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Ex-Whitecaps coach Bob Birarda receives two-year sentence for sex offences

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Former Vancouver Whitecaps and Canada U-20 women’s soccer coach Bob Birarda leaves his lawyer’s office in a vehicle after appearing in provincial court via a video link, in Vancouver, on Tuesday, February 8, 2022. Birarda has pleaded guilty to three counts of sexual assault and one count of touching a young person for a sexual purpose. (Darryl Dyck/CP)

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Having scored at World Cup, Canadian men now look to get one final result

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Canadian defender Alistair Johnston knew something good was coming when he saw Tajon Buchanan launch his cross into the Croatian penalty box.

“We have a saying — we like to call it a ‘goal ball,”‘ said Johnston, a CF Montreal fullback/wingback who can deliver a fine cross in his own right. “As soon as it leaves your foot, as the guy who’s put in the cross, you just know that ball’s got goal written all over it. As soon as it left his foot, I said that in my head — goal ball. And Fonzie dunked on it.

“What a moment. You could just feel the energy. I think if you checked everyone’s GPS, that was probably the top speed, the max speed ever reached from every single one of the players, getting over to that corner flag [to celebrate with goal-scorer Alphonso Davies]. It was just a feeling of ‘Ah, we’ve finally done it. We’ve finally scored at the world’s biggest stage and we do belong.'”

“Of course, we would have liked the rest of the night to go a little bit better, but it was a special moment than none of us will forget any time soon.”

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Davies’s goal — Canada’s first ever at the men’s World Cup — was the high point of the evening for Canada on Sunday at Khalifa International Stadium in Al Rayyan, Qatar. No. 12 Croatia, runner-up to France four years ago in Russia, rallied with two goals late in the first half and added two more after the break for a 4-1 win that ended Canada’s hopes of advancing to the knockout round at the 32-team tournament.

Buchanan’s cross curled away from goal and was met by Davies’s head as the Bayern Munich star soared high above Croatian defender Josip Juranovic, ending Canada’s 36-year wait for a goal after being blanked in three straight games in its only other trip to the men’s soccer showcase in 1986.

 

 

Alphonso Davies makes history with first Canada Soccer goal at a Men’s World Cup

 

Host Andi Petrillo is joined by former Canadian men’s international player Jimmy Brennan to break down the historic first goal scored by Alphonso Davies at the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

The goal came 27 years after Helen Stoumbos scored Canada’s first-ever goal at the women’s World Cup in a 3-2 loss to England in June 1995.

The time of Davies’s score has been officially pegged at 68 seconds into Sunday’s match. Canada Soccer initially had it at 67 but FIFA says it came one second later.

Either way, it ranks as the fastest goal in a group stage match at the World Cup since American Clint Dempsey scored after 29 seconds against Ghana in 2014. And it is the fastest goal to date at the tournament in Qatar.

It also removed Canada from the list of World Cup participants yet to score, leaving Congo (competing as Zaire), China, Indonesia (competing as Dutch East Indies) and Trinidad and Tobago stuck on zero.

Goalkeeper Milan Borjan started the play with a goal kick that found Cyle Larn at midfield. The Besiktas striker controlled the ball with his foot and sent it over to Buchanan, who surged forward, taking two touches before lifting his head and seeing Davies headed into the box like an Exocet missile.

“Not the outcome we wanted, but we’ll keep fighting for everyone,” Davies said in a social media post to his 5.1 million followers on Instagram and 489,600 on Twitter. “Happy to be able to score my first WC goal for the team and to be able to put my name in the history books. Couldn’t have done it without my brothers!”

At 68 seconds, Davies’s goal on Sunday against Croatia ranks as the fastest in a group stage match at the World Cup since American Clint Dempsey scored after 29 seconds against Ghana in 2014. (Alex Grimm/Getty Images)

While Davies has spoken to FIFA TV and rights-holders like TSN, Canada Soccer has not made the 22-year-old from Edmonton available to the travelling Canadian media since Davies arrived in Doha on Nov. 18.

The goal by Davies was his 13th for Canada, the first by header. Davies’s left foot accounted for 11 of his Canadian goals. A 12th came off his body.

Johnston believes Davies may use his head more often in the future.

“He’s the best athlete arguably in world football. He’s unbelievable. There’s no reason why he can’t be dominant [in the air]. You saw what he did. He put that [Croatian defender] on a poster, unfortunately for him.

“Fonzie has that ability, And I think he’d like to add that to his repertoire. You put in crosses like that, it’s an invitation to go head the ball.”

Midfielder Ismael Kone, the only other Canadian player to speak to the media on Monday, wasn’t so sure.

“Fonzie? I don’t think so,” he said.

The 41st-ranked Canadians, the second team to be eliminated from the tournament after host Qatar, wrap up play Thursday against No. 22 Morocco at 10 a.m. ET.

 

Watch as Andi Petrillo and guests take a look at the Canada vs. Croatia game at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

Having drawn kudos for its bright, energetic performance in a 1-0 loss to No. 2 Belgium and scored against Croatia, the Canadians are now looking to get a result against Morocco.

Losing at the World Cup is getting old. And having to wait another four years for a chance to get in the win column is no fun.

According to Opta, Canada is the third team to lose its first five World Cup matches, joining Mexico (which lost its first nine) and El Salvador (lost six).

Head coach John Herdman, who riled Croatia with his fiery words to his team in the wake of the Belgium loss, apparently was more restrained when he gathered the players for a post-game huddle Sunday night.

“It was a little different that the post-match huddle against Belgium,” Johnston said with a smile. “There was no quotes that are going to go all over the world.”

The message was put the game behind you, learn from your mistakes and focus on Morocco.

“We’ve made a ton of people very proud back home and we need to continue to keep our head held high and play for them,” said Johnston. “Because that’s what this World Cup is about. It’s about showing your country in the best light to the rest of the world.”

There was more to celebrate Monday for the players as friends and family visited the Canadian training centre.

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FIFA World Cup 2022 Qatar Brazil beats Switzerland to advance Casemiro

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DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Struggling and unconvincing without Neymar on the field, Brazil still played well enough to secure a spot in the next round of the World Cup.

The five-time champions overcame the absence of their injured star to beat Switzerland 1-0 with a late goal Monday and make it to the round of 16 with a match to spare in Group G.

“Of course we miss a player like Neymar,” Brazil coach Tite said. “The team loses a lot without him. But we also have other players who can get the job done, as we saw it today.”

Casemiro got the only goal in the 83rd minute of a game in which Brazil had difficulties creating scoring chances without its main playmaker. The defensive midfielder scored with a one-timer into the far corner, using the outside of his right foot for a shot that deflected slightly off defender Manuel Akanji.

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“We knew that it wasn’t going to be easy. We had to be patient,” Casemiro said. “Out first objective was to advance and we achieved that.”

Neymar stayed at the team’s hotel to treat a right ankle injury sustained in the opener in Qatar. He posted an Instagram story showing him watching the match on television while undergoing treatment on his foot.

“Casemiro has been the best defensive midfielder in the world for a long time,” Neymar wrote on Twitter.

Team doctors have not yet given a timetable for Neymar’s return — or said if he will return at all. Vinícius Júnior said Neymar also had a fever on Monday, though the team had not officially said anything about it.

“We know that Neymar is a great player and that he makes a difference,” Brazil defender Marquinhos said. “In difficult moments he takes on the responsibility and creates the opportunities, but we showed once again that we have quality players to make up for his absence.”

The win gave Brazil six points from two matches, leaving Switzerland with three. Serbia and Cameroon, which drew 3-3 earlier Monday, have one point each.

Switzerland, which had no attempts on target, needs a win in the last match against Serbia to guarantee its spot in the next stage. A draw may be enough depending on the match between Brazil and Cameroon.

The result extended Brazil’s unbeaten run in the group stage to 17 matches, with 14 wins and three draws. It has lost only one of its last 29 group games, with the last defeat coming against Norway in 1998 in France.

Switzerland had lost only two of its last 13 group matches at the World Cup.

“I can’t really blame the team, it did a good job for quite some time,” Switzerland coach Murat Yakin said through a translator. “I don’t think it’s a disappointment. We have a lot of good takeaways here. The next game is something we have control over.”

It was an even match early on, with both teams trying to control the game but not creating many significant chances. Without Neymar, Brazil struggled to get near Switzerland’s area until Casemiro’s goal. The assists came from Vinícius Junios and Rodrygo, the Real Madrid players who until recent had Casemiro as their teammate. Casemiro now plays for Manchester United.

Tite replaced Neymar with Fred, Casemiro’s teammate at Man United, freeing up Lucas Paquetá to play closer to the attack. Éder Militão, who plays as a central defender at Real Madrid, came in for Danilo in the right back position, instead of veteran Dani Alves.

With Paquetá not being able to create much for Brazil, Tite began the second half with Rodrygo in the team. Richarlison, who scored both of Brazil’s goals in the opener, was not as effective and was substituted in the second half.

Vinícius Júnior thought he had given Brazil the lead with a shot from inside the area after a pass by Casemiro in the 64th, but video review determined there was offside in the buildup. Few had noticed it until the VAR call was announced at Stadium 974.

LIGHTS OUT

The lights dimmed for a few seconds before halftime at Stadium 974, prompting a brief stoppage in play. Brazil was about to take a corner when it suddenly started turning dark at the temporary stadium.

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Tales Azzoni on Twitter: http://twitter.com/tazzoni

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World Cup 2022: Croatian coach criticizes John Herdman for avoiding handshake

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Zlatko Dalić said Canada head coach John Herdman must “learn some things” after he seemingly avoided shaking hands with the Croatian coach following a 4-1 loss on Sunday. (Getty Images)

After shocking the world with a masterful display in their first World Cup game since 1986, the Canadian men’s national team were emphatically humbled in their second match against Croatia. The 4-1 loss not only eliminated them from contention with a game to spare, but served as a reminder to respect the success and caliber of their opponents.

During his post-match comments following the game against Belgium, head coach John Herdman claimed they would go on to “F Croatia.” As runners-up in the 2018 World Cup, the Croatian side unsurprisingly took umbrage to a comment like that, letting it serve as motivation as they dispatched Canada comfortably.

At full-time, John Herdman was nowhere to be seen, heading straight down the tunnel without shaking hands with Croatian head coach Zlatko Dalic.

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“He wasn’t there and that’s his way of doing things. He’s obviously mad. He is a good coach, he is a high-quality professional, but it will take some time for him to learn some things,” said Dalic. “Whether I lose or win, I always congratulate the other head coach.”

While Alphonso Davies opened the scoring just 68 seconds in, it would all go downhill from there. Croatia’s midfield trio of Luka Modrić, Marcelo Brozović, and Mateo Kovačić sliced through Canada with ease, creating chances every time they touched the ball, and enabling the four unanswered goals that led them to victory.

The Croatian boss wasn’t the only one to remind Canada to watch their comments next time around. Andrej Kramarić — who scored a brace in a Man of the Match performance — thanked Herdman for the extra boost in motivation, adding that “In the end, Croatia demonstrated who eff’d whom.”

After scoring their first-ever goal at a men’s World Cup, Canada will now look to take their first points in the tournament as a potential spoiler when they face off against Morocco on Thursday.

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