Despite Canada’s ability to control much of the game against a formidable opponent, it was the missed chances that stung most.
Canada suffered a 2-0 loss at the hands of No. 13 Uruguay in its second last friendly before heading to Qatar for the World Cup. The 43rd-ranked Canadians dominated possession and outshot their opponents but were unable to capitalize on several occasions.
“Disappointed. I just spoke with the lads. [I] let them know that when you have that type of opportunity in a game, you got to take the chances, you got to win football matches and there’s not going to be any special award for losing games where you have a chance to win them,” head coach John Herdman said post-match.
“You lose games like that, you’re going to drop out of the World Cup pretty quickly and go home. I’m happy with elements of the performance, don’t get us wrong. We’re a real team and we’ve got to take those moments.”
Canada was coming off a 2-0 win over the World Cup hosts last week.
Although Canada dominated possession (59-41 in the first half, 55-45 overall), it was Uruguay that set the tone early making the most of its opportunities.
WATCH | Canadian men fail to convert chances in World Cup tune-up:
Nicolas De La Cruz scored on a free kick from the left side just outside of the box in the sixth minute, putting by the near-side post as goalkeeper Milan Borjan could not get enough on the ball to stop it.
Following a close miss on a volley shot from a Luis Suarez cross five minutes earlier, Liverpool star Darwin Nunez made up for it with a header goal in the 33rd minute off a cross from Suarez to double the score.
There’s moments I thought we could have crossed the ball and we wanted the extra touch … and there’s moments where we could have pulled the trigger and it’s an extra pass.— Canada head coach John Herdman
“The goal from Suarez to Nunes, I mean, it’s just two top top, top, top level players where that’s what they do. They got a few chances and they took them,” Herdman said.
The Canadians on the other hand, had trouble scoring on legitimate chances. Canada outshot Uruguay 11-6 (3-2 on target) and took seven corner kicks to zero for Uruguay.
Larin denied early on
“I know I’ve got top level players as well. We’ve got to take our chances,” Herdman said. “There’s moments I thought we could have crossed the ball and we wanted that extra touch and there’s people waiting and there’s moments where we could have pulled the trigger and it’s an extra pass. We’ll grow through this.”
Alistair Johnston missed on a header from a cross sent by Alphonso Davies in the 12th minute. A dozen minutes later, Cyle Larin found an opening, taking a pass from Davies, but his left-footed shot was saved.
In the 39th minute, Davies drew the attention of multiple defenders outside of the box before sliding a pass to an open Larin inside the box. With the ball bouncing in front of the Brampton, Ont., native, he had his shot blocked after attempting to get it set properly.
Larin missed again one minute later on a header following a cross from Samuel Adekugbe. In the 41st minute, Davies once again pulled the eyes of multiple Uruguay defenders and sliced a through ball to send a streaking Jonathan David into the box but his shot was stopped.
Getting into Uruguay’s zone following a giveaway, Davies corralled the ball after a Canada cross was knocked away and found David driving towards the box. David turned around and shot from just inside the box but Sergio Rochet saved it leading to a corner.
After Davies’ corner was cleared out of bounds, Uruguay handed the Canadians a free kick with a foul in the 64th. Stephen Eustaquio sent a pretty cross into the box, but Kamal Miller headed the ball just over the net.
Twenty-one minutes later, Davies took a pass from Tajon Buchanan but had his shot blocked from outside of the box. In the 91st minute, he was high and wide on a shot from outside of the box. Junior Hoilett had the final chance but also went above the net in stoppage time.
“Normally, we’re used to our players just finishing these types of plays, right? Now it kind of was the opposite. On a normal day, I know [David], [Davies] can finish those balls. I just want to think they’re going to save it for Qatar,” said Eustaquio after the match. “We lost 2-0, but it’s a test. Qatar (is) in two months and I think we’ll be ready.”
“It’s another level. You can’t switch off the whole game. I just felt like it was two moments that cost us the game but throughout the game, I thought we were brilliant,” Miller added. “Second half, I felt like we dominated, kept them out of our box. It’s just those critical moments that are going to win or lose you critical football matches.
“The back line room plus Milan are going to look at the performance and see what we have to fix so we don’t feel like this again.”
Canada entered the game having defeated No. 48 Qatar 2-0 last week. The national team plays its final World Cup tune-up match on Nov. 17 against 24th-ranked Japan before taking the pitch Nov. 23 against Belgium in World Cup action.
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Croatian coach feels disrespected by Canadian coach's comment at FIFA World Cup – Toronto Sun
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DOHA, Qatar — Croatia head coach Zlatko Dalic said he felt disrespected by Canada head coach John Herdman for his comment in a group huddle following a loss to Belgium on Wednesday.
After the emotional 1-0 loss at the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium, Herdman gathered his troops on the field and gave an impassioned speech.
When asked following the game what he told his team, Herdman admitted he told his group to ‘F’ Croatia, in reference to Canada’s second game at the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
On the eve of the game Sunday (11 a.m. ET) at the Khalifa International Stadium, Croatian coach Zlatko Zlatko Dalic was again asked about the comment at the pre-match press conference here on Saturday.
“Canadians must have respect for us and this way of putting words together is not a sign of respect,” Dalic said through an interpreter. “We are the runners up (2018 World Cup), it wasn’t Brazil or Spain or any other country. We are the runners up, we were second in the world, we are worth of respect the way we played, the way we behave, the way we respect all others, is the reason we are worthy or respect.
“I shall not focus or comment on other people’s comment. We will be prepared, be fit and we will demonstrate respect from Canada and from everyone else. We expect respect just as we exercise this view.”
Croatia was a surprising World Cup finalist four years ago in Russia, beating England in the semifinal before losing to France. Along the way, Croatia also beat Argentina in the group stage.
Croatia was held to a scoreless draw in its opening match by Morocco on Wednesday. Croatia concluded the group stage against Belgium on Thursday.
“The Croatia team deserves respect from everyone; we have proven that by the way we’ve played with our conduct at the World Cup; since the very beginning we’ve deserved respect and dignity,” Dalic said. “We have two (World Cup) medals in the last 30 years and we’re up there with Germany and France and countries like that have such an achievement. We respect everyone equally so we expect our opposing teams to respect us. We are worth of their respect.”
Croatia striker Ivan Perisic was also asked for his thoughts on Herdman’s comments.
“I second the head coach,” he said. “And I cannot wait for the match to begin.”
Canada coach Herdman jokes about Croatian tabloid – CTV News
DOHA, Qatar –
Canada had just lost its first World Cup match in 36 years, outplaying Belgium for much of a 1-0 defeat, and an emotional John Herdman revealed in the on-field interview what he had just told his players during a postgame huddle.
“I told them they belong here. And we’re going to go and F Croatia,” the coach said with a smile, using a single letter to avoid a televised profanity. “That’s as simple as it gets.”
His words reveberated all the way to Zagreb as Sunday’s Croatia-Canada game approached.
Croatia’s 24 Sata (24 Hours) tabloid ran a fullpage photo of a naked Herdman with Maple Leaf flags over his mouth and private parts and a headline that translated to: “You have the mouth, but do you have the (guts) as well?”
Commenting Saturday on Herdman’s words, Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic used the word “respect” 13 times in a 90-second span.
“This way of putting words together is not a sign of respect,” he said through a translator. “The way we play, the way we behave and the way we respect all others are the reasons we are worthy of respect.”
Sitting next to Dalic, winger Ivan Perisic said simply: “I second the head coach and I cannot wait for the match to begin.”
Speaking before Dalic, Herdman used humour in an attempt to defuse tensions.
“When you get a text from your wife telling me you need to start working out before you get home, yeah, you think you know something’s going on,” Herdman said, noting the newspaper image was of a trimmer midsection than his own.
“My wife’s coming after you guys,” he told a reporter from that Croatian paper, laughing. “She wishes she got that guy. I’ve got a bit more of a belly than that. I’ve been eating too much.”
On Thursday, Herdman had explained what his intent was.
“You say those things in an impassioned moment trying to inspire your team in a huddle, and when you’re asked the question what you said in that huddle, yeah, it was what I said,” he said.
“It’s not massively respectful to Croatian people and the Croatian national team. I understand very well where they’re at on the world stage. But in that moment, you’ve taken your men to that next place,” he added.
Playing Croatia for the first time, Canada could be eliminated with another defeat.
Croatia, which lost the 2018 final to France, is the world’s 12th-ranked team and opened with a 0-0 draw against Morocco. Star Luka Modric, playing what is likely his last World Cup at age 37, put a first-half shot over the crossbar.
Canada has played just four World Cup games in its history and still is searching for its first goal. The Canadians outshot the Belgians 21-9 but gave up a 44th-minute goal to Michy Batshuayi from a long pass. Alphonso Davies had a chance to put Canada ahead in the 11th minute but his penalty kick was saved by goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois.
“We know exactly what our slingshot is and we’ve got to be ready to attack that across different games now because, as I say, the cover’s off from Canada,” Herdman said. “I think people come into this game, the next games respecting us a little bit more.”
Captain Atiba Hutchinson, at 39 the only member of the current roster alive when Canada went 0-3 at the 1986 World Cup, can make his 100th international appearance Sunday — Julian de Guzman is second with 89.
Midfielder Jonathan Osorio is looking forward to facing the last World Cup’s runner-up.
“We like to play the best,” he said after the Belgium match. “We’re excited for the challenge.”
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