This made Belgium garish and its golden generation aging for the possible reason that Belgium garish and its golden generation could grow old. The presence of a new enemy full of shameless fighters gave the impression that Belgium was living in the fumes of the quarter-finals and semi-finals of the last two World Cups. At times it almost seemed to creak audibly in the cool, clear night, though 40,432 people at the Ahmed bin Ali Stadium may have drowned out the sound. Belgium’s star Manchester City playmaker Kevin De Bruyne, 31, sounded glum when he said afterwards: “No, I don’t think I played a great game. No, I don’t know why I have the trophy [for man of the match].”
He said his team left the pitch too spacious, as manager Roberto Martínez said: “We made the pitch too big.”
It all led to the technically losing manager, Canadian John Herdman, hunkering down with his team while brimming with passion and saying, “You’ve shown you can live here! True that. Herdman later said, “I’m proud of the guys. The effort was unreal. . . And if we can be ruthless in attack, we will get something out of these games. This group is wide open. He jokingly recommended “four days of shooting practice” ahead.
The first question to Martínez, the Belgium manager since 2016, was about whether this had actually been the worst big game of his tenure in Belgium.
“Were we technically the worst game? Yes,” he said.
“Was it the worst game? No,” he said, because a win prevents that distinction.
To clarify, Belgium has opened Group F with a victory and climbed to the top of the group which also includes Croatia and Morocco, which drew 0-0, as he did not let go of his know-how. “To win when you’re not playing well doesn’t come by accident,” Martínez said. Belgium took advantage of the festival of audacious offers from Canada decorated with errant shots, then grabbed the only game they would eventually need.
It happened at 43 minutes, when Toby Alderweireld, the 33-year-old on his 125th cap, sent a long, pretty thing down the field from around 60 yards and slammed into a spot that could prove useful. There, Michy Batshuayi, the 29-year-old often nicknamed “Batsman”, didn’t corral him as much as he understood, charging towards the box and taking him early on his second jump with defenders Richie Laryea and Kamal Miller. blowing on him, then hastily drilling him into the back right corner of the goal.
Injustice filled the air.
Canada, with its brilliant 22-year-old phenom Alphonso Davies looking healed from a hamstring injury and moving electrically, must have looked a lot different than what 14,200 spectators saw on June 9, 1986 in Irapuato , in Mexico. That day, in their previous World Cup match, the Canadians ended their stay with a 2-0 loss to, yes, the Soviet Union, and they left this World Cup both without a win and aimless.
They’re still looking for that first goal, and you have to think they’ll get it here, and they got it in almost single-digit minutes. It was then that Tajon Buchanan whipped a shot from a crowd inside the box, and legendary 30-year-old goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois caught it, but VAR review showed Belgian Yannick Carrasco had handed it over, and suddenly Canada had a penalty in about nine minutes, even though it took about halfway to an eternity for the referee to whistle it in progress.
Davies took it and slid it left just as Courtois rushed a right to meet him, pushing him back into the box, where Davies somehow hit him again but skied a chance under -optimal. With that, Courtois leapt shirtless like a pharaoh from the goalmouth, and his teammates surrounded him in admiration and gratitude.
Then his team continued slowly. “You have to give huge respect to Canada’s performance,” Martínez said. “We knew they were so dynamic, so aggressive.” He called them “a modern team” in which “everyone defends” and “everyone attacks”. He also cited the bizarre timing of this 22nd World Cup, with its limited time for team re-cohesion, and said: “Today is our fifth day together. You see that format was going to be about growing national teams through the group stages. If you can win while you’re doing this, it’ll be an amazing opportunity.
Yet before Belgium could begin their next days of “self-criticism and analysis,” as Martínez put it, Canada had persevered, en route to a 19-6 shooting advantage. The shots went wide to the right. The shots went left. The shots mostly went past the goal. Courtois dove right and stopped Cyle Larin’s header from Alistair Johnston’s fine cross in the 79th minute. Davis recovered beautifully from the penalty and earned Herdman’s assessment as “brilliant tonight” and “much more disciplined” while showing “courage” and “resilience”.
All of this and more went on throughout the first half and most of the second, until it all became an entertaining reminder that life isn’t fair.
World Cup in Qatar
Live updates: European powers take center stage in Qatar on Wednesday, where world Cup the collective game continues. To be continued for latest news, updates and highlights.
USMNT: For their return to the World Cup, the young Americans contented themselves with a 1-1 draw against Wales in their Group B opener. The United States men’s national team will face a more difficult task on Friday against Group B favorite England, who demolished Iran, 6-2, earlier on Monday.
Qatari controversy: Football fans wearing the rainbow, a symbol of LGBTQ inclusivity, said they were denial of entry to World Cup stadiums and confronted members of the public to remove the emblem.
Support for groups: The United States men’s national soccer team, led by coach Gregg Berhalter and star striker Christian Pulisic, has qualified for the 2022 World Cup, an improvement on its disastrous and unsuccessful 2018 campaign. Here’s a close look how all the teams in each group position themselves.