Missing a hand penalty, Alphonso Davies missed a great opportunity to cap a brave Canadian performance in the early stages. Instead, the Canadians had to concede defeat to the old stars of Belgium with a score of 0: 1 (0: 1) and make a painful return to the World Cup.
After his bitter World Cup debut, Canadian star Alphonso Davies was comforted by his teammates and also by some Belgian pros, after which the Bayern Munich professional unbearably buried his face in his shirt. 13,361 days after the previous World Cup match, Canada convinced Canada, but Michy Batshuayi (44th minute) from Istanbul’s Fenerbahçe ensured Belgium’s eighth successive World Cup qualifying round victory.
On the other hand, the strong young Canadians did not reward themselves for their courageous performance, and 36 years after the last match at the World Cup in Mexico in 1986, they remained aimless and goalless at a world tournament. The chance for a respectable success was there, but Bayern’s Davies put a handball penalty (10) into the arms of Belgium’s world-class goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois. However, the North American spectators celebrated after the final whistle.
“We won the important game.”
Belgium coach Roberto Martinez didn’t care. “We know we didn’t play well and we need to improve. But we won the important game,” Martinez said. “I would have preferred to see a better performance. Canada was better than us. But in the end, this win is more important than a win in which you play well.
Canada coach John Herdman was proud of his team. “We put in a great performance, but we should have taken three points. Unfortunately we lost it, but I’m proud of the achievement. And we made the fans proud too. We showed that we’re here.”
Canada was getting sharper
The Ice Hockey Nation provided steam from the start in front of 40,432 spectators. Because of their passion, the returnees to the World Cup finals put Belgium under pressure. The old, still untitled, Belgian golden generation narrowly found their way into the game and were lucky with the penalty kick. Zambian referee Yani Sikazwe only recognized a clear handball from Yannick Carrasco of Atletico Madrid, after the intervention of the video referee. The poor penalty made Courtois the first Belgian goalkeeper in 66 years to save a penalty in a World Cup.
Only after that my favorite woke up. The faster ManCity’s Kevin De Bruyne gets, the more dangerous it gets. Behind him, Eden Hazard of Real Madrid headed. The 31-year-old captain made his 12th World Cup appearance, despite having been in fine form for years and only making three Premier League appearances this season. However, Hazard justified the trust of coach Roberto Martinez with a dedicated effort.
However, the Belgian attacking game was still very inaccurate. Canada had significantly more shots on target, but were also unlucky not to concede two more penalties for fouls. As is often the case, missed opportunities avenged. Romelu Lukaku’s Batshuayi beat CF Montreal’s Kamal Miller just before half-time and finished well to take the half-time lead.
Problems against the strong Canadians
Despite the lead and two substitutions at the break – among others, Dortmund’s Thomas Meunier came into his sixth World Cup match with a face mask on after fracturing his cheekbone – Belgium continued to have problems against the tough Canadians. Captain Atiba Hutchinson has also shone in the defensive midfield for North America. The veteran player from Besiktas Istanbul has become the second oldest player in World Cup history after Cameroon’s Roger Milla. Hutchinson was 39 years, 288 days old on Wednesday. Mila was still used in the 1994 World Cup USA at the age of 42.
It was also due to the veteran’s presence in midfield that there were no relief attacks from Belgium. Instead, substitute Kyle Larraine (80) had a great chance to equalize with a header, but fell short on Courtois. The favorites, the Belgians, had their seventh consecutive World Cup opener win over time because the Canadians were also fading.
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