Canada could be dealt a major blow for their World Cup group opener against Belgium on Wednesday as left wing back Alphonso Davies is set to miss the game through injury.

It would be huge setback for the North American side when they take the field in what is deemed as the biggest game in their history. This is the first time that Canada have qualified for the World Cup since 1986.

Bayern Munich Help Davies Recuperate

Davies picked up a hamstring strain in the first week of November which left him out Bayern Munich’s next two league games in the Bundesliga. The 22-year-old arrived in Qatar on Friday, staying in Munich longer than other European players to recover from his injury.

Canada head coach John Herdman acknowledged that Bayern have done everything possible to get Davies get back in shape, but the youngster is yet to hit top sprinting speeds in training. Even though Davies would miss the clash against Belgium, he is expected to be fit for the other group games against Croatia and Morocco.

Herdman later said, “There’s been a really steady process. This is three games we’ve got to get him ready for. If he’s not ready for the first one, we don’t want to risk it. It’s one of those situations. The handover has been positive.”

Despite his age, Davies is arguably the biggest name in the 26-man-squad for the World Cup. The youngster did train with his teammates on Saturday that was open to the media, participating in physical activation and stretches.

The Canadians secured a 2-1 comeback win over Japan in their last friendly before the tournament in Dubai thanks a stoppage time penalty from substitute Lucas Cavallini.

How will Canada line up without Davies

Against Japan, Herdman names a 4-4-2 setup. The idea from the 47-year-old was loud and clear; keep shape, maintain structure and spring to offensive transitions after regaining possession.

Had Davies been available, Herdman could have setup his team on a 3-4-3, with the Bayern man, taking advantage of his raw pace against an ageing Belgium backline. However, Herdman is expected to adapt to the situation in hoping to get a positive result against Belgium.

Junior Hoilett is expected to take Davies’ role on the left put up a man of the match performance against Japan. The Reading midfielder threatened on counter attacks and set pieces deliveries, setting up Steven Vitoria’s equalizer in the 21st minute. the 32-year-old’s trickery will be paramount to Canada’s chances against Belgium while his defending off the ball will be tested as the European side is expected to have the lion share of the possession.  

Herdman’s side need to defend well as a unit and have to plug the weakness in the air should Canada have to get something from the game. At times against Japan, they were at sea in the air and with the likes of a tall Belgium lineup pitted against, the signs could be ominous.  

Photo credit: IMAGO / PA Images

Guide to World Cup 2022

Here are some resources to help you get the most out of the biggest event in soccer!
TV Schedule: All the info on where and when to watch every game
The Groups: We breakdown each group and all the teams
The Kits: Check out what every team will be wearing on the field this fall
Predictor: Play out every scenario with our World Cup Predictor
World Cup Bracket: Map out the entire tournament, from the groups to the final