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Canada shocked and stunned Belgium for 88 of 90 minutes, but Thibaut Courtois saved a penalty and Toby Alderweireld combined with Michy Batshuayi for a brilliant moment in the Red Devils’ 1-0 win to kick off their World Cup at the Ahmed-bin-Ali on Wednesday -Stadion .

WATCH BELGIUM VS CANADA FULL MATCH REPLAY

Belgium had more possession but far less threat as Canada, with 47 percent possession, fired 21 of the game’s 30 shots.

But Batshuayi ran for Alderweireld’s long ball, which opened the lid and slipped past Milan Borjan to give Belgium a three-point, two-point group lead over remaining opponents Croatia and Morocco on Wednesday.

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

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Thibaut Courtois leads Belgium in saving the Golden Generation… for now

If you thought you were going to watch a smash and grab game between Belgium and Canada, you would have expected the Canadians to be the ones smashing and grabbing at 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 gave their World Cup hopes three points.

This is seen as a golden generation for Belgium and it came very close – like three saves close – to exit the tournament opener without a point in a game that was widely expected to serve as a fairly easy stepping stone into the tournament.

Courtois correctly tapped to stop Davie’s penalty and the Bayern Munich man clipped the rebound over the bar and Courtois made another wonderful save late in the game as Canada pushed to finally get their breakthrough.

Belgium didn’t even score a full expected goal in the win, while the numbers suggest almost three xG for the Canadians.

But… you have to finish. Ah, Canada.

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

Reaction from John Herdman: “We will go to Croatia”

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

The Englishman told the Canada side they are as dominant as they feel and made a vow regarding their second game of the tournament against Croatia.

“I just told them that this is where they belong and that we’re going to Croatia next and going ‘F’. It’s as simple as it gets,” Herdman said, according to The Athletic. “I’m proud of the performance but you have to get three points in your first game. We had the opportunity to be at the front of the group tonight, that was the mission and we missed it. But I’m proud of the achievement. These guys showed that they can 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 vs Canada
fotmob.com

Thibaut Courtois

Toby Alderweireld

Stephen Eustaquio

Alistair Johnston


Thibaut Courtois saves penalty (video)

Goal video by Michy Batshuayi: Belgium stabs against the flow of the game


like watching Belgium vs Canada Live, stream link and start time

kicking off: 2 p.m. ET, Wednesday, November 23
Stadion: Ahmed bin Ali Stadium, Al Rayyan
TV channels in Español: Telemundo
stream in Spanish: peacock (all 64 games)


Major storylines, players to watch closely

However, the aforementioned Belgian defense is strong and Belgium will bring six Centurions to Qatar (Vertonghen, Alderweireled, Axel Witsel, Eden Hazard, Dries Mertens, Romelu Lukaku). Thibaut Courtois (97) was set to reach his 100th cap during the tournament and Kevin De Bruyne could also reach that height with a long Belgian run (94). This is a golden generation and the hopes for it – and the pressure for it – will be incredibly high.

Canada is a proud footballing nation that, despite a wealth of talent at home and abroad, has fallen dramatically in World Cup qualifying. The big question is whether John Herdmann’s defense can carry the Canadians through a game like this as goalkeeper Milan Borjan is spectacular but the defense is untried at a level close to Belgium’s.


Belgium quick facts

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

Canada quick facts

Current FIFA World Ranking: 41
World title: 0
World Cup participations: 2
How they qualified: Qualified by CONCACAF (1st place)
Trainer: John Herdman
Key players: Alphonso Davies, Jonathan David, Milan Borjan, Jonathan Osorio



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