Shaken a good part of the game and saved by Thibaut Courtois, the Red Devils managed to snatch three points thanks to a goal from Michy Batshuayi at the end of the first period (1-0).


Belgium 1-0 Canada

Goal: Batshuayi (44e) for the Red Devils

It’s a certain art, basically, to start a World Cup by choosing to show nothing, or almost. While she has been advancing masked for several weeks and she did not really know what she would be able to do in this World Cup, Belgium, which nevertheless has the second most experienced workforce in the competition, entered Wednesday evening, in Doha, through the very small door in his tournament. If he saw his team slow down in the second half, John Herdman, the coach of a valiant Canada, knows it and gathered his men in a circle before leaving the lawn: an opportunity has just passed.

The hero Courtois

It’s the Devils War in Qatar. Kevin De Bruyne, 31 years old and 95 selections hanging on the CV, got angry all red and yelled at his friends. Then Yannick Carrasco quickly imitated him and in turn began to blather with an Axel Witsel on the verge of suffocation. As if that weren’t enough, Toby Alderweireld also had a fit while in the stands, Romelu Lukaku, who is still treating his left thigh, quickly put his hands on his face, just to turn off the light from time to time. . Amidst a sparse Ahmad bin Ali Stadium, Belgium were, as expected, rocked in every way by a Canada that didn’t care much for niceties. The Canucks Although they found themselves at the table with the third of the last World Cup, we saw them jump at the throat of the army of a swimming Roberto Martínez and shake the tablecloth to make the cutlery fly.

Led by the wise Atiba Hutchinson, who has become the oldest outfield player in the history of the World Cup, but also by a boiling Stephen Eustaquio and an overexcited Alphonso Davies, the Canadians came to Doha to deliver a model of pressing on men who are struggling more and more to resist the pressure and have spent their entire evening shooting the goal of a fortunately heroic Thibaut Courtois to deflect an early penalty from Davies obtained after a handball from Carrasco. Without this imperial stop, Belgium would probably have taken a one-way trip to the underworld. Did she raise her head? Not immediately, because John Herdman’s Canada, who should have benefited from a second penalty, chained the strikes (14 shots attempted in the first period alone against 2 for the Belgians), multiplied the movements, bitten in the duels , and it took until the twentieth minute to see the Devils succeed in extricating themselves from the pressure for the first time.

Football remains a ruthless world, however, and before the break, after the ninth javelin thrown deep by Toby Alderweireld, Michy Batshuayi showed the tip of his nose and cruelly opened the score (0-1, 44e). That was not enough to reassure Roberto Martínez, however, who opted to make two changes during the intermission by sending Onana and Meunier in place of Tielemans and Carrasco. Action reaction ? Not so much, De Bruyne continuing to produce unusual waste in the midst of a few rare inspirations and Canada, like the twirling Buchanan, continuing to advance with personality without really succeeding in approaching the target. Very intense for a long time, this second meeting of group F then gradually decreased in intensity, and Belgium slightly raised their heads. Cyle Larin still made Courtois take off superbly with a deflection of the head, thus leaving the Real doorman to get dirty for the first time since a huge firecracker lit by Alistair Johnston during the first act. In his technical area, Martinez clapped with relief and if a first World Cup match is not easy for anyone, we will remember that this one was particularly uncomfortable for Belgians who have not mastered much. For Canada, which has still not scored a single goal in a World Cup, we must now digest the first regrets.

Belgium (3-4-3): Courtois – Alderweireld, Dendoncker, Vertonghen – Castagne, Tielemans (Onana, 46e), Witsel, Carrasco (Meunier, 46e) – De Bruyne, Batshuayi (Openda, 78e), Hazard (Trossard, 62e). Coach: Roberto Martinez.

Canada (3-4-3): Borjan – Johnston, Vitória, Miller – Laryea (Adekugbe, 74e), Hutchinson (Kone, 58e), Eustáquio (Osorio, 81e), A. Davies-Buchanan (Millar, 81e), David, Hoilett (Larin, 58e). Coach: John Herdman.

By Maxime Brigand, at the Ahmad bin Ali stadium


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Peggy McColl

Mentor l NY Times Bestselling Author. Hi, I'm Peggy McColl, and I'm here to deliver a positive message to you!

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