BET À DAY
DOHA, Qatar | Canada come away from Qatar with three losses, a wealth of experience, newly earned respect and the feeling that they could have done better.
Certainly, the team exceeded the 1986 edition which had been shut out in each of its three games. This will have scored a goal, that of Alphonso Davies against Croatia. Facing Morocco? It was an own goal following a deflection off a defender.
Only one other team will have accumulated three defeats before packing up for this World Cup. Come on, we're giving you a chance. You know that, right? Qatar, the worst host country in history in terms of results.
Admit that this is not the kind of company you want to have when you showed up at a tournament like best team resulting from the qualifications of its confederation.
In their last appearance in front of the media on Thursday night, the Canadian players spoke a lot about pride and learning.
When you want to be honest, we knew in advance that this was what came here to get experience, with a view to the 2026 World Cup, which will be partially presented in Canada.
But we got caught up in the game and we started to have expectations. It's normal, this team had almost flew over the competition during the CONCACAF qualifications. She was inspiring, young, fiery and beautiful to watch.
And above all, she scored goals, lots of goals, and she didn't concede many.
But this defense that did a job more than honest in our regions was not cut out for the world elite.
Steven Vitoria was too slow, while Kamal Miller and Alistair Johnston lacked a bit of experience to deal with this clientele . But it's okay, it's the job that comes in and it will be precious in four years.
In midfield, besides Stephen Esutaquio, it was slim. The Canadians lost the middle battle for 90 min against Croatia, they were better against Belgium and they struggled in the first half against Morocco, until the Moroccans parked the bus and gave up the fight in the middle.
We even deprived ourselves of the services of Samuel Piette, who would have been useful to stabilize the defensive aspect of the middle.
And that terrific explosive attack. It was a wet squib in Qatar. Too feverish, wanting to do too much too quickly, the Canadian forwards squandered every chance they created for themselves, and they did.
And poor Jonathan David was virtually invisible, which is not his habit. But we have the beginning of an explanation in the following paragraphs.
Alphonso Davies is an exceptional player, a thoroughbred , but it has to be handled well and John Herdman has failed.
He gave her the keys to the house and the 22-year-old prodigy did whatever he wanted, which was too much, as very gifted young people tend to do.
He took a penalty shot against Belgium, when he should have left the ball to a teammate who had more under his tie. It was only his third career, the first against an elite goaltender.
Herdman has mainly used him as a striker, while Davies normally plays as a left-back in Munich. This was also the case in qualifying.
Positioning him so high on the pitch opened the door to excess. He multiplied the excessively long possession sequences where he lost the ball while trying to dribble half of the opposing team. We also lost his explosion that makes him so threatening in the hallway.
Speaking of Herdman, he hasn't had a good tournament. In terms of tactical choices, he was unworthy and did not always make the right decisions during his substitutions.
He especially made a huge mistake with a shocking declaration against the Croatia, which served as motivation for the opponent who ran over him four days later.
Players have been raving about Herdman's motivational skills. He now has four years to show us he can be a good tactician too.
He is under contract with Canada Soccer until 2026 and has said he wants to stay in the job until the next World Cup to play it at home.
Frankly, there does not seem to be a better candidate at the moment and he will have to be retained if he were to decide to listen to the siren song which emanates from his mother country, England, where clubs have an interest in him.
But like his players, Herdman will have to make progress in order to demonstrate that he can hold his own on the biggest stage in the world.