Belgium squeeze past spirited Canada

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DOHA, QATAR - NOVEMBER 23: Michy Batshuayi of Belgium celebrates scoring their first goal during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Group F match between Belgium and Canada at Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium on November 23, 2022 in Doha, Qatar. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
DOHA, QATAR - NOVEMBER 23: Michy Batshuayi of Belgium celebrates scoring their first goal during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Group F match between Belgium and Canada at Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium on November 23, 2022 in Doha, Qatar. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Belgium started their FIFA World Cup 2022 campaign in Group F with a narrow 1-0 win over Canada on Wednesday evening.

Thibaut Courtois, Timothy Castagne, Kevin De Bruyne, Eden Hazard, Youri Tielemans and Aixel Witsel lined-up for Belgians, who were without all-time leading scorer Romelu Lukaku.

Davies missed a golden chance to put the Canadians ahead from the penalty spot on ten minutes as he was denied by Courtois after Yannick Carrasco was flagged by referee Janny Sikazwe for a hand-ball.

Belgium were urged alive following the scare and a strike from a tight angle by Michy Batshuayi forced a strong block from Milan Borja before Courtois denied Alistair Johnston at the other end.

Despite the bright spell, Canada trailed a minute before halftime when Batshuayi made a clever run behind the defence and thumped in a long ball from Toby Alderweireld.

Belgium still threw on a double change at the break, with Thomas Meunier in for Carrasco before Tielemans made way for Everton midfielder Amadou Onana.

The Reds were very nearly back on equal terms minutes in the second half from a clever header by David in the area, but the forward strayed wide of target.

A rather quiet spell with chances reduced to a premium and ball retention on the side of both nations from a defensive and offensive point of view were turned over repeatedly.

Canada had a massive chance ten minutes before time to draw level from a flying header by David in the six-yard area following a cross from the right, but Courtois produced a strong save.

The Reds pushed numbers forward all in search of the equaliser, but the second-highest ranked side in the world proved resilient and marched to victory.

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