Welcome to Sportstar’s highlights of the Group F match between Belgium and Canada at the 2022 FIFA World Cup. This was Nihit Sachdeva taking you through the action as it unfolded at Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium in Ar-Rayyan , Qatar.
Belgium gets a record-equalling (Brazil 1986-1994 and 2002-2010) eighth consecutive group stage win at the World Cup. Canada looked the better side for most of the match, had an insane number of shots at the Belgium goal but Red Devils had one that counted. Three points for Red Devils who sit at the top of the Group F.
Last minute. Canada needs to find a moment of inspiration. However, that moment does not arrive.
Belgium with the ball looking to simply run the clock down now.
Canada clears the corner away and then takes the ball towards the Belgian box.
Five minutes of stoppage time. Meunier with an attempt on Canada’s goal but sees his shot deflected behind for a corner.
Millar overhits the corner kick which goes past everyone. Goalkick for Belgium.
Adekugbe wins a corner for Canada.
Untidy clearance from Belgian defenders almost puts Larin through. Danger avoided.
Trossard takes the ball forward down the middle but ends up overrunning and taking the ball out for a Canadian goalkick.
Another quick move from Belgians. KdB, this time, goes for a long ranger after pressure from the Canadian defenders and sends it high and wide.
KdB to take the set piece. Sends the ball in, Dendoncker with the header which goes over the bar.
KdB looks to charge but is marked well by three Canadians who steal the ball but moments later, it is Openda who finds himself taking the ball forward before being brought down by Johnston close to the Canadian box.
Into the final 10 minutes. Double substitution for Canada. Eustaquio and Buchanan come off. Millar and Osorio are in. Meanwhile Davies commits a foul and receives a yellow card.
Lovely cross from the right from Eustaquio to find Larin in the centre of the Belgium box who gets the header in but Courtois collects the ball cleanly.
Belgium substitution. Goalscorer Batshuayi is replaced with Openda.
David receives the ball inside the Belgian box but Vertonghen blocks him perfectly. Stoic defending from the Red Devils.
Buchanan and Larin with the one-two on the right wing take the ball forward. Buchanan provides the cut back but Larin is unable to control it cleanly.
Substitution for Canada. Adekugbe comes on for Laryea.
Aerial ball from Canada, Larin makes the run and Courtois too comes forward but the Belgian defender clears the ball away before Larin could get to it.
KdB is through on the left wing. Puts the cross in for Batshuayi but his first touch is a poor one and allows Canada to recover.
Castagne loses possession in the Canadian half. The Maple Leaf looks to counter-attack but the attempt is not clinical enough.
Batshuayi tries to break through the Canadian defence all on his own and eventually gets stopped in his tracks on the left.
End to end stuff. Larin keeps the ball in close to the Belgium box after a lung-bursting run before cutting it back, then KdB takes the ball forward and provides the cut back to Batshuayi who sees his effort blocked by Laryea for a corner.
Corner kick taken by De Bruyne. However, it finds no Belgian head and eventually, Dendoncker is found to have fouled Buchanan.
Corner for Belgium as Meunier’s attempted cross from the right is blocked and sent behind by Vitoria.
Wild long range shot from Buchanan from the edge of the box. Might count in a rugby game but not football for sure.
Substitution for Belgium. Skipper Hazard comes off and Trossard is on.
Eustaquio from the set piece, sends the ball in from the left but it curls a little too much and goes out for a Belgian goal kick.
Canada seeing more and more of the ball. Foul from Meunier on Buchanan. He needs to be careful since he is already on a yellow card. Set piece for Canada.
First couple of substitutions for Canada. Larin comes on for Hoilett. and Kone for Hutchinson.
Eustaquio tries to catch up with Onana and gets hit in the face. Onana, the other sub for Belgium, also gets booked.
Pressure from Hoilett on Dendoncker earns him a corner for Canada as the ball goes behind after the final touch from the Belgian defender.
Foul on Hoilett by Meunier who hits him in the face with his arm and gets booked. Set piece for Canada but Eustaquio’s kick goes out for a Belgian goal kick.
Belgium gets past the high press of the Canadians to take the ball forward but Onana wastes it all with a cross that goes out for a Canada goal kick.
High pressing from Canada and Courtois almost finds himself in trouble before releasing the ball quickly.
Eustaquio, from the right edge of the Belgian box, goes for the long-range effort but the ball misses the far post.
Eustaquio with a beautiful cross from the right but David puts the header wide at the far post.
Foul by Witsel on Hutchinson.
SECOND HALF BEGINS!!! Will Canada be able to find a quick equaliser? Two substitutions for Belgium. Carrasco and Tielemans come off. Meunier and Onana are on.
Belgium leads Canada 1-0 courtesy of a beautiful goal from Batshuayi.
Belgium on the charge. However, it decides to run down the clock.
Corner for Canada. Eustaquio’s shot from the edge of the box following the corner is blocked.
Glorious opportunity for Buchanan who times his run inside the Belgian box correctly, receives the cross from the right but a sliding tap-in attempt sends the ball over the goal.
Five minutes of added time. Canada has had its chances but it is Belgium which leads. At the end of the day, nothing matters except the number of goals one scores.
GOAL!!!!! Batshuayi scores to put Belgium 1-0 ahead! It was Canada with all the hard work but the Red Devils are the ones who score. Long ball once again from Alderweireld with the Belgian forward timing his run down the middle and past the Canadian defenders perfectly before putting the ball past Borjan.
High pressing from Canada forces Belgium to go for the long ball.
Another quick move from Canada, this time from the left wing via Alphonso Davies but nothing frutiful comes off it.
Laryea tussles with Witsel while taking the ball inside the Belgian box from the right and eventually goes down. There will be a VAR check. No penalty this time.
Chants of “This is awesome” from the Canadian fans and why not. Their team has been brilliant so far.
Batshuayi with a shot aimed at Borjan’s left post but the effort is blocked.
Hoilett’s cross from the right finds David at the far post but he is not able to position himself correctly and the header misses the target by a comfortable distance.
Jonathan David with a shot at Belgian goal from well inside the box but the Belgian defender puts his body on the line to block it. Stunning stuff from Canada. Relentless.
Courtouis forced to make yet another save!!! Shot from Johnston aimed at the Belgian goalkeeper’s left post.
David puts Laryea through on the right wing. Laryea takes the ball inside the Belgian box, provides the cut-back only to see the ball cleared by Castagne.
Foul on Witsel by Eustaquio.
Yet another attempt on goal from Canada and this time, it is the skipper, Hutchinson, who lets it fly from the edge of the box but the ball sails wide and above.
Superb aerial pass from Alderweireld finds Castagne inside the Canadian box but he is unable to make the right connection with his head. Goal kick to Canada.
Another swift counter-attack from Red Devils with De Bruyne at the centre of it, who puts Hazard through but the Belgian skipper is forced wide and eventually loses possession.
Aerial ball from Alderweireld finds Hazard on the left wing, who controls it well before passing it to Carrasco at the centre of the box. Carrasco to Batshuayi at the right post who goes for it and sees his shot cleared behind for a corner. Much better for Belgium.
Foul from Canadian skipper Hutchinson, who at 39 years, 288 days, is the oldest outfield player in a World Cup game since Roger Milla in 1994 (42y, 39d).
Canada dominating and how!
Patient move from Belgian. Kevin De Bruyne takes the ball forward quickly down the middle, puts it through for Batshuayi but it has too much on it and Borjan collects it.
Canada has had 12 touches inside the Belgian box. On the other hand, Belgium has had none inside the Canadian box.
Another shot from Canada. Hoilett from the right inside the box goes for the far post. Misses it.
Belgium looking to keep possession. The Red Devils have been caught off guard by the high intensity start from the Canadians.
Shot from Laryea from the right inside the box goes wide of the near post. Courtois forced to make a save moments later after a shot at near post from David. Canada has come out hard.
COURTOIS SAVES!!!! Alphonso Davies takes the penalty kick and goes for the bottom left corner. However, the Belgian goalkeeper, winner of the golden glove at the 2018 edition, guesses it correctly.
Yellow card to Carrasco for handball and PENALTY TO CANADA.
Corner taken from Canada. Buchanan’s effort is blocked and he appeals for handball. There will be a VAR check!
Eustaquio steals the ball from Carrasco near the center-line, passes it to Laryea who takes it down the right wing before putting in the cross for Buchanan who sees his effort blocked and sent behind for corner.
Aerial ball for David on the left wing but it probably has too much in it and goes out for a Belgian throw-in.
Foul from Buchanan on Vertonghen.
Positive start from Canada. Quickly taking the ball forward, inside the Belgium box and shot taken. Belgium defence blocks the effort though.
KICK OFF!!! Belgium, in red jerseys, to play from left to right, while Canada, in white, right to left. Canadian defender Vitoria passes the ball to Belgian forward Batshuayi who goes for the long-range shot but Borjan eaisly pouches the ball.
12:25AM - Both teams are on the pitch for the national anthems.
A Stat Canadian fans would not want to look at: Belgium is unbeaten in its last 12 World Cup group stage matches since losing to Saudi Arabia in 1994.
Just a few minutes to go for Canada’s first World Cup appearance since 1986 and the fans are absolutely loving every bit of it!
Matches played: 1 - Belgium 2-0 Canada (1989)
Belgium - Courtois (GK), Dendoncker, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Castagne, Witsel, Tielemans, Carrasco, De Bruyne, Eden Hazard (c), Batshuayi
Canada - Hutchinson (C), Borjan (GK), Johnston, Miller, Vitoria, Eustaquio, Hoilett, Buchanan, Davies, David, Laryea
11:15PM - The first match of the Group F, between Morocco and 2018 runner-up Croatia, ended in a goalless draw. However, the second fixture between Belgium and Canada, which will play its first World Cup match in 36 years, promises to be a goalfest. Live action begins at 12:30AM IST. Till then, stay tuned for all the pre-match build-up!
PREVIEW (via AP)
Many Canadian football fans have been waiting for this moment their entire lives.
Long an afterthought behind hockey in its home country, Canada’s football team is back in the World Cup for the first time since 1986 and opens on Wednesday against a daunting opponent: second-ranked Belgium, a 2018 semifinalist.
“I’ve already seen it sparking a lot of interest in younger players, 7, 8-year olds, some in my family, teammates, children,” Canada captain Atiba Hutchinson said on Tuesday. “Just the interest that it’s brought to our country is really special to see. I’ve been with the national team a very long time and I never seen it get to this level.”
The 39-year-old Hutchinson is the only player in Canada’s squad who was alive at the time of the nation’s last World Cup match. Canada lost three in a row to France, Hungary and the Soviet Union and went scoreless with a squad that included Bob Lenarduzzi, Tino Lettieri and Branko Segota.
“We want to put Canada on the map,” Hutchinson said.
His earliest football memories are of the 1994 World Cup in the United States, when he was 11 and rooted for Brazil, the eventual champion.
“I was into that one,” Hutchinson said. “The fans in the stadium, around the stadium, it was special to see, and that kind of sparked a very big interest in me and given me that feeling of maybe one day playing in a World Cup.”
These Canadians are led by a new generation headed by Alphonso Davies, Jonathan David and Cyle Larin. They finished first in CONCACAF qualifying, a turnaround engineered by coach John Herdman. He coached the Canadian women to bronze medals in the 2012 and 2016 Olympics, then switched to the men in 2018.
“It’s a dream come true, I think, for me, the players, the country,” Herdman said. “We’ve got to enjoy that process, enjoy the experience, enjoy knowing that there’s people back home surrounding the TVs, filling bars and restaurants. ... We’re pinching ourselves. It’s just real now. It’s getting more real by the hour.”
Herdman said Davies is fully fit and on track to start after recovering from a strained right hamstring that has sidelined him since Nov. 5.
“Canada are in a position now where we can field our strongest team,” Herdman said. “It’s exciting times for us. Now the dark clouds have shifted.”
Part of a Group F that includes Croatia and Morocco, Belgium is in its seventh year under coach Roberto Martinez. The Red Devils finished third at the 2018 World Cup and lost to Italy in the quarterfinals of last year’s European Championship.
Its core may be at or just past peak, with Kevin De Bruyne and Eden Hazard both 31, Romelu Lukaku 29 and Youri Tielemans part of the next age group at 25.
Lukaku will not play on Wednesday because of a left thigh injury.
Belgium is coming off a 2-1 friendly loss to Egypt last week.
“Probably gave us a wake-up that we needed,” Martinez said. “I was worried how we would react going into a preparation of three or four days before you can play the first game, what, normally you got four, five, six weeks to prepare for a competition and probably that defeat speeded up the process.”
He expressed admiration for Canada.
“They look like a team. They never look like a group of players coming together to represent the national team,” Martinez said. “They look like a team very clear in their concepts, firm, very dynamic, competitive. A team that they know their strengths.”
WITH THE WHISTLE
Janny Sikazwe of Zambia will referee the match. During an African Cup of Nations match in January, he blew his whistle to end the game after 85 minutes, then restart it and ended it after 89 minutes, 47 seconds, when about three minutes of injury time had been expected.