Belgium kicked off their 2022 World Cup finals in Qatar with a narrow 1-0 win against Canada on Thursday evening.
Roberto Martinez’s side have been placed alongside Croatia, Morocco and Canada in Group F.
The Red Devils ave one of the best and strongest teams at the 2022 World Cup and are expected to go far in the competition.
Belgium got off to a good start, at least results-wise, with a 1-0 victory over North American side Canada.
Former Chelsea striker Michy Batshuayi, now at Fenerbahce, scored the only goal for the European team in the 44th minute.
It was not a particularly great performance from Belgium, and former Everton boss Martinez is aware of that.
Martinez said: “Canada deserved to be better than us in the way they played. I think the result reflects the things that we had to do and the way we defended for each other and took our chance.
“It’s a win and we need to play better and to grow. We’ve been here five days, we have to grow with these games. Many top teams are losing games.
“This tournament is going to make you develop and grow as the tournament goes on. If you do that by winning games, it’s an incredible advantage.
“Today we didn’t win by our normal talent and quality on the ball, but you don’t win in the World Cup if you don’t do the other side of the game.
“We need to be realistic, we need to play well but when a team can win without playing well, it’s a lot to build on.”
This is what we learned from the win for Belgium, who are rated at 5/1 on Betfair to reach the semi-finals at the 2022 Qatar World Cup, against Canada:
Canada a force to be reckoned with
Yes, Canada lost in the end, but the North American side were largely the better of the two teams in the game. After all, it needed a penalty from Belgium to pick up all three points from the encounter. Canada realised that the way they could beat Belgium was to get in behind and attack the right flank where Jan Vertonghen and Yannick Carrasco operated in the first half. It almost worked. Canada showed against Belgium that they can finish runners-up in the group or even win it.
Thibaut Courtois is genuinely world class
Much is made about Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson and Manchester City custodian Ederson, and while the Brazilian duo are really brilliant, you have to mention Real Madrid and Belgium international goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois is among the best as well. The former Chelsea star has been superb for Madrid over the years and played a big role in Carlo Ancelotti’s side winning La Liga and the UEFA Champions League last season. And he was arguably the best player for Belgium in their narrow win against Canada. Courtois denied Alphonso Davies from the penalty spot in the opening minutes of the first half and also made a number of superb saves.
Eden Hazard showing encouraging signs
Eden Hazard was far from his best for Belgium against Canada, but the Real Madrid attacking player did show some encouraging signs. The former Chelsea star was good on the ball, made some lovely passes, and was willing to take people on. However, it is clear that Hazard has lost some of his pace due to his injuries at Madrid. The 31-year-old, who can also operate as a winger or as an attacking midfielder, has not played much for a while at club level, and that showed on occasions against Canada. Hazard has made one start and two substitute appearances in La Liga and has made one start and two substitute appearances in the UEFA Champions League for Madrid so far this season.