DUBAI CITY, United Arab Emirates (AP) — The Canadian men’s national team won its final FIFA World Cup tuneup 2-1 over Japan on Thursday without standouts Alphonso Davies and Stephen Eustáquio.
A Lucas Cavallini penalty kick in extra time that barely crossed the line provided Canada with the win at Al Maktoum Stadium in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
Canadian coach John Herdman was hopeful both Eustáquio and Davies would be ready for Canada’s World Cup opener against Belgium in Qatar on Wednesday.
Davies missed the last two games for Bayern Munich after suffering a hamstring strain.
“There’s only one Alphonso Davies, and we’re really keen to get him back,” Herdman said. ”(Davies) is on his way to join us, and we’ll assess him as soon as he arrives to see if we can get him at top speed. Progressively, we’ll see how that one goes.”
Eustáquio was kept out of the friendly after suffering a knock in training Wednesday.
The win against Japan pushed Canada’s record to 3-2-3 since its successful World Cup CONCACAF qualifying run concluded last March.
Japan almost snatched the lead in the 89th minute when Yamane got in behind Canada’s back line and slammed a shot off the near right post.
Japan caught Canada off guard with an early goal. Yuki Soma positioned himself inside Canadian defender Kamal Miller to redirect Gaku Shibabaski’s pinpoint down-the-middle long ball into the box.
Soma stretched out to right foot the ball past Canadian keeper Milan Borgan in the ninth minute.
Canada tied the match in the 21st minute off a corner kick. Junior Hoilett found Atiba Hutchinson, whose touch found the 35-year-old Steven Vitoria near the far post.
Hoilett was busy in the first half with six corner kicks.
Canada had possession for 55% of the game.
Japan enters the World Cup ranked 24th, compared to Canada at 41. Canada was ranked 78th at the time of the 2018 World Cup.
Canada will finish the group stage with matches against Croatia on Nov. 27 and Morocco on Dec. 1.
Japan starts the group stage against Germany on Wednesday, then plays Costa Rica on Nov. 27 and then Spain on Dec. 1.
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The Associated Press