Alphonso Davies’ essential penalty miss might have been Canada’s defining second of the World Cup

Belgium goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois saves a penalty kick by Canada’s Alphonso Davies throughout the World Cup Group F match on the Ahmed Bin Ali Stadium in Al Rayyan, Qatar on November 23.Nathan Dennett / The Canadian Press

When Canada was awarded a penalty early within the match towards Belgium, there have been no directions as to who ought to take it. Coach John Herdman leaves that call as much as his gamers.

Crew captain Atiba Hutchinson checked out two potential candidates, winger Alphonso Davies and ahead Jonathan David.

“I do not suppose that was the dialogue,” Hutchinson stated Thursday. “It was extra, ‘Are you OK with taking it?’ Fonzie had the ball. He was positively prepared for that second. “

Maybe “keen” is a greater phrase than “prepared”.

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When he had the prospect, Davies knocked the ball previous Belgium goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois. It was extra a case of ball-hitting-man than man-intercepting-ball.

A superb penalty shot is hit laborious and geared toward each posts. An ideal penalty can be excessive pressed.

Davis’ shot was low, mid-range and never significantly good. Courtois needed to guess proper, and he did.

Relying on how the event goes for Canada, this could possibly be his defining second.

Was it the correct resolution?

David is a extra skilled penalty taker. He has sunk 9 of the 12 he has taken in his profession. That 75-percent conversion charge is fairly good.

(Cristiano Ronaldo, grasp of the artwork, made 145 and missed 29. That is an 83-percent success charge.)

Earlier than yesterday, Davies had taken – and scored – two penalties for Canada in his top-flight profession.

Therefore the inexperienced win (a working theme for Canada towards Belgium).

We requested Matt Miller-Dix, a well being and train scientist on the College of Portsmouth, for his ideas. Miller-Dix has carried out in depth analysis on soccer penalties.

“The analysis of Alphonso Davis’ penalty relies upon quite a bit on how he was training the penalty kick,” Miller-Dix stated in an e-mail.

It is laborious to know as a result of Davis hasn’t spoken publicly since lacking that shot. Perhaps he is training finesse with renewed consideration. Perhaps he hasn’t. And if he had, who’s to say precisely what he practiced, or below what circumstances?

He took the identical line Herdman took after the sport – highlighting the second half of the penalty equation.

“The truth that among the finest goalkeepers on the planet – Thibaut Courtois – saved the penalty might additionally point out that it was wonderful goalkeeping.”


Miller-Dix regarded for one space for enchancment – Davis’ strategy to the ball. The Canadian ran proper into it.

“There was no obvious try and try to deceive in direction of the kick. Analysis means that it’s tougher for the goalkeeper to foretell the course of the kick if the penalty taker is dishonest.

This may increasingly embrace altering the angle of the physique or stuttering. Good penalty takers can lean to at least one facet and shoot from the opposite. Davis did nothing of the type. Courtois was shifting to his proper earlier than Davies swung the ball in that course, suggesting he had tipped his shot.

“If a technique/method has all the time been profitable for him, you would not suggest altering it,” Miller-Dix stated.

This is the factor – Davies has no actual observe document for taking penalty kicks. There’s nothing he ought to or should not do.

If Hutchinson’s studying of the scenario is appropriate, it seems like Canada’s greatest participant took the initiative out of a way of isolation.

If Davis had carried out that, we would be speaking concerning the brilliance of his hump.

As an alternative, we marvel if that second would have been higher left to a extra skilled teammate.

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