April 23, 2024

Batshuayi goal is enough: Belgium's lackluster win against strong Canadians

Batshuayi goal is enough: Belgium’s lackluster win against strong Canadians

Belgium won their first World Cup group game 1-0 against underdogs Canada, but didn’t cover themselves with pride in the process. The Red Devils were in big trouble several times against a well-played Maple Leafs — and the Canadiens were lucky not to be penalized too much.

Scored the winning goal for Belgium: former Dortmunder Michy Batshuayi.
IMAGO/Agencia MexSport

Against underdogs Canada, Belgium coach Roberto Martinez fielded his side in an attacking fashion – although top striker Lukaku had to sit out with a hamstring injury. He was replaced by Batshuayi, who was to be played by De Bruyne and Hazard. In defence, the coach relied on veterans Dentonker (27), Vertonghen (35) and Alderweireld (33) – a total of 95 years old.

Canada strong – Davies forgives from the point

The defensive line had a lot to do from the start as the Canadians, who had to liven up the attacking play alongside Bayern figureheads Davies Buchanan and David, started strongly and gave the favored Belgians huge problems. The Maple Leafs showed a very concentrated performance, were close to man and, above all, boldly played up front. The first tricky scene came almost ten minutes later: Buchanan’s shot was blocked by Carrasco with his hand and, after a VAR check, there was a legitimate penalty (9th). Davies took over, but was defeated by his weak penalty at Courtois (10th).

Favorite against the bold lucky Canadians

Belgium celebrated the rally, but the Canadians were unfazed and continued to impress scene after scene with attacking football with purpose. Only the conversion of chances left much to be desired: Hoilett (16′), Hutchinson (27′) and Johnston (30′) failed to get the ball into the Red Devils’ goal in promising advances. Another penalty was missed for the North Americans when Witzel brought down Lauria in the penalty area (38′). Discussion was called for when a mistake was made a short time ago – but the team decided wrongly (14th).

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The Belgians had nothing to counter the high intensity of the Canadians, but appeared dangerously out of nowhere in front of the Maple Leafs box and scored directly: a long shot from Alderweireld, who took the lead as Batshuayi started, he froze. Borjan stayed free in front and netted on the right to take the lead (44′). The Canadians were unimpressed with the goal they conceded and Buchanan had a chance to equalize before the break when he shot from a good position (45+3).

Red devils will increase

The Maple Leafs stayed true to their stylistic device in the second half, going early and not letting the Belgians thrive. The Red Devils now defend very well, which is why, apart from David Heder (48th), they are unable to produce high-quality goals or at least big deals from the backs’ point of view.

Nevertheless, Canada tried hard, which gave them room for favorites during the game. However, these were underutilized because, despite the high individual class in attack, ideas were usually missing and attacks were not played to the end in a goal-oriented manner. At the last moment (67′), De Bruyne shot it well from distance (85′).

In the closing stages, the North Americans threw everything back, but despite a few promising chances from Laurin (80′, 86′), they couldn’t equalize. As a result, it was a tight 1:0 for the favorite.

Belgium continue in their second group game against Morocco on Sunday (2pm). Then three hours later Canada take on Croatia – and in their second World Cup participation they will surely continue to work on scoring the first goal in their fifth game in the finals.