Canada proves they belong, dominates Belgium despite 1-0 loss to open World Cup
FiredUp Network Sports Writer
Wednesday, November 23, 2022
Canada swarmed Belgium, outshot them 22-9 despite dropping their first World Cup match since 1986.
AL RAYYAN – It had been over 13,000 days since team Canada made an appearance at the World Cup, and on Wednesday, that timer was reset.
The mens’ national team started their first World Cup match since 1986, as they went head to head with No. 2 ranked Belgium.
Expectations were a mixed bag with many praising Canada’s youthfulness and speed, seeing it as an advantage over Belgium’s older, and slower defensive line.
But the fear was the lights would be every so bright for the young team with many feeling as if they didn’t belong. But team Canada looked anything but out of place in their opening match, dominating most of the way through, repeatedly forcing the Belgians onto their back foot. Unfortunately for Canada, they were unable to capitalize on their opportunities as they succumbed to the much older squad 1-0 in their first World Cup match in 36 years.
Despite a plethora of chances, including an Alphonso Davies penalty kick in the 10th minute, the Canadians' ever-elusive first World Cup goal would have to wait. Les Rouge also outshot Belgium 22-9, but the Belgians capitalized on an opportunity late in the first half with Michy Batshuayi booting one past Milan Borjan to find twine, and give Belgium the 1-0 lead headed into the break.
The second half was a bit slower from the Canadians’ perspective as Belgium used their experience to stiffen attempts from the speedy attacking corps for the Reds. The older group was able to keep Canada at bay to hold onto the 1-0 lead to sit atop the Group F standings.
With the loss, Canada now sits at the bottom of the group following a Croatia and Morocco draw to open up the day. But despite the result, most of the country surely echoes the thoughts of Canada gaffer John Herdman.
"They proved they can play here. It’s not easy to score goals at this World Cup, as you can see," Herdman said, adding his players may have tried one pass too many on attacks.
Canada will now await their matchup come Sunday, as the youngsters will be tasked with going up against a Croatian team that lacks depth on their attack and defence, but possesses some of the strongest midfielders in the tournament. The game gets going at 11 AM ET.