Belgium’s golden generation may have already passed its zenith, but the ensemble includes Thibaut Courtois (30), the defensive veterans Toby Alderweireld (33), Jan Vertonghen (35), Eden Hazard (31), Axel Witsel (33) and Kevin De Bruyne (31) to the extended World Cup favorites. The “Red Devils” only lived up to this role on Wednesday in the Ahmad bin Ali Stadium to Al Rayyan in terms of results. Belgium, second in the FIFA world rankings, was unlucky enough to beat Canada, number 41, 1-0 (1-0).
The match-winner was Fenerbahce striker Michy Bat-shuayi, who replaced Romelu Lukaku (hamstring injury) in the starting XI and scored the only goal of the evening in the 44th minute. The fact that the self-sacrificingly fighting and playfully convincing “maple leaves” went away empty-handed was partly due to the outstanding Real Madrid goalkeeper and David Alaba club colleague Courtois, and partly to their own weakness in the end.
Canada fired 20 shots (Belgium seven), Alphonso Davies missed the best chance. The FC Bayern star failed when the score was 0-0 from the penalty spot to Courtois (11th). In two other contentious situations in the penalty area, the whistle of referee Janny Sikazwe from Zambia remained silent, and the VAR did not intervene either. It definitely wasn’t completely flawless.
The live ticker to read: