Fortunately, we have a Royal keeper: the Red Devils start the World Cup with a very flattered victory against Canada

Fortunately, we have a Royal keeper: the Red Devils start the World Cup with a very flattered victory against Canada

How canada? That’s how it is. The Red Devils suffered in their first World Cup match, but if the need is high, there is still Thibaut Courtois. He took a penalty from Davies in the first half and kept Belgium afloat. Then Michy Batshuayi did the rest with one flash: 1-0. However, if we want to play a leading role in this World Cup, we have to do better. The best goalkeeper in the world won’t always solve it.

In Qatar they don’t like the rainbow colors. Promoting diversity is not allowed at this World Cup, so the colorful OneLove captain’s armband was banned by FIFA under penalty of fines and yellow cards. The Red Devils and all other countries bowed to that pressure, but the Belgians still saw all the colors of the rainbow during their first World Cup match. And it was not a protest. Or at least not consciously. That would have been punishment.

The Devils waived because they were overrun by the Canadians from the opening phase. We were warned in advance about the speed and the blazing enthusiasm of The Canucks, but they really stepped onto the field like whirlwinds. With them it went twice as fast as with us. The flanks were flogged through roadrunners Alphonso Davies and Tajon Buchanan, and when Carrasco let himself be put away too easily, Canada forced a dubious corner. In the following phase, Buchanan hit the leather against the hand of screwed up Carrasco and the VAR irrevocably put the leather on the dot. Fortunately, at such times we have the best goalkeeper in the world. Bayern star Alphonso Davies was able to score Canada’s first ever World Cup goal, but Thibaut Courtois saved his penalty. The Royal goalkeeper was thus crowned the first Belgian keeper to stop an eleven meter at a World Cup since the observations began in 1966. What a relief. What a shan too.

Photo: AP

Rabbit’s foot Dendoncker

Although that luck may not have been so coincidental. Roberto Martinez chose Leander Dendoncker over Zeno Debast in his starting line-up. Coincidence or not, but with Dendoncker in the team, the Devils have never lost an international match: 23 victories and 6 draws. You should use a rabbit’s foot like that. Especially since Belgium no longer seems to be the top country that the Canadians thought it was. Kevin De Bruyne only made three successful passes in the first half hour. He was simply far too little reached. Witsel had to toil, Tielemans was too flat and Castagne had to survive. Canada nevertheless took great risks by rushing forward with a large crowd and leaving a lot of space behind. Unfortunately, the Belgian passes did not reach their goal. In the stands, Romelu Lukaku once lowered his head into his lap.

Also King Kev started to get excited. When Toby Alderweireld sent another long ball, he even got an admonition: play in the feet. The resentment was aroused, but moments later the Antwerp defender threw the ball behind the defense again. Like a deus ex machina, Michy Batshuayi was there. The striker had not hit a ball until then, but that one ball touch was great. Batsman always turns up unexpectedly and scored the 1-0: his 27th Belgian goal already. He is the pure definition of a striker. At the back, Alderweireld gestured to De Bruyne: see. Martinez had to put out the fire.

Fortunately, we have a Royal keeper: the Red Devils start the World Cup with a very flattered victory against Canada

Photo: EPA-EFE

With five defenders

Is that the difference between an inexperienced and an experienced team? The goal couldn’t have come at a better time, because the question was whether the Canadians would maintain their high pace. Roberto Martinez switched gears in any case and took Carrasco and Tielemans aside for Meunier and Onana. We even started playing with five defenders to survive. The rainbow we had seen dissolved a bit. Davies and co. couldn’t keep up their record pace, allowing the Devils to escape the pressure.

Martinez made his usual substitution after an hour and brought Eden Hazard to the side for Leandro Trossard. The captain was quite a resting point in this match, but the wit was not over. What do we do with that for the next match?

There are still a lot of question marks, but the most important thing is that Belgium won its first World Cup match. Thanks to Courtois and also to Batshuayi. Against Morocco, Michy can paint his nails in the colors of the rainbow.

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