World Cup | Belgium come out on top against Canada thanks to Michy Batshuayi (1-0)

Belgium entered the 2022 World Cup through the back door. Opposed to an attractive team from Canada, which deserved much better, the Red Devils did not convince at all. But they still found a way to win, relying on the exploits of Thibaut Courtois, who notably saved a penalty, and a but against the run of play by Michy Batshuayi. Despite its lackluster performance, Belgium is already in a favorable vote in its group F, thanks to the draw between Croatia and Morocco. Good deal, then.

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Courtois: “They didn’t hit the goal anymore… but that’s football”


Belgium has lost so much by being attractive. Would she have learned to win without shining? It is still too early to draw conclusions. But still, the Red Devils had all the trouble to get the upper hand over Canada, which was only the second participation in a final phase of the World Cup (the first since 1986).

The North American players had the fangs and showed it throughout the meeting, against Belgians without any control. Roberto Martinez’s formation, unrecognizable, only existed during very rare individual exploits.

Fortunately Belgium is a great goalkeeper. Thibaut Courtois proved again, if he needed it, that he was in the discussion of the best in his position, by stopping a penalty certainly not very well shot by Alphonso Davies (11th).

A second forgotten penalty?

Belgium could even have conceded a second on limited contact in Axel Witsel and Richie Laryea (38), which escaped the referee and which the VAR dismissed. It’s a shame, because Canada would have deserved so much to open the scoring during a first period played with a lot of practice and recklessness, two qualities linked to their status as a team with nothing to lose.

Have the Blues been as successful as that?

Conversely, Belgium is playing its reputation a little in this 2022 World Cup, after so many years of scarcity unworthy of a golden generation. It is also the talent that allowed him to get out of it. On a long opening from Toby Alderweireld, Michy Batshuayi sanctioned a poor defensive alignment by placing a perfect half-volley from the left (1-0, 44th).

We expected more dominance from the Red Devils after this goal, but it was not. Canada continued to play their luck bravely until the end, simply lacking a hint of precision in the last gesture, like a header next to Jonathan David (48th). The devil was in the details, but he had to be red to win.

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