Roberto Martínez John Herdman Stephen Eustaquio Richie Laryea Belgium Canada county Island Boxing diving Roberto Martínez John Herdman Stephen Eustaquio Richie Laryea Belgium Canada county Island

Vibrant Canada made to rue missed chances as Belgium earn narrow win

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independent.co.uk

Sometimes the scoreline simply does not tell the whole story. Semi-finalists in 2018, the top-ranked team in the world for more than three years, Belgium duly beat a Canada side absent from this stage since 1986.

Most expected them to; just not like this.Because Belgium were dismal in victory, Canada marvellous in defeat.They were denied by moments of brilliance in either penalty box, whether Michy Batshuayi’s wonderful winner or Thibaut Courtois’ terrific penalty save.

The points will go to Roberto Martinez, but the plaudits should belong to John Herdman, whose underdogs made this a memorable occasion.In 2022, as in 1986, Canada are pointless and goalless in the World Cup 2022 but, from Vancouver Island to Newfoundland, from the 49th parallel to the Arctic Circle, theirs was a performance to be proud of.There was a boldness to Herdman’s high-pressing tactics as Canada were imbued with positivity, fizzing with energy.

They made Belgium look old – or Belgium made themselves look old – though the most aged of everyone on the pitch was Atiba Hutchinson, the 39-year-old Canada captain who became the oldest outfield starter in World Cup history.

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