DOHA ( Associated Press) — Canada lost its first World Cup match in 36 years 1-0, knocking Belgium out of much of the game, and an emotional John Herdman revealed in an on-field interview that his What was coming near Rondo told his players after the final whistle.
“I told them your place is here. And that we’re going ‘J’ to Croatia”, the coach said with a smile, using the initials to avoid uttering a profanity. “It’s that simple.”
His words echoed through Zagreb as they played against Croatia on Sunday.
Croatian tabloid 24 Sata (24 Hours) published a full-page photo of Herdman naked, with a Canadian flag covering her mouth and private parts, and a headline reading “You have a mouth, but do you have ( Dare) too?”
“Those things are said in an emotional moment trying to inspire your team in Rondo, and when they ask you what you said there, yes, that’s what I said,” Herdman explained the next day.
“He doesn’t have a lot of respect for the Croatian people and the team. I understand very well where they are on the world stage. But at that point, you have to take your men to the next game.”
If they suffer another loss, Canada could be eliminated.
Croatia, who lost the 2018 final to France, are ranked 12th in the FIFA rankings and began their run in Qatar with a goalless draw against Morocco. Its star, Luka Modric, playing his last World Cup at the age of 37, hit the crossbar in the first half.
Canada has only played four World Cup games in its history and still has a zero score. Canada outshot the Belgians 21–9, but conceded a goal in the 44th minute from Michy Batshuayi after a long ball on the counter. Alphonso Davies put Canada ahead after 11 minutes, but goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois saved the penalty.
Canada captain Atiba Hutchinson, 39, was the only member of the squad already born when Canada suffered three losses in Mexico in 1986 and could be playing his 100th cap on Sunday.