Canada's return to the World Cup takes a little bit longer, with traffic blamed

DOHA, Qatar — Canada's return to the World Cup after a 36-year absence took a little longer than expected Tuesday.

Coach John Herdman and captain Atiba Hutchinson were 41 minutes late when they went in front of the media for the news conference ahead of the Canadian men's opening match against Belgium on Wednesday.

Herdman, who is known for his attention to detail, attributed it to traffic.

The Canadians were supposed to start at 3:30 p.m. local time with the Belgians slated to follow at 4:15. But when the Canadians failed to show, a FIFA organizer said Belgium would go first.

Then the 100-plus media were told Canada had finally arrived and would go first. The Canadian news conference eventually started at 4:11, lasting 16 minutes.

The Canada coach did not look happy about the late arrival, saying they would look into the mater internally to ensure it didn't happen again.

On the plus side, Herdman told reporters that Canada star Alphonso Davies, who has been dealing with a hamstring strain, is now fit.

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This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 22, 2022

Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press