Home USA News Herdman’s inspirational World Cup effort provokes Croatia

Herdman’s inspirational World Cup effort provokes Croatia

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DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Canada had just lost its first World Cup match in 36 years, beating Belgium 1-0, and an emotional John Herdman revealed in an on-field interview what he had just said to his players during the post-match meetings.

“I told them they belong here. And we’re going to Croatia,” the coach said with a smile, using one letter to avoid profanity on television. “It’s as simple as it gets.”

His words echoed all the way to Zagreb as Sunday’s Croatia-Canada game approached.

Croatian tabloid 24 Sata (24 Hours) ran a full-page photo of a naked Shepherd with maple leaf flags over his mouth and private parts, with a headline that translates to: “You have a mouth, but do you have (guts) too?” »

“You say those things in the heat of the moment, trying to inspire your team to have a conversation, and if they ask you what you said in that conversation, yes, that’s what I said,” Herdman explained the next day.

“It does not show much respect for the Croatian people and the Croatian national team. I understand very well where they stand on the world stage. But at that point you moved your people to the next place,” he added.

Canada could be eliminated with another loss.

Croatia, who lost the 2018 final to France, are the 12th-ranked team in the world and started the game with Morocco 0-0. Star Luka Modric, playing in what is likely to be his last World Cup at the age of 37, fired over the bar in the first half.

Canada has played just four World Cup games in its history and is still looking for its first goal. The Canadians outshot the Belgians 21-9, but gave up Micha Batshuayi’s long pass goal on the counterattack in the 44th minute. Alphonso Davies had a chance to give Canada the lead in the 11th minute, but his penalty shot was saved by goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois.

“We know exactly what our slingshot is and we have to be ready to attack that in different games because, like I said, Canada doesn’t cover,” Herdman said. “I think people come into this game, the next games respect us a little bit more.”

Captain Atiba Hutchinson, at 39 the only member of the current roster left alive when Canada went 0-3 at the 1986 World Cup, could make his 100th international appearance on Sunday with Julian de Guzman second place out of 89.

Midfielder Jonathan Osorio is looking forward to meeting last year’s World Cup champions and runners-up.

“We like to play in the best possible way,” he said after the match against Belgium. “We are excited to take on this challenge.”

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AP World Cup coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/world-cup and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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