Michy Batshuayi was the difference on the night as Belgium escaped with a 1-0 wim against Canada in the opening game of their 2022 World Cup campaign.
Making a return to the World Cup finals after 36 years, Canada missed a golden opportunity to take an early lead, as Alphonso Davies had a penalty saved.
Batshuayi capitalized on that just before half-time as he smashed home to give Belgium the lead and eventually the only goal of the game.
The win places Belgium on top of Group F with three points after Morocco and Croatia had settled for a goalless draw in the earlier fixture in the group.
Speaking after the match, Belgium coach Roberto Martinez said that the victory to him was more important than the performance.
He said, “It was such a difficult game. Canada were better than us in what we wanted to do. They have a lot of pace and directness, and to be fair we had to show another side to our play.
“I’m delighted because we won the game through grit and experience, and the quality of our goalkeeper that can keep you in a game with a penalty save. The victory for me is more important than when you play well.
Canada coach John Herdman rued the points missed but noted the laudable performance of his team.
“I’m proud of the performance, but you need to take three points in your first game. We had an opportunity tonight to go top of the group, that was the mission and we missed.
Qatar: WC Lights Up To Show Solidarity For Ailing Pele
World Cup host nation Qatar showed its support for Pele on Saturday, lighting up buildings with a “Get well soon” message for the Brazil football great.
The Lusail Stadium in Doha, which will host the World Cup final on December 18, and the Aspire Tower next to the Khalifa Stadium, were adorned with pictures of Pele in his famous number 10 shirt.
On the Corniche, the Qatari capital’s seafront promenade, the dozens of drones that come alive each night drew a Brazil shirt with Pele’s name and number 10 on the back.
Pele was admitted to hospital in Sao Paulo earlier this week for what doctors said was a “re-evaluation” of the chemotherapy he has been undergoing since surgery to remove a colon tumour in September last year.
Players in Qatar have expressed concerns for the health of the three-time World Cup winner, who is now 82.
France striker Kylian Mbappe on Saturday tweeted: “Pray for the King.”
England captain Harry Kane offered his support for Pele at a press conference ahead of his team’s last-16 tie against Senegal.
“We send our best wishes to him and obviously all his family as well,” said Kane. “He is an inspiration amongst our game and an incredible footballer and incredible person. We wish him well.”
Doctors treating Pele said Friday that he was being treated with antibiotics.
Pele has taken to Instagram to thank well-wishers for their show of support.
“It’s always nice to receive positive messages like this. Thanks to Qatar for this tribute, and to everyone who sends me good vibes!”
Oliseh praises Morocco, Senegal historic World Cup feat
Former Super Eagles coach and a member of the FIFA Technical Study Group for the 2022 World Cup, Sunday Oliseh, has hailed Senegal and Morocco for reaching the knockout stage of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
Morocco edged past Canada to top Group F and reach the World Cup knockout stage for the first time in 36 years.
Morocco finished on seven points, two more than runners-up Croatia, to advance from the group stage of the tournament to the next for a second time, 36 years after they became the first African country to do so at the Mexico World Cup in 1986.
The Atlas Lions, whose previous trip to the last 16 came in 1986, finished above 2018 finalists Croatia, while Belgium – ranked second in the world – are out after finishing third in the group.
Oliseh was impressed with the performance of the two African sides at the World Cup.
“The Euphoria here in Qatar is infectious as my in-laws, Morocco, achieve a historic second round World cup qualification. First, Senegal now this. What a World Cup for Africa with African coaches! I feel more is coming.” Oliseh said on Twitter.
He also applauded Mohammed Kudus for his creative display in Ghana’s 2-0 defeat to Uruguay, adding that the future of the Black Stars is bright.
“Just watched Mohammed Kudus, a superstar on which Ghana can rebuild a top Black Stars team. A skilful, fast creative, humble, strong, sharp, shooter, hardworking with leadership “on pitch” qualities.
Dede Ayew trends after missing penalty against Uruguay
Black Stars captain, Andre Dede Ayew is in the top trends after missing a penalty in Ghana’s game against Uruguay at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
Ghana started the game very slow but managed to get one chance in the game which saw Jordan Ayew shoot the ball and Mohammed Kudus followed with a rebound and won a penalty for Ghana by the 19th minute.
Referee Daniel Siebert whistled for an offside but after consultation with the Video Assistant Referee, he awarded a penalty to Ghana.
Captain of the side, Andre Ayew volunteered himself to take the kick for the Black Stars.
Unfortunately, Andre Ayew had his penalty saved by the Uruguay goalkeeper who went in the right direction to deny Ghana a goal.
Following the miss by Andre Ayew, the Black Stars captain has been trending on social media ever since.
Read some of the comments on social media below
“And we have in our local dialect, Penalty mp3 Dede” pic.twitter.com/BBpMO0VuiL
— Weffrey Jellington (@jeffwellz) December 2, 2022
Dede Ayew should stay in Qatar
— Serwaa Amihere (@Serwaa_Amihere) December 2, 2022
AYEW KIDDING ME??? This is worse than Asamoah Gyan’s penalty ???????????????????????????????????? pic.twitter.com/BJWg4bZtmz
— SP ???????? (@septimusajprime) December 2, 2022
Confirmed … he sell the match .. Penalty mp3 Dede pic.twitter.com/WNQZCqvdKb
— Mr Carter (@GhCarter4) December 2, 2022
Penalty mp3 Dede ???????????????????????????? pic.twitter.com/jMTnXdzNSt
— Lormi ???????? (@Lormi_) December 2, 2022
Penalty mp3 Dede????
— ANITA???? (@Anita__Akuffo) December 2, 2022
“Penalty mp3 Dede” pic.twitter.com/R34KEdkHiF
— Tema Mayor ???????? (@Pro_designer_) December 2, 2022
Penalty mp3 Dede
Deden’t it??????????? pic.twitter.com/eOOpx3uY9R
— The Truth Teller (@Truthteller2154) December 2, 2022
Ghanaians right now ????????
Mmoa come talk ????????????
Penalty mp3 dede ???????????? pic.twitter.com/ubcrGC9iSG
— Bra Qwameh #JamzAlbum (@BraQwameh) December 2, 2022
What’s Kudus doing?
Penalty mp3 Dede???????????? pic.twitter.com/CtBnqY3BgA
— Hon. ADB???????? (@official_ADB2) December 2, 2022
Penalty mp3 Dede
—This picture is useful after all —
????Transfer of nonfa penalty ???? pic.twitter.com/lzrvEfUED7
— Grandee (@officialgrandee) December 2, 2022
Penalty mp3 Dede pic.twitter.com/ncwgmEhsVL
— KAY????➗ (@man_like_kayyy) December 2, 2022
Penalty mp3 dede ???????????? @gyaigyimii pic.twitter.com/k8xumMiWcg
— Hajia Labaran (@uptimegh1) December 2, 2022
Penalty mp3 Dede pic.twitter.com/w0R8iS7l1A
— Nathan_tagoe (@Nathantagoe1) December 2, 2022
Penalty mp3 Dede ???????????? pic.twitter.com/A0QJQigzWK
— MANTSE???? DARKO???? (@ZaamaniAMF45) December 2, 2022
handing over done successfully ????????????
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