A smiling Alphonso Davies touched down in Doha on Friday, a late arrival after undergoing therapy for a hamstring strain back in Germany.
“Brotherhood fully reunited,” Canada Soccer said in a social media post with a photo showing the Bayern Munich star giving a thumbs up.
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“It’s unbelievable,” Davies said in a separate video as he walked into the Canadian team hotel, complete with Maple Leaf flags and a banner that said: “We are brothers. We stand on our guard.”
“I’m okay. I’m ready,” he says after getting a hug.
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The 22-year-old from Edmonton left Bayern’s 3-2 win against Hertha Berlin on November 6 with the back of his leg. Bayern said afterwards that the injury was not as serious as originally feared and that Davies’ participation in the World Cup was “not at risk”.
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His arrival is a step closer to a return to action. He missed Canada’s last warm-up game, a 2-1 win over Japan in Dubai on Thursday.
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The 41st-seeded Canadians, who did not have a media availability Friday, take on No. 2 Belgium in their first Group F match on Wednesday. The Belgians were upset 2-1 by number 39, Egypt in their last warm-up match on Friday in Kuwait City.
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The next question is the status of influential midfielder Stephen Eustaquio, who sat out the Japan match after picking up a knock in training.
On the plus side, captain Atiba Hutchinson saw 60 minutes of action while midfielder Jonathan Osorio got 30 minutes off the bench.
Both have seen limited action in recent months, with 39-year-old Hutchinson sidelined by a leg bruise sustained in pre-season with Turkey’s Besiktas and Osorio dealing with post-concussion syndrome after taking an elbow against the took the lead in a Toronto FC match in Chicago.
The victory over Japan, thanks to a stoppage-time penalty by Lucas Cavallini, provided several milestones.
Alistair Johnston started his 28th consecutive game for Canada, a national men’s team record. The CF Montreal defender shared the record for consecutive starts with former Canada captain Bruce Wilson, who compiled his streak between 1984 and ’86, when Canada last appeared at the World Cup.
Junior Hoilett earned his 50th cap for Canada.
Hutchinson and veteran goalkeeper Milan Borjan were first off the plane in Doha in the early hours of the morning as the 41st-ranked Canadian left Dubai immediately after Thursday’s win over No. 24 Japan.
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The World Cup is hard to miss in downtown Doha with soaring office towers decorated with giant colorful banners featuring players such as England’s Harry Kane, Germany’s Manuel Neuer, South Korea’s Son Heung-min and Netherlands’ Virgil van Dijk among others. tone set
Away from the city centre, the environment is largely monochromatic – with many buildings a sandy beige. But there are also spectacular structures, with sweeping curves.
The heat is everywhere and it gets nice early here. We’re talking prison planet temperatures.
“Today’s temperature is expected to be ALMOST THE SAME as yesterday,” one weather website said, citing the mid-afternoon temperature at 31 degrees Celsius, which feels like 34.
“Tomorrow’s temperature is expected to be ALMOST THE SAME as today.”
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For reporters whose luggage didn’t come with them to Qatar, a visit to the City Center Doha mall provided some emergency supplies at prices ranging from bargain basement to serious sticker shock, often seemingly without rhyme or reason .
Well-known North American names such as Adidas and Quiksilver and British chains Boots and Debenhams were all to be found, although doors were closed during Friday prayers, which lasted about 90 minutes around lunchtime.
A trip to an airport pharmacy turned up a series of small tubes of sunblock for $50. Choose the wrong one and you get sun protection that comes with a bronze effect that would have made George Hamilton proud.
Staying hydrated will be a challenge in some ways. The first Arab-hosted World Cup means adult beverages are rare and/or expensive.
On Friday, the sale of beer was banned at the eight World Cup stadiums two days before the opening match. Non-alcoholic beer will still be sold at games, probably not much of a consolation to some fans.
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Two draft beers at a downtown hotel, where alcohol sales are allowed, cost 100 Riyals, about $36.60.
The tournament starts on Sunday with Qatar no. 50 which is the no. 44 Ecuador ventures.
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