Belgium registered a 1-0 win over Canada in their FIFA World Cup opener on Wednesday night.
2022 FIFA World Cup
Result: Belgium 1-0 Canada
Date: 23 November 2022
Venue: Ahmad bin Ali Stadium
The Red Devils were without Romelu Lukaku, who is recovering from a thigh injury and Michy Batshuayi led the front line, with support from the likes of Kevin De Bruyne and Eden Hazard, who captained the side.
Canada, meanwhile, made their first appearance at the World Cup in 36 years, as star-man Alphonso Davies shrugged off a hamstring injury to start.
The Maple Leafs were awarded a penalty on ten minutes from a Video Assistant Referee (VAR) review after a handball by Yannick Carrasco in the box. Davies went up but his low side-footed spot-kick was saved by goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois.
Roberto Martinez's charges created openings on counter-attacks but their decision-making in the last third often let them down.
Canada were spirited going forward, as Alistair Johnston had a chance to break the deadlock on the half-hour mark with a cracking shot that needed strong hands from Courtois to keep out of goal.
However, Belgium eventually used their chance on a counter-attack shortly before the interval after Batshuayi broke the deadlock with a side-footed mid-range shot towards the far post after a chip over the defence by Toby Alderweireld.
John Herdman's troops remained a threat going forward in the early stages of the second stanza but they did not have the finishing touches in the final third.
Belgium, who looked to pick off Canada on transitions, added more pace going forward just after the hour-mark, as Leandro Trossard replaced Eden Hazard.
The Maple Leafs kept on fighting to get back into the game as Cyle Larin forced a reflex save out of Courtois with a towering header in the box after a well placed cross.
Canada had the momentum in the dying minutes but Belgium had the numbers at the back, as they held their nerve to start off Group F as the only side with maximum points after a stalemate between Morocco and Croatia earlier in the day.
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