Davies declared fit for Canada's clash with Belgium on World Cup return

Alphonso Davies has been declared fit by head coach John Herdman for Canada's clash with Belgium on their return to the World Cup stage.

The Bayern Munich left-back's participation in Qatar was in doubt after he sustained a hamstring injury against Hertha Berlin on November 5.

Davies sat out Bayern's final two matches prior to the mid-season break and Herdman said at the weekend he was unsure exactly when the 22-year-old would return.

However, in a huge boost for Canada ahead of Wednesday's Group F showdown with Belgium at Ahmed bin Ali Stadium, Herdman has confirmed Davies is ready to feature.

"You've just got to go through the algorithms they put in front of you to progress to hit top speed, which he's hit," Herdman said at Tuesday's pre-match press conference.

"He's been clear he wanted to play. He's been in full training and got that big smile on his face, so that's great.

"I don't think there'd be any doubt we'd be starting him, but you've got to follow the medical advice. Our goal first and foremost is always the safety of the players.

"As a coach you're always frustrated when you get the reports in and all the algorithms on returning to play, what they can and can't do and loadings, et cetera.

"But when you speak to the player you have to look into their eyes and get a sense of what they want, how far they're willing to push, and you've got to ask the questions.

"If not the first game, then what's the risk for the second game? At the end of the day, he's fit now, he's hit his markers, he's ready to go. He was flying in training yesterday."

Canada
Canada

Canada are back at the World Cup following a 36-year absence – the second-longest gap between participations of any nation at this year's tournament behind only Wales (64 years).

The Reds topped their CONCACAF qualifying group while scoring the most goals in the final round (23) and conceding the fewest (seven).

Herdman also provided positive updates on the fitness of Stephen Eustaquio and Milan Borjan ahead of facing a Belgium side ranked second in FIFA's world rankings.

"I think we're in a position now where we can field our strongest team," he said. "Everyone's come through training.

"It's exciting times for us now – the dark clouds have shifted. This is our last training session together and we'll all be 100 per cent."

Canada lost their only previous meeting with Belgium 2-0 in an Ottawa friendly 33 years ago.