Belgium VS Canada FIFA World Cup Live Score 24/11/2022
Canada will play their first World Cup fixture in 36 years when they face Belgium at the Ahmad bin Ali Stadium on Wednesday. For Belgium, this represents the final chance for a lot of their ‘Golden Generation’ to win a major tournament. Belgium boss Roberto Martinez is also now under pressure to produce for the nation, as defeats in Euro 2020 and the previous Nations League’s finals have caused discontent among supporters. They qualified with consummate ease once again during UEFA qualifying, averaging over three goals per game, but they often underperform when it really matters at major tournaments, such as their defeat against Italy in last summer’s European Championships. Martinez has been accused of not knowing how to win, especially following their Nations League elimination to France, where they lost to a late Theo Hernandez strike after being 2-0 up.
Losing home and away to neighbours Netherlands recently did not go down well either, plus a defeat to Egypt in a warm-up friendly means they have lost back-to-back games, and they have not lost three on the spin since 2014. There is no doubting the talent they have going forward though, fronted by Manchester City maestro Kevin De Bruyne. Sixteen goals at the 2018 World Cup saw them top the scoring charts as a nation, as Martinez’s style of play accommodates attacking talent very well, with his time at Everton proving this too, as Romelu Lukaku kickstarted his career under the management of Martinez in the Premier League. However, Lukaku’s injury troubles mean that Martinez will need to choose an alternative up front, and Michy Batshuayi’s form in Turkey has been impressive this season in addition to his excellent scoring stats for Belgium, as the ex-Chelsea man has a record better than one goal every two games for his country.
While the mood in the Belgian camp may not be the best at the moment, spirits could not be any higher in the Canadian squad under John Herdman. They scored the most goals and conceded the fewest as the Maple Leafs topped the final section of qualification in the CONCACAF region ahead of Mexico and the USA. For a largely young and inexperienced squad at this level, Canada can use this tournament as a free hit in their preparation for the 2026 World Cup on home soil. While the big names in the squad all come in attack, building a solid defence has been crucial to Canada’s improvement over the past four-year cycle, as they kept seven clean sheets during the final stage, not conceding more than once in any game. However, Canada’s away form is a cause for concern, as they won just two of their seven matches on the road in qualifying, and lost away in Honduras in their last competitive fixture in the CONCACAF Nations League.
Attacking duo Jonathan David and Cyle Larin did not start in that game, so Herdman will hope it was merely a blip, but their results outside of Canada do not look promising right now. Their only previous finals appearance came in 1986, when they lost all three games without scoring, but with a much better squad this time around, they will be confident of improving on that despite a very challenging group on paper. The big concern in Belgium has surrounded the fitness of Lukaku in the build up to the tournament, and the Inter Milan man will not feature in this group opener, so Batshuayi is the likely starter, but Lois Openda is also in contention to appear. After being one of their standout performers at Euro 2020, Thorgan Hazard has also dealt with injury problems over the last year, so Timothy Castagne or Yannick Carrasco may take his place at left wing-back.
Thorgan’s brother Eden Hazard is a favourite of Martinez’s despite his lack of game time at Real Madrid and will probably start on the left-hand side of a three-pronged attack. While Martinez has been criticised for continuing to pick ageing players, teenage centre-back Zeno Debast looks set to start after Dedryck Boyata and Jason Denayer missed out on the squad. Captain Atiba Hutchinson should win his 99th cap for Canada, making his first major tournament appearance almost 20 years after his debut. Star player Alphonso Davies suffered a hamstring injury with Bayern Munich two weeks ago and is extremely doubtful for this encounter. That is a huge blow for Herdman, as Davies is not only their main man, but is integral to how they may set up, given his versatility in being able to play full-back, wing-back, on the wing or as a number 10.
The majority of Canada’s expected starting XI play in Europe, so this Belgian test will be nothing new for many of them, while Larin and Tajon Buchanan play in Belgium for Club Brugge. This is perhaps the first time since Euro 2016 that Belgium arrive at a major tournament without being heralded as contenders – the sheen of their Golden Generation has worn off. They have won each of their six group matches in the past two World Cups but they’ll struggle this time in a group featuring 2018 finalists Croatia, Morocco and their opening-game opponents, Canada. Canada’s Maple Leafs have arrived in Doha full of hope. This will be only their second World Cup appearance – the first since 1986. Belgium’s track record over the past few years shows that they comfortably beat lower-ranked sides but stumble against quality opposition.
They lost to the eventual champions France in the 2018 World Cup and to Italy in the quarterfinal of the Euros last year. Eden Hazard, one of the standout Belgium players in the 2018 World Cup, has hardly featured for Real Madrid since his move in 2019. While many called for him to be replaced by Leandro Trossard in the starting XI, manager Roberto Martinez’s faith in his captain has not wavered. Romelu Lukaku has been plagued by injuries and poor form over the past year and the Red Devils lack a strong backup striker to make up for his absence. The lynchpins of their defence, Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld, have a combined age of 68.
NAME: Belgium – Canada
DATE: 23 Nov 2022
TIME: 19:00 UTC
VENUE: Ahmed bin Ali Stadium, Al Rayyan, Qatar
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