Canada's World Cup run officially over after devastating loss to Croatia

Stefan Luciani
FiredUp Network Sports Writer


Sunday, November 27, 2022

The defending World Cup finalists overwhelmed a young and inexperienced Canadian team to end knockout stage hopes in Qatar.

DOHA – Canada wasted no time Sunday morning, ending a 36 year drought.


Just 67 seconds into their Group Stage match with Croatia, Alphonso Davies received a perfectly placed cross from Tajob Buchanon to head home Canada’s first World Cup Goal.


Unfortunately for them, it was the only goal they would be able to score, as they were overwhelmed by one of the best midfield trios in the world, dropping their second straight match to Croatia 4-1. 


With the loss, Canada has been mathematically ruled out from advancing to the knockout stage of their first World Cup since 1986. 


Les Rouge held the 1-0 lead before two goals from Andrej Kramaric and one from Marko Livaja accounted for the late first half comeback. The sprinkled some salt in the wound with an extra-time goal in the 94th minute by way of Lovro Majer.


Canada’s opening goal was the quickest in the entire tournament by far as the entire team swarmed the 22-year-old Bayern Munich left back as the goal was 36-years in the making. 


The Croatians were in complete control from there on out though, making easy work chopping up Canada’s inexperienced back line of defence with notable struggles from the ageing Atiba Hutchinson, allowing for countless opportunities from Croatia’s attack led by 2018 Ballon D’Or winner Luka Modric. Herdman reflected after the game on his decision to keep Hutchinson out there, defending the move. 


"I thought he was just next level in that first half. I was really happy with his performance, he was a real leader," Herdman said about his captain.


“I am disappointed in the result. It was not easy,” said Davies. “We did our best, we fought the entire game. We’re looking forward to the next game and hopefully we get some points.”


The story coming into this one was all the media attention surrounding head coach John Herdman’s comments just following their loss to Belgium when he stated they were going to “eff Croatia.”


"No [disrespect at all]. I could've been a little composed coming out of the huddle, but that's my learning," Herdman said post-game. "I'll take it on the chin."


Following Canada's loss to Croatia, Andrej Kramaric, who scored a brace in the game, thanked Canada's coach for lighting a fire under the Croats.


With Canada now eliminated, their participation in Thursday’s match against Morocco, will have the lowest of stakes.