Thanks to Batshuayi’s lone goal on Wednesday in the second Group F match of the World Cup in Qatar, Belgium defeated Canada (1-0). The game was not particularly exciting for the Belgians, who started their World Cup journey with victory, a last chance of his golden generation, in front of some Canadians who were about to surprise.
Although Roberto Martnez’s team struggled to find their rhythm in the opening period, a burst of energy from Michy Batshuayi enabled them to contain the Americans and keep a lead until the final whistle. Eden Hazard started, but his Real Madrid colleague Thibaut Courtois was the game’s top goalkeeper, making the Real Madrid number 7 ineffectual in the Belgian onslaught.
The Canadians were about to score their nation’s first World Cup goal, but the Belgian goalie stood his ground in front of the goal and turned away Alphonso Davies’ penalty. The North American team had the most opportunities, but because they were so inefficient in front of goal, the Belgians ultimately won the game. Following the deadlock in the other Group F game between Croatia and Morocco (0-0), Martnez’s team is now in the lead.
John Herdman’s team put the opposition under a lot of pressure and created danger in the opening minutes of the game at the Muhammad bin Ali Stadium. The Canadians’ initial surge nearly resulted in the goal, but Courtois strengthened his grip on the goalposts. After the VAR informed the referee that Yannick Carrasco had committed a handball in the area, the Bayern Munich midfielder was unable to convert from eleven meters.
The North American team persisted in their efforts, eventually posing a severe threat to Roberto Martnez’s squad. With Davies at the helm, his wingers’ offensive presence was crucial in exposing the flaws of a Belgian defense that found it very challenging to contain the rivals’ persistence. Vertonghen’s long pass enabled Batshuayi to give his team the lead on the scoreboard when the Canadians were at their best.
The ‘Diables Rouges” use of direct football was sufficient to give Roberto Martnez’s team the lead going into the locker rooms. However, the Spanish coach was not happy with how his squad was playing and decided to make some changes. Tielemans and Carrasco were replaced at halftime by Onana and Meunier. For the Belgians, it was a breath of fresh air, though it did not entirely relieve their concerns.
The ability of Kevin de Bruyne to manage the midfield allowed the Belgians to repel the Canadian attacks from there. The Manchester City player started to emerge, and despite his tardy entrance, he took the lead early in the second half. Although they had a great Courtois in goal, Canada did not change the course of the game and instead closed it by pressuring in the opposing end zone and felt as though they deserved a draw.
—FINAL SCORE: BELGIUM 1, CANADA 0 (1-0, at halftime).
Courtois, Dendoncker, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Castagne, Witsel, Tielemans (Onana, minute 46), Carrasco (Meunier, minute 46), De Bruyne, Hazard (Trossard, minute 62), and Batshuayi are the members of the BéLGICA team (Openda, min. 78).
Borjan, Buchanan (Millar, min.81), Johnston, Vitoria, Miller, Hutchinson (Kone, min.58), Eustaquio (Osorio, min.81), Davies, Hoilett (Larin, min.58), Laryea (Adekugbe, min.74), and David all represent Canada.
1-0, Batshuayi, minute 44.
Janny Sikazwe is the referee (ZAM). Meunier (Min. 53) and Onana (Min. 56) received his censure from Belgium. And from Canada, Davies (min. 81) and Johnston (min. 83).
Ahmad bin Ali — STADIUM