Alphonso Davies’ goal against Croatia, Canada’s first at the men’s World Cup, appears to have left a mark in more than the Canada soccer record book.
Chaos ensued in Sunday’s goal celebration.
“When I hit it down and I ran to the corner flag, I looked to my left and I just saw all my teammates running to me,” Davies said Tuesday. “Yes, it was a great feeling. We waited a long time for this moment and it finally came and we were happy.”
“When they all came around me, a lot of players grabbed my jersey, pushed, pushed,” he added. “I had Liam Millar headbutt me at one point, he was so excited. We both looked at each other and started laughing. The moment was truly amazing with these guys.”
Also back home. Not to mention in the stands.
Alphonso Davies’ former school in Edmonton hosts World Cup viewing party
Davies watched his parents at the Khalifa International Stadium, the latest stop on a well-documented journey that saw them flee civil war in Liberia to Ghana, where Davies was born in a refugee camp, before reaching safe haven in Canada found
“After the first game (against Belgium) they told me how proud they were of me and when I scored the goal, my mother screamed a bit when she saw her son coming from a refugee camp, coming to Canada and in the world’s biggest stage,” said Davies.
“My parents are people of few words, they don’t really say too much. But it really showed on their face,” he added.
READ MORE: Alphonso Davies offers his take on Canada’s World Cup defeat to Belgium
The 41st-ranked Canadian turned heads in a narrow 1-0 loss to no. 2, Belgium before Davies 68 seconds against no. 12 Croatia scored, only to see the 2018 tournament runner-up rally with four straight goals for a 4-1 win that sent the Canadians out of contention for the knockout round.
Now they close the tournament on Thursday against no. 22, Morocco.
READ MORE: FIFA World Cup: Canada wants results against Morocco before leaving Qatar
Tuesday was the first time Davies spoke to the media at the Canadian training facility since arriving in Doha on November 18. He did an interview with TSN, the Canadian rights holder, the following day, but otherwise limited his availability to brief post-match chats with rights holders in the post-game mixed zone.
Davies explained that he did not speak after the Croatia game because, while he was pleased with his goal, he did not want to be front and center after a defeat.
“I wanted to talk about the team, the team play. I’m happy to score, but at the end of the day we lost the game. And that was really what was on my mind.”
READ MORE: Canada loses to Croatia at World Cup, but fans are proud after ‘legacy moment’ first goal
Davies started slowly on Tuesday, choosing his words carefully. But he began to open up when asked if he was enjoying himself at the tournament.
“Yeah, yeah, I’m having fun,” he said after a short pause, his voice rising with enthusiasm. “You dream of this since you’re young. And while I’m on this stage, I look back every time and I think to myself: ‘I’m at the World Cup.’ It puts a smile on my face.
“And every time I play the game, it’s truly amazing. Every time I come to training, I’m living the dream and I’m happy about it.”
The 22-year-old from Edmonton was then asked if he felt pressured by having 6.6 million followers on TikTok, 5.1 million on Instagram and 491,900 on Twitter following him.
“For me, I always try to be myself,” he said. “How you see me is how I am every day, in public or in private. I’m the same guy who just wants to have fun, laugh at my friends, be a kid. I tend not to think about how many people are looking at me too much. I’m just trying to be myself.”
A child perhaps, but one with a manager and his assistant watching from the back of the room. And a mega-dollar future.
Yet Davies was savvy enough to consult some of his more experienced teammates at Bayern Munich on how to handle the World Cup experience.
“The advice I got was a World Cup is a different animal,” he said. “You play against the best players in every country. What I was told was to just go out and play the game. Change nothing. Don’t let the moment get to you. Go out and play how you know how to play. Keep your head down. Work as hard as possible. And for me it really worked.
“Every time I step on the field, I try to give my all for this country.”
With opinion at the World Cup.
“We’ve got a lot of new supporters around the world,” Davies said. “A lot of people thought that Canada wasn’t really a soccer country. Hopefully, after this tournament, we will have changed our minds a lot.”
While Davies did most of his talking on the pitch, he was a topic of conversation here.
Croatian forward Ivan Perisic, who spent the 2019-20 season on loan with Bayern Munich at Inter Milan, was asked about Davies ahead of Sunday’s game against Canada.
“It was really a pleasure to play with him,” he said through an interpreter. “He is a miracle. He’s fast – the sky’s the limit. He can only get better.”
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