Canada can breathe a collective sigh of relief as Alphonso Davies is not expected to miss the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
The Canadian soccer star, who plays with Bayern Munich in Germany, sustained a hamstring injury Saturday in a 3-2 win at Hertha Berlin.
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According to Bayern Munich on Sunday, Davies sustained a hamstring strain and will miss the final two league games prior to the winter break, but should be healthy for the World Cup.
“The diagnosis was confirmed by the German record champions’ medical unit,” the club said Sunday. “The Canada international’s participation in the World Cup in Qatar is not at risk.”
Davies, 22, was injured nearly 20 minutes into the second half of the German Bundesliga game in Berlin. He appeared to sustain the injury after lunging at Hertha Berlin striker Marco Richter in an attempt to win the ball. Davies pulled up and grabbed the back of his right leg and had to be helped off the field.
Canada head coach John Herdman has until Nov. 13 to name his 26-player World Cup roster. Changes can be made up to 24 hours before Canada’s first game if a player is injured after being named to the team.
“I’ve got 26 players in mind, there is a group of staff that have been working diligently over the last four months, compiling all the permutations of what the 26 players might look like and what we need,” Herdman said last week. “But there is a reality check; every single week there are changes. I think we know there are other elements on this rollercoaster we’re going to have to ride on this journey in the next couple of weeks with the amount of games players play.”
Davies has sustained a rash of injuries this past year, and last month was kicked in the head by midfielder Jude Bellingham in a game against Borussia Dortmund. Davies sustained a cranial bruise and was forced to miss Bayern’s UEFA Champions League game against Viktoria Plzen of Czechia.
He returned to play the second half of Bayern’s 2-0 Champions League win against Inter Milan of Italy this past Tuesday.
Bayern host SV Werder Bremen this Tuesday and are away to FC Schalke on Saturday, in their last two games before the break. Davies will miss both as he recovers from his hamstring injury.
“Alphonso looks like he’s really enjoying his football this season,” Herdman said prior to the injury. “He seems to be getting a bit more freedom and it was nice to see Bayern giving him a rest as well. I think that helps, rotating him in the squad so he can go in fresh and excited to play.”
Canada will take part in its first men’s World Cup tournament since 1986, after finishing first in the final round of Concacaf World Cup qualifying ahead of Mexico and the United States.
Davies played in 13 of Canada’s World Cup qualifiers, scoring four goals and setting up eight others. He missed six games due to injury, including the clinching victory against Jamaica at BMO Field in March.
Last winter, Davies was diagnosed with myocarditis after contracting COVID-19 and didn’t get back on the field until April.
Canada was drawn into Group F at the World Cup along with Belgium, Croatia, and Morocco. They open the 32-team tournament on Nov. 23 against Belgium at the Ahmad bin Ali Stadium in Al Rayyan, Qatar. Canada will then face Croatia at the Khalifa International Stadium in Al Rayyan and conclude group play against Morocco at the Al Thumama Stadium in Doha, Qatar.
The top two teams in the group move on to the next round of the tournament. In Canada’s previous appearance at the World Cup in 1986, they lost all three group games and failed to score a goal.
Canada will play an exhibition game on Friday against Bahrain in Isa Town, Bahrain. The Canadian roster will feature mostly players based in Major League Soccer in North America.
The MLS season concluded on Saturday with LAFC defeating Philadelphia Union in a penalty shootout after the teams finished in a 3-3 tie.
Canadian goaltender Maxime Crepeau broke his leg in the contest and will miss the World Cup. Canada’s No. 2 goalkeeper behind Milan Borjan was injured in the 110th minute of the game, which went into extra time, on a rash challenge on Philadelphia forward Cory Burke.
Crepeau raced out of his net after an ill-advised back pass by defender Sebastien Ibeagha was not hit with enough pace, allowing Burke to race on to it. Crepeau stuck out his right leg and tripped Burke, breaking it in the process.
Crepeau was initially shown a yellow card, but it was changed to a straight red after a video review and sent off. He had to be carted off the field and taken to hospital, where he was later presented his championship medal.
Crepeau played in five qualifying games for Canada and was expected to be named to the roster for the World Cup. He had been named to the team for the exhibition game against Bahrain.
Without Crepeau, Dayne St. Clair who plays with Minnesota, James Pantemis of CF Montreal and Jayson Leutwiler of Oldham Athletic will be vying to backup Borjan.
Canada will play a second exhibition game against Japan in Dubai, UAE on Nov. 17.
Defender Scott Kennedy was ruled out last week after injuring his shoulder in a game with his German second division team SSV Jahn Regensburg.
“We looked at every angle at trying to bring him into the World Cup squad and getting him back, but that type of injury; there is no way back for Scott, unfortunately,” Herman said. “He was devastated and he’s going to be a big loss. For anyone that knows Scott, he’s a good human being and he has great character and always seems to contribute in a quiet way and is very, very reliable on the field.”
On Twitter: @DerekVanDiest