Davies achieves meteoric rise but dreams of Canada
|Host Nation: Qatar. Dates: November 20-December 18. Coverage: Live on BBC TV, BBC iPlayer, BBC Radio 5 Live, BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru, BBC Sounds and the BBC Sport website and app. Day by day TV listings – Full coverage details|
It was a moment that will go down in Canadian soccer history.
The country’s star player, Alphonso Davies, leaped high into the Doha sky to meet Tajon Buchanan’s perfect cross and power in a header to become the first man to score for the Maple Leafs in a World Cup world
The first goal against Croatia came just 68 seconds into the game and sent fans of the American team into a frenzy at the Khalifa International Stadium.
Boss John Herdman said afterwards: “It was a great start and a proud moment for the fans at the stadium and the people at home. We got to celebrate something we’ve been waiting for a long time.”
But 2018 finalists Croatia didn’t read the script like they did hit to win 4-1 and ending Canadian dreams by sending them out of the tournament after back-to-back losses.
“It’s amazing, the Canadian Gareth Bale”
Winger Davies’ name will forever be etched in Canadian folklore as the man who scored his first World Cup goal in his fifth game, and after 50 missed attempts.
His backstory is one of incredible resilience that has seen the 22-year-old experience a meteoric rise.
Born in a refugee camp in Ghana in 2000, Davies’ parents fled civil war in Liberia and moved to Canada as refugees when he was five.
But he now plays for Bayern Munich, one of Europe’s top teams, after the Bundesliga champions paid a Major League Soccer record £9.84m to sign him from the Vancouver Whitecaps as a 17-year-old in 2018.
Former England defender Martin Keown told BBC One: “Alphonso Davies’ pace is impressive. When he wins the ball he travels with that pace. I’ve seen him play at center forward for Canada. They see him as their Gareth Bale
“Davies is truly an incredible player. Canada only needs two or three of him on the pitch.”
Canada has four years to unearth a few more players of Davies’ quality before they co-host the 2026 tournament along with the USA and Mexico.
Chief Herdman said, “We have young guys who have come up through Canada and shown they can compete.
“These players can really believe they are headed in the right direction for 2026.”
Davies, however, can feel a sense of regret. Despite scoring the fastest goal of this World Cup so far against Croatia, his missed penalty against Belgium in the 0-0 opener proved crucial as Canada lost 1-0.
They will round off Group F against unbeaten Morocco next Thursday, hoping to finish this campaign on a high as they await the next one.