Canada would've obtained if not for Belgium's Courtois

AL RAYYAN, Qatar — regardless of a spirited effort from Canada of their first World Cup look since 1986, Belgium obtained the opener of Group F on Wednesday, 1-zero, due to three massive saves from Belgian goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois and a minimal of 1 missed penalty name that should’ve gone in Canada’s favour.

Canada had an early alternative to take the lead after being awarded a penalty kick inside 10 minutes, however Alphonso Davies‘ effort was blocked by Courtois. Canada has nonetheless by no means scored a World Cup aim. simply earlier than the prime of the primary half, Belgium’s Michy Batshuayi scored off an prolonged ball.

right here is ESPN’s Julien Laurens with response and evaluation from Qatar.

soar TO: participant rankings | biggest/worst performers | Highlights and notable moments | submit-match quotes | Key stats | Upcoming fixtures


quick response

1. A merciless however proud night for Canada

soccer is inclined to be merciless typically — and the Canadians, of their first World Cup match since 1986, actually expert that in opposition to Belgium.

not like utterly different teams on this event, they confirmed no nerves from the opening whistle. They performed attacking soccer with movement, depth and fervour, pushed by the noise and the assist of the ten,000 Canadians contained in the Hamad Bin Ali Stadium. the sport plan of their supervisor John Herdman was spot on: No time on the ball for Kevin De Bruyne or Eden Hazard, pressing extreme and utilising the width of the pitch properly.

Stephen Eustaquio (what a participant) and the veteran Atiba Hutchinson — 39 years outdated, the oldest participant on this World Cup and solely member of the squad alive For Canada‘s final World Cup look in 1986 — bossed the midfield. They created possibilities and generated 2.35 anticipated targets, or xG, for Canada in opposition to simply zero.fifty eight xG for his or her opponent.

Canada had been the elevated group for pretty a little bit of of the sport, and is inclined to be glad with themselves — however they are going to have regrets. One defensive mistake on Toby Alderweireld‘s prolonged ball they typically conceded a aim simply earlier than the break. As Nelson Mandela used to say: “You by no means lose. You win in any other case you study.”

This Canada group ought to have found a heck of pretty a bit in opposition to Belgium.

2. Courtois, king of pens and Belgium’s saviour

with out him, exact Madrid wouldn’t have obtained the Champions League final season and Belgium wouldn’t have made a worthwhile start on this World Cup.

Courtois obtained here massive as quickly as extra for his nation, like so many instances prior to now, saving Davies’ penalty after eleven minutes confirming that he is the king of pens. In 2022, he has saved 5 spot kicks off the 9 he confronted — that is a formidable fifty five.fifty five% ratio of saved penalties, and by far the biggest in Europe. Since becoming a member of exact Madrid in 2018, he has confronted 22 penalties and saved six — however 4 of these six have occurred in 2022.

– World Cup 2022: information and options | Schedule | Squads

Courtois made one other save a bit in a while inside the match on an Alistair Johnston shot from an excellent angle, and a cosy one inside the second half on a Cyle Larin header that was one among Canada’s biggest prospects of the night.

In what was a very poor efficiency by Belgium, Courtois was the one mild, actually. the relaxation was so poor — the third group of the final World Cup was not a menace going forward, struggled defensively and conceded possibilities and dangerous circumstances.

It was very unconvincing and laboured from Belgium — however if you’d possibly have the current biggest goalkeeper on the earth, it makes your life a lot simpler.

three. An off night for Hazard and De Bruyne

We needed to see Eden Hazard and Kevin De Bruyne take the sector for diverse causes.

For De Bruyne, the responsibility was to be the conductor of this Belgian side, to take administration of the sport and be the inventive power. instead, he obtained almost every little thing fallacious. He forgot a free Youri Tielemans twice inside the primary half. simply after the hour mark, he wasted an very best counter assault with a poor ball for Batshuayi and later blasted his shot in an excellent place over the bar.

It was a efficiency very not like the KDB we have come to know at Manchester metropolis, maybe largely as a end result of the supporting forged round him isn’t of the identical diploma than the one he has at his membership however nonetheless: we anticipate extra from him. it is his function to maintain this group.

For Hazard, the intention was to level that, even in want of match health, he might nonetheless have an influence on a recreation like this one. Alas, regardless of a quantity of advantageous touches and turns, the current from the captain was not ample.

He obtained here off after 60 minutes with no possibilities created, solely seventy six% of appropriate passes and solely two worthwhile dribbles. He was fouled 4 instances although, which confirmed that there is nonetheless some life in him however it is not ample proper now.

supervisor Roberto Martinez has been very loyal with the 31-12 months-outdated who not often performs at exact Madrid, conserving him inside the group in any respect price. it is unlikely he’ll drop him for the Morocco recreation on Sunday however Hazard, like De Bruyne, is inclined to be beneath strain to do elevated than in opposition to Canada.


participant rankings

Belgium: Courtois eight, Dendoncker 5, Alderweireld 6, Vertonghen 4 ,Castagne 5, Tielemans three, Witsel 4, Carrasco 4, De Bruyne 4, Hazard 4, Batshuayi 6

Subs: Onana 5, Openda 4, Meunier 4, Trossard 4

Canada: Borjan 5, Johnston 6, Vitoria 5, Miller 6, Hoilett 6, Larin 5, Hutchinson 7, Eustaquio 7, Laryea 6, , Buchanan 6, Millar 5, Davies 6, David 5

Subs: Osorio 5, Kone 5, Adekugbe 5


biggest and worst performers

biggest: Stephen Eustaquio, Canada

The Porto midfielder bossed this recreation till his alternative after eighty one minutes. The 25-12 months-outdated Eustaquio was in each place, recovering the ball 9 instances and creating two possibilities for his group whereas having fun with with depth, intelligence and aptitude. This has been his breakthrough season in Portugal and in opposition to Belgium he confirmed as quickly as extra how proficient he is.

WORST: Youri Tielemans, Belgium

It was a troublesome night for the Leicester midfielder, pretty a bit that his supervisor decided to take him off at half time to convey on Amadou Onana. Tielemans merely had no influence on the sport, discovering himself positioned too extreme, solely making thirteen passes in forty five minutes, hardly any forward. It was a very disappointing efficiency.


Highlights and notable moments

Canada obtained here out from the primary whistle with depth and tempo, they typically put the strain on Belgium immediately. It appeared Canada would come out in entrance quickly when a hand ball was acknowledged as inside the tenth minute.

Alphonso Davies, the Bayern Munich full-again and main man for Canada, stepped as a lot as a end result of the spot, however Belgian goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois continued his current run of advantageous type on saving penalties, and he denied Davies.

Canada had been dominating the primary half and had been the methodology extra dangerous side, even past their missed penalty likelihood. by way of the forty third minute, Canada’s anticipated targets (xG) was 1.eighty one whereas Belgium’s was solely zero.15.

however soccer or soccer — no matter it is important name it — is a humorous recreation: a group is inclined to be the “worse” side however nonetheless be the side worthwhile. With an prolonged lofted ball extreme inside the forty fourth minute, Michy Batshuayi put Belgium forward 1-zero in opposition to the run of play.


After the match: What the managers acknowledged

Canada coach John Herdman on the end result: “glad with the efficiency, however it is important take three factors out of your first recreation. We had the prospect tonight to be prime of the group — that was the mission — and we missed it. however i am glad with the efficiency. As I’ve acknowledged, these lads put a shift in and confirmed they will stay on this stage. i really feel they made the followers proud and it made them really feel like they belong right here, and that was very important for us.”

Herdman on what he advised his gamers after the match: “I simply confirmed them the stats. I confirmed them they belong right here. I advised them they belong right here, and we’re gonna go and ‘F’ Croatia. that is so straightforward as a end result of it will get. that is our subsequent mission now.” (Editor’s be aware: Canada is in Group F for the World Cup.)

Belgium coach Roberto Martinez on the win: “Canada deserved to be elevated than us inside the biggest methodology they performed. i really feel the end result displays the issues that we needed to do and the biggest methodology we defended for every utterly different and took our likelihood. it is a win and we have gotten to play elevated and to develop. we have been right here 5 days, we have gotten to develop with these video games. Many prime teams are dropping video games.”


Key stats (supplied by ESPN Stats & knowledge)

  • Canada is the primary group since 1978 to intention 20+ pictures (22) and a penalty kick and by no means rating at a World Cup recreation.

  • Canada’s 2.fifty nine anticipated targets (xG) in opposition to Belgium is the biggest anticipated targets whole to be shutout this event.

  • Canada is the primary group to intention a minimal of 14 pictures inside the primary half however not rating a aim and path at halftime in a World Cup match since 1986.

  • Belgium’s starting eleven in opposition to Canada had a imply age of 30 years and 181 days. that is the oldest starting eleven in a 2022 World Cup recreation but, and the oldest for Belgium since June 20, 1998 in opposition to Mexico.


Up subsequent

Belgium: Group F resumes on Sunday, Nov. 27, the place Belgium will face Morocco at eight a.m. ET. Then, Belgium faces Croatia on Thursday, Dec. 1 at 10 a.m. ET.

Canada: Group F resumes on Sunday, Nov. 27, the place Canada will face Croatia at eleven a.m. ET. Then, Canada faces Morocco on Thursday, Dec. 1 at 10 a.m. ET.



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