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Back on Nov. 5, every Canadian soccer fan held their breath when Alphonso Davies pulled up with an apparent hamstring injury just past the hour mark of his game with German side Bayern Munich.
Davies has been an essential part of Canada’s qualification for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar — their first time at the tournament since 1986 — and his potential absence would leave an irreplaceable hole on the left flank. To everyone’s relief, Bayern released a statement the very next day with an optimistic view of Davies’ recovery.
For those familiar with Davies’s injury history, this was unsurprising albeit worrying news as the full-back has missed several games over the past two seasons with muscle injuries, but has always managed to bounce back quickly.
With his recovery on a deadline, Canadian national team head coach John Herdman cast doubt on Davies’ ability to be 100 percent fit for the opening game, saying he would rather rest and save him for the two finals games of the group stage. Ever the competitor, Davies has been adamant that he is ready to feature in arguably the three biggest games in Canadian men’s soccer history.
“I’m still in recovery and I’m still trying to heal but it’s going well,” Davies told TSN’s James Duthie. “But I definitely think I can start and play the first game."
Davies wasn’t just important to Canada’s qualification for the World Cup, he was indispensable. Over the 13 games he took part in, the four-time Bundesliga champion notched five goals and added eight assists, including an iconic winning goal against Panama, where he ran the length of the field to steal the ball before cooly slotting it into the bottom corner.
Davies isn’t the only starter who has picked up an injury snag, with midfielder Stephen Eustáquio and goalkeeper Milan Borjan also aiming to recover from their own discomfort before the team kicks off its tournament against Belgium on Nov. 23.
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