VAN DIEST: Canada to compete at Gold Cup without Alphonso Davies

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Winger Alphonso Davies sustained an ankle injury in training and will miss the continental tournament, which begins for Canada against Martinique on Sunday

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Canada is in it to win it at the CONCACAF Gold Cup, but will have to do it without its most dynamic player.


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Winger Alphonso Davies sustained an ankle injury in training and will miss the continental tournament, which begins for Canada against Martinique on Sunday (6:30 p.m. ET, OneSoccer) at Children’s Mercy Park in Kansas City.

“It was very innocuous he was in a small-sided game and he rode a tackle and he was kind of walking backwards complaining about the physicality or something that happened, and as he was walking backwards, he went over on his ankle,” said Canada head coach John Herdman on Saturday. “It was just a bit of a twist. Obviously with those things, sometimes it can be a while and sometimes it’s a quick return.

“Unfortunately, he’ll be a little bit longer than we hoped for the tournament.”

Davies, 20, left the team and returned to Germany according to Canada Soccer. He’ll begin pre-season training with Bayern Munich later this month.


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“For him, he’s got some big priorities; one being September with the World Cup qualification, and two, being back at his club going through an intensive rehabilitation to be back ready for the start of his season,” Herdman said. “It’s disappointing, it really is, particularly the way it happened, but hopefully, it opens the door for somebody else to grab the limelight.”

Canada is in a group with Martinique, the United States and Haiti at the Gold Cup. The top two teams from each of the four groups move on to the quarter-finals of the tournament.

Canada play Haiti on Thursday, and conclude group play against the United States on July 18. The United States elected to send a younger squad to the tournament, leaving out some of its top stars.


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Outside of Davies and Jonathan David, Canada sent a strong team to the Gold Cup, which includes Cyle Larin, Lucas Cavallini, Samuel Piette Liam Fraser, Jonathan Osorio, Alistair Johnston, and Steven Vitoria.

Canada goes into the tournament having recently earned a spot in the final CONCACAF World Cup qualifying group, which begins play in September to determine participants at the 2022 tournament in Qatar.

“We’re confident and we’re well aware of this different moment; we don’t want to get too caught up in what we just achieved,” Vitoria said. “It was nice, but now we turned the page and are focusing on this Gold Cup.”

Two years ago, Canada managed to get into the quarter-finals at the Gold Cup, but then blew a 2-0 lead in a 3-2 loss to Haiti.


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Incidentally, Haiti is the team Canada defeated to move on to the final group in World Cup qualifying for the first time since 1997.

Heading into the year’s tournament, Canada believe they can challenge for the title, even without Davies in the lineup. Canada was drawn in a group with Martinique two years ago as well, where they won 4-0.

“They’re a good team, they’ve strengthened in the right areas,” Herdman said. “They’ve included Emmanuel Riviere, who has Premier League experience and Serie A experience.

“I thought in the last game, certainly they had some good moments against Canada in the first half, against what I would say was a make-shift back four. They had some good opportunities and I think they’ve strengthened in the right areas. We’re going to have to be on our game and take care of that area, and be aware of that threat.”


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Canada have not won the Gold Cup since an unlikely run to the championship in 2000. And while Canada is playing to win it again this year, there is also an eye on the World Cup qualifiers starting in September. Canada host Honduras and El Salvador, while playing an away leg against the United States.

The top three teams after the 14-game round-robin qualifiers move on to the World Cup in Qatar, while the fourth-place team advances to a continental playoff. Canada’s only participation at the World Cup was in 1986 in Mexico.

“The importance of the qualifiers are on a level where you can’t, not think about them,” Herdman said. “As a coach, strategically in the back of your mind, some of the selections coming into this tournament were about that qualifying pathway.

“But the promise to the players here, is that we’re here to compete in the Gold Cup, so that other stuff are things that I have to think about and are in the back of my mind. The players that are here the objective is very clear, and that’s to build on that winning mindset and to grow through this tournament.”



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