: The Washington Post)

In this World Cup, Canada has earned style points, if not actual points, for the first time since its debut in the tournament in 1986. Defensively, however, they were unable to stop Croatia, who scored eight minutes before the break and added two goals. in the second half to tie first with surprising Morocco.

Group F favorites Belgium sit on three points after losing 2-0 to Morocco on Sunday. Group F concludes on Thursday with Morocco facing Canada and Croatia and Belgium. Two will enter the round of 16.

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Regardless of how they fared in the final, the Canadians “left a positive image of what we want for the future,” Vitoria said.

Alphonso Davies, the former West African refugee who has become a global star at Bayern Munich, will undoubtedly continue to be in the future. The 22-year-old winger made Canadian history with his goal on Sunday.

“Knowing that people at home from east to west were celebrating somewhere,” coach John Herdman said, “it was a great moment. We got to celebrate something that we’ve been waiting for a long time.

The good vibes didn’t last long. Andrej Kramaric scored the first of his two goals and Marko Livaja broke the deadlock.

The Croatians said they took a boost from Herdman, who used the expression to describe what his team would do to Croatia in a television interview after their 1-0 defeat to Belgium. Croatian media noted this in the run-up to this match.

“I want to thank the Canadian coach for the motivation,” Kramaric said through an interpreter. “He could have chosen different words. He could have phrased it differently. In the end, Croatia showed who succeeded who.”

Croatian coach Zlatko Dalic, the architect of Russia’s incredible 2018 run, exchanged greetings with Herdman before the match. However, their paths did not cross later.

“That’s his way of doing things,” Dalic said. “He was obviously angry. He is a high-quality professional but he will need time to learn some things.

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Canada spoke first. The streak of goals started with a long shot by goalkeeper Milan Borjan, and within seconds the ball was in the net.

Cyle Larin connected with Tajon Buchanan on the right wing. Drifting upfield, Jonathan David drew centre-back Dejan Lovren, which created an inviting channel. Davis accepted the invitation.

Starting his run from a deep position, he made his decisive move. Josip Juranovic didn’t see Davies coming and had no chance to beat Buchanan’s high cross. Davies rose to head home a 10-yard header.

The Khilafa International Stadium turned into a festival of red Canadian revelers.

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In the 1986 tournament debut, Canada lost all three matches by a combined score of 5-0. In the following decades, it stumbled again and again in the Concacaf qualifying phase. Earlier this year, the drought ended after coming in first, ahead of regional powers Mexico and the United States.

Canada kept up the pressure on Sunday, teasing their supporters with quick bursts and impressing neutral fans with forward-thinking style. However, Croatia soon figured out how to contain Davies.

The pace became too fast and the game too open to keep it 1-0.

In the 36th minute, Ivan Perisic flicked the ball forward to Kramaric at the corner of the six-yard box, firing a low one-time shot into the far corner.

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Croatia continued to take advantage of open space and Canada’s cool defence. In the 44th minute, Juranovic flew from the midfield, ahead of the smooth Davies and deflected into the center. The Canadians closed in, but after losing control, Juranović touched the ball between Vittoria’s legs for Livaj, who drove in a low shot from the top of the penalty area.

Canada’s hopes were dashed in the 70th minute when Kramaric left-footed a shot from 14 yards out. Lovro Majer scored in stoppage time.

“Every player that’s been on the field from the first game to this game has played with the right mentality and played fearlessly, played bravely,” said Canadian captain Atiba Hutchinson. “But of course we played very well on the world stage [on the other teams]. There are things we will have to learn. We did not get the desired result. But we will learn from it. And we will get better at it. “

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USMNT: The USA faced England in their second World Cup game on Friday. The match ended in a 0-0 draw, leaving the USA feeling good about their performance but also leaving Group B very uneasy heading into Tuesday’s final.

Political protest: The looming backdrop of Iran’s World Cup campaign is a nationwide protest movement at home targeting its clerical leadership, with the inevitable and ongoing tension spilling over onto the pitch.

Perspective: The beautiful game is good. Suitcases full of cash are better. Read Sally Jenkins on the human rights controversy in Qatar.


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