Thibaut Courtois is going to be in Alphonso Davies' nightmares for the foreseeable future.
In Canada's 2022 World Cup opener against Belgium, Les Rouges came out flying against the Red Devils early. When Tajon Buchanan's shot toward goal was deflected away from the target in the 8th minute, the Canadian players immediately protested for a Belgium hand ball.
Sure enough, after a VAR review, it was confirmed that Yannick Carrasco used his hand to prevent the shot from heading on goal and a penalty was awarded to Canada.
In the 10th minute, Alphonso Davies was the player to step up with the chance to not only put Canada up 1-0 early over Belgium, but put his name in the record books as the country's first-ever World Cup for the men's national team.
Courtois had other ideas.
Watch in Canada:November 23, 2022
Watch in USA:— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) November 23, 2022
The Belgian goalkeeper correctly guessed on Davies's attempt, diving low to his right and stopping the shot. Jonathan David attempted to redirect the rebound but the ball finished went out of play and the crisis was averted for the Red Devils.
Who takes penalties for Canada?
The decision to go with Davies as the penalty taker will be debated by Canadian fans.
While he has taken two penalties in the past for Canada, and converted both, those were the only penalties he's ever taken as a professional per Transfermarkt. Davies does not take penalty shots for his club team, Bayern Munich.
Many would have assumed that forward Jonathan David would have been the main penalty taker since he does it full-time for his French club LOSC Lille and has also taken a couple for Canada. He's made nine of 12 in his career with the three failed conversions coming in France with Lille.
Another option could have been Junior Hoilett, who has nine penalty kicks in his pro career and has been successful on five of them.
That said, Canada has been a bit all over the place in recent years with their penalty takers. Davies got the nod earlier this year in a CONCACAF Nations League match against Curacao. Lucas Cavallini took the most recent one in a friendly against Japan. And in 2020-21, the Canadian team had four different takers for six penalty shots.
Reaction to Alphonso Davies penalty miss
Canadian fans, who have waited 36 years to see their team at the World Cup again, were puzzled by the decision to go with Davies over David.
Considering the stakes, it was a huge missed opportunity for Canada, who went down 1-0 on a strike just before halftime and struggled to find an equalizer:November 23, 2022
Surprised David didn't take the PK tbh. #CanMNT— Rob Hodkinson🇨🇦🏴 (@RobHodkinson) November 23, 2022 November 23, 2022
Canada’s first real attempt at its first ever goal and the Eaton Centre is on pins and needles pic.twitter.com/KGckYIWozp— Her Loss (@DemarJGrant) November 23, 2022
Davies taking a penalty is... interesting. #CanMNT— Arya (@Twenty9United) November 23, 2022
Ref waited too long to let Davies shoot, pressure accumulation— Gasipo (@gasipo_opinions) November 23, 2022
It was too good to be true— Rob Williams (@RobTheHockeyGuy) November 23, 2022
Since when did we have Davies on penalties?— Kate Tigchelaar❎ (@katetigchelaar) November 23, 2022
I don't want to read 1 person ask why Davies took it. They obviously organized that pre-game and if he asks for it, you let him take it. He missed, we move— CanMNT Universe (@CanMNTUniverse) November 23, 2022
Hate to be that guy but why is Davies the one taking the pen? #CanMNT— Rude Trude 🇨🇦 (@atrud66) November 23, 2022 November 23, 2022
Why the hell isn’t David taking that?— Duane Rollins 🇺🇦 (@24thminute) November 23, 2022
And it's saved by Thibaut Courtois. It was a long wait for Davies and a poor effort. Low and saveable. What a pity.— Joe Callaghan (@JoeCallaghan84) November 23, 2022
Canada’s first real attempt at its first ever goal and the Eaton Centre is on pins and needles pic.twitter.com/KGckYIWozp— Her Loss (@DemarJGrant) November 23, 2022 November 23, 2022
Didn’t want the first goal to come from the spot anyways #CanMNT— James Grossi (@grawsee) November 23, 2022
Oh, come on! pic.twitter.com/0M6Zn7GBO9— Jason Armond (@jparmond) November 23, 2022