AL-RAYAN, Qatar — Canada was knocked out of the World Cup after losing 4-1 to Croatia at Khalifa International Stadium on Sunday.
– Report: Croatia 4-1 Canada | News & Features | World Cup schedule
Bayern star Alphonso Davies scored Canada’s first World Cup goal after just 67 seconds, but Croatia staged an impressive comeback thanks to two goals from Andrej Kramaric, another from Marco Livaga and a late fourth from Lovro Mager to sit top of Group F with one round to spare. of the remaining games to play. Croatia will seek to reserve first place when it faces Morocco, while Canada will withdraw after its match against Belgium.
1. Canada scores first World Cup goal, but they go home early
It started well for Canada when Davies scored his first-ever World Cup men’s national team goal after just 67 seconds, but after they were gradually picked off by Croatia, they went home early.
Canada is entertaining and meets two good teams in Belgium and Croatia for extended periods, yet they also looked like a team playing in a World Cup for the first time since 1986. It takes time to get used to this level. After failing to score in their only previous World Cup appearance in Mexico 1986, Davies sent the Canadian crowd into their corner of Khalifa International Stadium with the fastest goal of the tournament so far, heading in a perfect cross from Tajoon Buchanan. .
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By the end of the first half, however, the red shirts were slumped in their seats after goals from Andrej Kramaric and Marko Livaga gave Croatia a 2-1 lead. Introductions by Jonathan Osorio and Ismael Kony at the break gave Canada a fresh boost, but when Kramarek took second at 70 minutes, they knew they could start packing their bags. A fourth goal in the second half from substitute Lovro Madjer added insult to injury.
Canada will return in 2026 as co-hosts, of course, while seasoned Croatia heartthrobs from Luka Modric, Dejan Lovren and Ivan Perisic will plot one last unexpected tour.
2. Croatia returns to its usual role in the tournament
Despite their impressive run to the 2018 World Cup final, no one really knew what to expect from Croatia in Qatar, but maybe that’s exactly what they like. They are a team caught between an aging golden generation – led by Modric – and a wave of new talent such as RB Leipzig’s 20-year-old centre-back Josko Gvardiol, and have produced some inconsistent performances.
They proved they could still take on anyone after a 1-0 win over France in Paris in June, but were poor against Morocco in their opening group match and opened easily against Canada with Davies’ early goal. Even as they reached the final in 2018, they needed penalties to beat Denmark and Russia in the knockout stages.
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But even with their obvious shortcomings as a team – especially at the back – they know exactly what it takes to advance in the big leagues, and if they escape the sixth set, no one will want to face them in the last 16. Their run in Russia was about finding a way to succeed, and it may be the same in Qatar. You have been warned.
3. A disappointment for Canada, but a valuable experience before 2026
Canada were the better team against Belgium in their opening match and were all over Croatia in the first 20 minutes here, and while John Herdman’s side won plenty of fans, they finished last in Group F with two defeats from two matches.
In some respects, it is remarkable that they managed it at all after being ranked 122nd by FIFA so soon after the 2014 World Cup. But they learned some valuable lessons ahead of 2026 when they share hosting duties with the United States and Mexico. In Davies and David in particular, they have players of talent and ability, but to thrive at that level you also need the experience and intelligence to manage key moments in a game, which they may have been missing during this World Cup campaign.
Croatia did well to minimize the damage when Canada was on top early on, but when it was Croatia’s turn to take a swing, Canada conceded twice in the final ten minutes of the first half. Had Canada been able to slow things down and make it a 1-1 halftime tie, it might have been a different story.
Croatia: Dominic Levakovic 6; Josip Juranović 5, Dejan Lovren 6, Josko Gvardiol 7, Borna Sosa 6; Luka Modric 7, Marcelo Brozovic 6, Mateo Kovacic 8; Andrej Kramaric 8, Marko Livaga 7, Ivan Perisic 7.
Submarines: Bruno Petkovic 6, Nikola Vlasic 6, Mario Pasalic 6, Mislav Orsic 6, Lovro Mager 6.
Canada: Milan Borgan 8, Alistair Johnston 6, Stephen Vittoria 6, Kamal Miller 5, Richie Laria 6; Tajon Buchanan 7, Atiba Hutchinson 5, Stephen Eustaquio 6, Alphonso Davies 7; Jonathan David 6, Kyle Lahren 6.
Submarines: Jonathan Osorio 6, Ismael Kony 6, Junior Howlett 6, Lucas Cavallini 6, Samuel Adekogbe 6.
The best and worst performers
Best: Milan Borgan, Canada
The veteran Canadian goaltender made a series of volleys to keep the score down.
Worst: Josip Juranović from Croatia
Davies was out completely on Canada’s opening goal and was lucky to escape with another nasty miss shortly thereafter.
Highlights and notable moments
While the result wasn’t what Canada fans wanted, Davies’ first goal for the men’s national team at the World Cup was certainly a treat.
Canada scored their first goal in the FIFA World Cup 🇨🇦 pic.twitter.com/aF2CBvGUFz
– FOX Soccer (FOX Soccer) November 27, 2022
Judging by the celebrations in Vancouver, where Davies first began his professional football journey, they enjoyed it as much as he did.
– Vancouver Whitecaps (WhitecapsFC) November 27, 2022
After the match: What the players and managers said
Quotes to follow…
Key stats (courtesy of ESPN Stats & Info)
Alphonso Davies: His goal after one minute and seven seconds was the fastest goal of his career across all competitions. His fastest time was 4:08 in 2017 with Vancouver vs. New York Red Bull.
Croatia have never lost in a World Cup when they were leading in the first half (5-0-0).
Andrej Kramaric joins Mario Mandzukic (2014 group stage v Cameroon) as the only Croatian player to appear in multiple World Cup matches.
Ivan Perisic is the first Croatian player to assist twice in a single World Cup match.
Croatia: The leaders of Group F face Belgium in the next match at Ahmed Bin Ali Stadium, in a match that may see either team advance or be eliminated, depending on the result.
Canada: After confirming their World Cup exit on Sunday, they are playing for pride – and hopefully with a few more goals – against Morocco on Thursday at El Thumama Stadium.