Canada can safely say that despite losing 1 – 0 to Belgium, they were clearly looking like the better team last night.
Belgium looked disorganized and gave off the vibe that they were still singing the national anthem by the time Davies and co were entering their half.
Almost two dozen shots (22) on Belgium’s goal (4 on target) certainly made Thibaut Courtois demonstrate his skill between the sticks but also that Canada was so close to taking the lead early on or even equalising. The missed penalty from Davies early in the First Half is just a case in point.
Check out our preview build up to the game here:
Had they, Canada would’ve scored for the first time in the World Cup in 36 years.
Canada opened their first World Cup game on the offensive. Playing in a 3-4-3 formation, they held their shape delivering constructive passes up with rushes on goal coming from both the forwards and the midfield.
Everyone from Hoilett to Eustaquio managed to circle Belgium’s defence and challenge Courtois.
Within the first 10 minutes of the game, Canada got its first major chance to take the lead. A handball by Yannick Carrasco in the 9th minute awarded Canada a penalty.
Davies was there to take it and while he aimed bottom left, his shot just wasn’t wide enough and the Belgian goalie was ready to stop the shot.
You might think Canada’s heads went down after that but no. It only emboldened them.
Now, the referee gave Canada this one but as we’ll see that there were some stern words about Janny Sikazwe on later decisions.
At the 44th minute, a sub-par Belgium managed to find the net with a goal from Batshuayi. With an assist from Alderweireld, Batshuayi was able to beat Canada’s goalie Milan Borjan to take the lead.
The Second half of the game kicked in and Belgium looked more awake. Canada was not letting up on the pressure but their shots on goal were not as direct as they’d like them.
Kevin De Bruyne was more switched on in this half, helping to deliver rushes on the goal and corners which threatened to add even more goals to Belgium’s tally. Thankfully Canada managed to clear them out of the danger-zone.
Larin and Eustaquio also continued to put pressure on Courtois but the Belgian goalie was not giving them any chances to equalise.
The final score: Belgium 1 – Canada 0.
During the First Half, Davies showed off his flair. His ball skills were fair superior to sleepy Belgium but his shots in the final third didn’t find the net.
Want to know more about Alphonso Davies? Check it out here:
Canada is a football country he said.
‘I think the fans in the stadium can go away feeling like we’re a football country. They brought their energy for 90 minutes. It felt like we were the home team.’
Kevin De Bruyne
De Bruyne thought his performance was terrible last night. Despite his rushes on goal and free kicks into Canada’s box, he didn’t deserve the Man of the Match award.
Belgium’s manager agreed that his team’s performance was bad last night. While they did win, there was room for improvement.
‘Was it technically the worst performance? Yes. The worst game? No, because it’s a win at the World Cup. We had to show a different side of our game and had to defend really well… And we took a very good goal. You need to give huge respect to Canada’s performance and what we did is that we didn’t do well what we were supposed to do while they did well what they were supposed to do. But we deserve the win.’
There are two very important penalty decisions which are making Canadian fans fume; the fouls on Tajon Buchanan and Richie Laryea. Both penalty opportunities were ruled out by the ref, despite the crowds shouting ‘VAR, VAR’.
The first came in the 14th minute when Belgium’s forward Eden Hazard passed to Jan Vertonghen. Tajon Buchanan went into intercept and came down in the penalty box, allegedly to a boot by Vertonghen. Janny Sikazwe looked at the situation and agreed with the linesman that Buchanan was offside. Now that really burned.
Fox Sports pundit Stuart Holden said on Twitter: ‘Missed call by the referee and the VAR not to go back. Canada should have a second penalty.’
Then there’s the second crime against Canada in 38th minute. Also in the first half was the apparent foul on Richie Laryea. The midfielder was in the box and under pressure from afro wielding Axel Witsel. Witsel appeared to knock the midfielder to the ground.
When the referee arrived at the scene, he ruled it not to be foul.
Canada now face Croatia on Sunday.
Find out more about Canada’s competition here: