On Wednesday, a substandard #Belgium team managed to win 1-0 over a #Canada team playing in their first #World Cup match in 36 years thanks to a goal by #Michy Batshuayi in the first half.
Alphonso Davies’ first penalty kick was saved by Belgium goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, and against the flow of play, Batshuayi scored the game’s first goal in the 44th minute. The boisterous audience supported John Herdman’s Canada, who controlled the second half but was unsuccessful in their efforts despite having another strong penalty appeal denied. Romelu Lukaku, Belgium’s all-time leading scorer, was out due to injury, and they fought the whole game to keep up with Canada’s forwards’ pace.
However, the 2018 semifinalists held on to move to the top of what could turn out to be a fiercely competitive Group F following Wednesday’s goalless draw between Croatia and Morocco.
“Was it technically our ‘worst game’, yes, when you measure the performance,” admitted Belgium coach Roberto Martinez. “Was it the ‘worst game’, no, because we won.”
“We defended well and we needed our goalkeeper.”
After more than matching the team ranked second in the world, which will next play Morocco, Canada will enter their game against Croatia on Sunday full of confidence.
“They showed tonight that they do belong here. It’s been a long time since we’ve been back,” the first coach to oversee groups in both the men’s and women’s World Cups, said.
The North Americans got off to a solid start by playing three at the back, the same formation as Belgium. Jonathan David’s low shot was deflected wide.
Tajon Buchanan’s shot from the following corner was stopped by Yannick Carrasco with his arm, and a penalty was eventually given in the 11th minute following a VAR investigation.
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