Canada’s return to the World Cup looked shattered in all but one respect

Suspension

RIAN, Qatar — Canada reappeared at the World Cup after 36 years on Wednesday and brought freshness, verve, speed, speed, spark, brilliance, exhilaration, grit, worldliness and a truly magnificent national anthem sung by so many players, staff, tackles, crosses, crosses and efficiency but not any goals.

I lost to Belgium 1-0 because football simulates life, and life is not fair.

It has made flashy Belgium and its golden generation look old for the possible reason that flashy Belgium and its golden generation may be getting old. A new opponent full of unapologetic fighters has made Belgium appear to be living in the fumes of the quarter-finals and semi-finals of the past two World Cups. In moments it sounded like an audible creak in the cold clear night, even if 40432 Ahmed bin Ali Stadium drowned out the sound. Manchester City’s star Belgian playmaker, 31-year-old Kevin De Bruyne, had a grimace in his voice when he said afterwards: “No, I don’t think I played a great game. No, I don’t know why I got the trophy.” [for man of the match]. “

He said his team left the field too wide, as manager Roberto Martinez said, “We made the field too big.”

All of this leads to manager who technically lost out, Canadian John Herdman, who rallies with his team as he fills with emotion and says, “You showed you can live here!” That is true. Herdmann later said, “I’m proud of the lads. The effort was unreal…and if we can be tough in attack, we’ll get something out of these matches. This group is wide open.” He jokingly recommended “four days of marksmanship training” ahead.

The first question asked by Martinez, the Belgium manager since his return in 2016, was whether this was in fact the worst big game of his Belgium reign.

“Were we technically the worst match? Yes, he said.

“Was it the worst match? No,” he said, because winning makes him preclude that distinction.

To be clear, Belgium opened Group F with a win and rose to the top of a group that also includes Croatia and Morocco, who drew, 0-0, because they did not give up their experience. “Winning when you’re not playing well, doesn’t come by accident,” Martinez said. Belgium took advantage of Canada’s festival of bold bids garnished with foul shots, and then figured out the only play they might need in the end.

It came in the 43rd minute, when Toby Alderweireld, at 33 with his 125th cap, sent something long and sweet up the pitch from 60 yards and hit a spot that could have come in handy. There, 29-year-old Michy Batshuayi, often dubbed the “Batsman,” didn’t so much pronounce it as understand, lunge into the box and grab it quickly on his second jump start with defenders Richie Larea and Kamal Miller breathing on him, then quickly drill him to Right back corner of the goal.

Injustice filled the air.

Canada’s bright 22-year-old Alfonso Davies, seemingly healing from a hamstring injury and moving electrically, must have looked very different than what a mere 14,200 spectators watched on June 9, 1986, in Irapuato, Mexico. On that day, in their previous World Cup match, the Canadians ended their stay with a 2-0 loss to the Soviet Union, leaving the World Cup winless and scoreless.

They’re still looking for the first goal, and you have to think they’re going to get it here, and they’ve got it in almost single-digit minutes. That was when Tajoon Buchanan lobbed a shot from a crowd into the penalty area, and legendary 30-year-old goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois grabbed it, but a VAR review showed Belgium’s Yannick Carrasco had handed it in, and suddenly Canada were awarded a penalty in about nine minutes, though It took forever for the referee about halfway through to blow the whistle.

Davies took it, slid it left just as Courtois lunged right to meet her, and blocked it back into the box, where Davies hit it again, but skipped a suboptimal chance. With that, Courtois patted all my chest like a goalkeeper’s pharaoh, and his teammates surrounded him with admiration and gratitude.

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Then his team slowly continued to work. “You have to give a lot of respect to Canada’s performance,” Martinez said. “We knew they were dynamic, with that aggressiveness.” He called them the “modern team” that “everyone defends” and “everyone attacks.” He also noted the strange timing of the 22nd World Cup, with the limited time to re-coherence the squad, and said: “Today is our fifth day together. You see the format has been about the national teams growing through the group stages. If you can win while doing that, it’s a great opportunity.” “.

However, before Belgium could get into its next few days of “self-criticism and analysis,” as Martinez puts it, Canada held their own, en route to a 19-6 shooting advantage. Shots traveled wide to the right. Shots went wide left. Shots crossed the goal more than anything else. Courtois moved right and stopped Kyle Laraine’s header from Alistair Johnston’s pinpoint cross in the 79th minute. Davis recovered beautifully from the penalty and earned Herdman’s assessment of a “fantastic night” and “a more disciplined way” while showing “bravery” and “resilience”.

All of that and more continued through the first half and through most of the second, until the whole thing became an entertaining reminder that life isn’t fair.

World Cup in Qatar

Live updates: European powers take center stage on Wednesday in Qatar, as the group matches of the World Cup finals continue. Follow us to get the latest news, updates and highlights.

USMNT: In their return to the World Cup, the young Americans settled for a 1-1 draw with Wales in the opening match of Group B. The US men’s national team will face a longer task on Friday against Group B favorites England, who defeated Iran 6-2 earlier on Monday.

Qatari controversy: Football fans wearing rainbows, a symbol of LGBT inclusivity, said they were banned from World Cup stadiums and confronted by members of the public to remove the logo.

Groups directory: The men’s national soccer team, led by coach Greg Berhalter and star striker Christian Pulisic, qualified for the 2022 World Cup, an improvement from their disastrous and failed 2018 campaign. Here’s a closer look at how all the teams stack up in each group.

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