Michy Batshuayi led Belgium to an unconvincing 1-0 victory over Canada in their opening game of the 2022 World Cup campaign.
Playing in only their second World Cup final, Canada missed a golden opportunity to take an early lead as Alphonso Davies was awarded a penalty.
And Batshuayi took full advantage just before half-time by scoring the only goal of the game, sealing the Red Devils a narrow victory in Group F in Qatar.
Canada went three games without scoring in their only other World Cup final appearance in 1986, and their wait for a first point and goal continues in their next game against Croatia on Sunday. .
The highlights of the game…
- 10 mins: Canada win a penalty but Thibaut Courtois saves Alphonso Davies.
- 44 mins: Michy Batshuayi takes advantage of Canada’s poor defense to give Belgium the lead.
Canada full of spirit but Belgium wins quietly
Canada had a glorious chance to take the lead in the 10th minute as a Taylor Buchanan strike hit Yannick Carrasco’s arm in the box, but Davies had his tame effort saved by Thibaut Courtois.
The North American side continued their dominance in the first half, with an aging Belgian back line repeatedly creaking in the face of waves of attack, but fell behind at 44 minutes.
A punt from Toby Alderweireld was missed by the Canadian defence, and Batshuayi took full advantage of it by bringing the ball back into the box from one touch before firing his second hard into the back of the net.
It said a lot about Belgium’s performance in the first half that, despite his head start, Roberto Martinez still felt the need to make two changes at the break, throwing in Amadou Onana and Thomas Meunier for Youri Tielemans and Carrasco.
And the moves helped stem some of the Canadian tide, as Belgium secured an uncomfortable opening victory. They next face Morocco, with a win likely to take them to the knockout stages.
Player of the match – Thibaut Courtois
Davies’ penalty save proved to be the crucial moment for Belgium as he remained calm and composed behind the struggling Belgian defence. He proved why he was arguably the best goalkeeper in the world.
What does the result mean
Belgium take the lead in Group F after their opener, ahead of Croatia and Morocco who played a goalless draw earlier in the day.
What else happened at the World Cup on Wednesday?
Elsewhere in Group F, Croatia and Morocco began their campaigns with a goalless draw.
There was a huge shock in Group E as two late goals saw Japan come from behind to beat Germany 2-1. Whereas Spain took control of the group after banging Costa Rica 7-0.
Source : BBNWORLDNEWS