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Canada shocked and stunned Belgium for 88 of 90 minutes but Thibaut Courtois saved a penalty and Toby Alderweireld joined Michy Batshuayi to create a moment of brilliance in the Red Devils’ 1-0 win to start their World Cup at the Ahmed bin Ali Stadium on Wednesday. .


Belgium had more ball but much less threat as Canada used 47% possession to make 21 of 30 shots in the game.

But Batshuayi raced past Alderweireld’s long ball and past Milan Borjan to give Belgium three points and two clear of remaining opponents Croatia and Morocco on Wednesday.

Courtois made three saves, including an early penalty on Davies, netting 50 touches in Belgium’s win.

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Thibaut Courtois in charge of Belgium to save the Golden Generation… for now

If you thought you’d see a smash-and-grab in Belgium against Canada, you’d expect the Canadians to be the ones doing the smash-and-grab at the Ahmed bin Ali Stadium.

We’ve seen Courtois steal the biggest club games in the world, and the Real Madrid man was the main reason Belgium delivered three points to their World Cup hopefuls.

This is considered a golden generation for Belgium and it came extremely close – like three close diving saves – to walking away from the tournament opener without a point in a game they were widely expected to use as a springboard. fairly easy in the tournament.

Courtois guessed right to save Davies’ penalty and the Bayern Munich man sliced ​​the rebound over the bar, and Courtois made another wonderful late save as Canada pushed to finally get their breakthrough.

Belgium failed to even score a fully expected goal in the victory, while the numbers point to nearly three xGs for the Canadians.

But… you have to finish. Oh, Canada.

(Photo by Stefan Matzke – sampics/Corbis via Getty Images)

John Herdman reaction: ‘We’ll go and (expletive) Croatia’

Canada boss John Herdman wasn’t shy when asked what he said to his players after gathering them in midfield after the final whistle.

The Englishman told the Canadian team they were as dominant as they felt and made a wish regarding their second game of the tournament against Croatia.

“I just told them they belong here, and we’re going to go and ‘F’ Croatia next. It’s as simple as it gets,” Herdman said, according to The Athletic. “I’m proud of the performance, but you have to take three points in your first game. We had the opportunity tonight to be top of the group, that was the mission, and we missed it. But I’m proud of the performance. These guys have showed they could live on this stage and I think they made the fans proud and made them feel like they belonged here.

Stars of the show

Belgium v ​​Canada

Thibaut Courtois

Toby Alderweireld

Stephen Eustaquio

Alistair Johnston

Thibaut Courtois penalty save (video)

Video of Michy Batshuayi’s goal: Belgium stings against the run of play

How to watch Belgium v ​​Canada live, stream link and start time

To start up: 2 p.m. ET, Wednesday, November 23
Stadium: Ahmed bin Ali Stadium, Al Rayyan
Spanish TV channels: Telemundo
Diffusion in Spanish : Peacock (all 64 matches)

Key scenarios, actors to watch closely

There is strength in the aforementioned Belgian defence, however, and Belgium will bring six centurions to Qatar (Vertonghen, Alderweireled, Axel Witsel, Eden Hazard, Dries Mertens, Romelu Lukaku). Thibaut Courtois (97) is set to reach his 100th cap during the tournament and Kevin De Bruyne could also reach that peak with an extended Belgian run (94). It’s a golden generation and the hopes – and the pressure – for it will be incredibly high.

Canada is a proud soccer nation that has significantly underperformed in World Cup qualifying despite a wealth of talent at home and abroad. The big question is whether John Herdmann’s defense can get the Canadians through a game like this as goalkeeper Milan Borjan is spectacular but the backs haven’t been tested at any level close to that of Belgium.

Quick facts about Belgium

Current FIFA World Ranking: 2
World Cup titles: 0
World Cup appearances: 14
How he qualified: Automatically qualified by UEFA (1st place)
Coach: Roberto Martinez
Key players: Kevin De Bruyne, Romelu Lukaku, Thibaut Courtois, Eden Hazard

Quick facts about Canada

Current FIFA World Ranking: 41
World Cup titles: 0
World Cup appearances: 2
How he qualified: Qualified from CONCACAF (1st place)
Coach: John Herman
Key players: Alphonso Davies, Jonathan David, Milan Borjan, Jonathan Osorio