Alphonso Davies’ missed free kick could have been the defining second of Canada’s World Cup marketing campaign

Belgium’s goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois saves a penalty kick by Canada’s Alphonso Davies throughout their World Cup Group F match on the Ahmad bin Ali Stadium in Al Rayyan, Qatar on November 23.Nathan Dennett / Canadian Press

When Canada took a penalty kick early within the sport in opposition to Belgium, there was no indication of who would take the penalty kick. Coach John Herdman left that call as much as the gamers.

Captain Atiba Hutchinson sees it in one another’s eyes as two potential candidates, winger Alphonso Davies and ahead Jonathan David.

“I do not suppose that was a dialogue,” Hutchinson mentioned Thursday. “Are you okay with taking it?” Fonzie had the ball in hand. He was clearly prepared for this second.”

Maybe “keen” is a greater phrase than “prepared”.

Canada coach John Herdman’s new technique seems to be making enemies with Croatia forward of Sunday’s sport.

Canada’s loss to No. 2 Belgium was no simple feat. The higher staff misplaced

When he had an opportunity, Davies flicked the ball previous Belgium goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois. It was extra a case of a person hitting the ball than an interception.

Takes free kicks nicely and targets both publish. The proper free kick can be excessive.

Davis’ shot was low, mid-range, and did not hit very nicely. All Courtois needed to do was guess proper, and he did.

Relying on how this event goes for Canada, this could possibly be his defining second.

Did you make the suitable choice?

David is a extra skilled penalty taker. He sank 9 of the 12 he took in his profession. This 75 p.c conversion charge is superb.

(The legendary grasp of the artwork, Cristiano Ronaldo, made 145 and missed 29. That is an 83 p.c success charge.)

Previous to yesterday, Davies had two penalty kicks for Canada in his file profession.

So inexperience gained out (Canada vs. Belgium working theme).

We requested Matt Miller-Dix, a well being and train specialist on the College of Portsmouth, for his ideas. Miller-Dix has carried out educational analysis on soccer penalties.

“Evaluating Alphonso Davis’ penalty kicks relies upon loads on how he takes them,” Miller-Dix mentioned in an e mail.

Davis hasn’t spoken publicly since lacking that shot, so it is laborious to know. Perhaps he was getting new consideration with the penalty kick. Perhaps he did not. If he did train, who’s to say precisely how and underneath what situations?

He additionally took the identical line as Herdman after the sport, emphasizing the opposite facet of the penalty equation.

“Among the best goalkeepers on the earth, Thibaut Courtois, saved a penalty which most likely speaks volumes for the superb goalkeeper he was.”


Miller-Dix noticed one space that wanted enchancment — Davis’ method to the ball. The Canadian ran proper as much as him.

“There doesn’t seem to have been any apparent try and cheat the route of the kick. Analysis exhibits that it’s harder for the goalkeeper to foretell the route of the shot when the penalty taker is dishonest.”

This will likely embody altering the angle of the physique or stumbling steps. Good penalty kickers have the flexibility to lean to 1 facet and shoot to the opposite. Davis did none of this stuff. Earlier than Davies turned the ball like that, Courtois was already going to his proper and his shot seemed to be on the right track.

“If his technique/method has all the time been profitable prior to now, you would not advocate that he change it,” Miller-Dix mentioned.

It is that Davies has no actual expertise taking penalties. There’s nothing he ought to or mustn’t proceed to do.

If Hutchinson’s studying of the state of affairs is right, it appears like a case of Canada’s high participant taking the initiative based mostly on intestine feeling alone.

If Davis may, we would be speaking about his creativeness.

We marvel if he would have been higher off giving the second to a extra skilled teammate as an alternative.

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