(Subedited by Riley Finch)
Hello everyone, my name is Lewis Pettman and welcome to today’s live blog of the group F game between Belgium and Canada. This tournament could represent the last chance for Belgium’s “Golden Generation” whilst Canada are at their first world cup since 1986 and are hoping for their first ever win at a world cup. A lot to play for in this opening world cup game stay tuned for live updates.
0: Belgium 0-0 Canada: Canada gets us underway at the Ahmad Bin Ali stadium
4: Belgium 0-0 Canada: Promising signs for Canada as they have dominated the ball in these opening stages, they look especially strong down the wings with Alphonso Davies and Tajon Buchanan.
7: Belgium 0-0 Canada: Chance! Canada work the ball well to Buchanan who whips in a cross which finds Jonathan David well but his shot is blocked for a Canada corner.
8: Belgium 0-0 Canada: VAR check! From the resulting corner, Buchanan yet again at the heart of it, his shot hits Yannick Carrasco in the arm.
9: Belgium 0-0 Canada: Penalty given! The referee goes over to the VAR monitor and gives Canada a penalty and books Carrasco in the process. Davies to take.
10: Belgium 0-0 Canada: Penalty missed! After a long delay Davies takes his penalty and misses, he rolls the ball in the bottom left corner and a huge save from Thibaut Courtois to keep the score 0-0.
18: Belgium 0-0 Canada: After the chaotic nature of the start of the game it has calmed down a lot since that penalty miss with Belgium now starting to get the ball and get into the game.
22: Belgium 0-0 Canada: This game has turned extremely sloppy with neither team getting a hold of the match. Countless fouls and losses of possession from both teams.
23: Belgium 0-0 Canada: Chance! Commentators curse strikes again, Eden Hazard beautifully beats Alistair Johnston and plays the ball into Youri Tielemans on the edge of the box who finds Michy Batshuayi whose shot is blocked by Atiba Hutchinson for a Belgium corner which comes to nothing.Embed from Getty Images
26: Belgium 0-0 Canada: Chance! The ball is laid off by Davies to veteran Hutchinson who lets his shot rip from the edge of the box, and it is wildly off target.
29: Belgium 0-0 Canada: A lot of play has come down Belgians’ left hand side with Carrasco seemingly being targeted by Canada as he gets outpaced by Richie Laryea who whips a ball into the box which comes to nothing.
31: Belgium 0-0 Canada: Chance! Canada are dominating again and the ball falls to Johnston in the box who thumps his shot straight at Courtois who saves well.
33: Belgium 0-0 Canada: Chance! Another Canada chance one of these have to go in eventually. The ball is whipped in by Junior Hoilett and finds David unmarked, but his looping header is too high and goes out for a Belgium goal kick.
37: Belgium 0-0 Canada: Not much has happened in the last few minutes but Canada will be hugely disappointed if they’re not a goal up at halftime. For Belgium they look shaky at the back a top team could really punish them.
39: Belgium 0-0 Canada: Penalty claim! The Canada play down the Belgian left-hand side continues as Laryea charges into the box. He is seemingly tripped by Axel Witsel with the Canadians up in arms. VAR had a look but didn’t deem it worthy of a penalty.
44: Belgium 1-0 Canada: GOAL!!! For all of Canada’s hard work they’ve been undone by one ball over the top. Alderweireld plays an absolute beauty of a ball over the top to Batshuayi who lets the ball come down as he absolutely smashes it in with his left foot to give the red devils the 1-0 lead. Canada are gutted.Embed from Getty Images
45: Belgium 1-0 Canada: There will be 5 minutes of added time.
45+2: Belgium 1-0 Canada: Chance! The ball is fizzed into the box along the ground to Buchanan whose shot is blazed miles over the bar.
45: Belgium 1-0 Canada: Half time at the Ahmad Bin Ali stadium and it’s the team ranked 2nd in the world who lead at the break thanks to a brilliant goal from MBatshuayi. That doesn’t tell the full story however as Canada have been the much better team creating chance after chance and missing a penalty in the 10th minute after a huge save from Courtois denied Davies as it stands Belgium will top the group but it’s all to play for in the second half.
45: Belgium 1-0 Canada: Double substitution for Belgium with Carrasco and Tielemans off for Thomas Meunier and Amadou Onana. The second half is now underway.
48: Belgium 1-0 Canada: Chance! Stephen Eustaquio with a cheeky nutmeg and he lofts the ball into David whose header is just wide of the post.
50: Belgium 1-0 Canada: Canada will be kicking themselves they’ve had 16 shots in this game to Belgium’s 4 but somehow Canada are the team losing 1-0.
53: Belgium 1-0 Canada: Yellow! Yellow card for Meunier as he goes up for a 50/50 with Hoilett but leaves his elbow on the Canadian and earns himself the first yellow card of the game. Freekick to Canada.
54: Belgium 1-0 Canada: Eustaquio lofts the ball in, but it misses everyone and goes straight out for a goal kick.Embed from Getty Images
56: Belgium 1-0 Canada: Yellow! The second yellow card of the game goes to the second Belgium substitute as Onana is running with the ball and catches Eustaquio with his arm and hits him in the face and receives.
58: Belgium 1-0 Canada: Sub! First sub for Canada with Cyle Larin on for Hoilett
58: Belgium 1-0 Canada: Sub! Canada makes another change with captain Hutchinson coming off for Ismael Kone.
62: Belgium 1-0 Canada: Sub! Belgium make their 3rd change of the game as the ineffective Hazard is replaced by Leandro Trossard.
63: Belgium 1-0 Canada: Chance! Buchanan has been praised a lot today but has been wasteful again. The ball finds him on the edge of the box and yet again he can’t keep his shot down as he blazes it over the bar and nearly out of the stadium.
66: Belgium 1-0 Canada: Great defending! Belgium have a potential counterattack but Kamal Miller puts in a superb tackle to deny goal scorer Batshuayi the chance to counter.
67: Belgium 1-0 Canada: Chance! Batshuayi involved again as the ball falls to him on the edge of the box in acres of space, he gets his shot off, but Laryea come out of nowhere and blocks the shot to deny Batshuayi.Embed from Getty Images
71: Belgium 1-0 Canada: Great burst of pace by Kevin De Bruyne as he beat the defender and whips the ball into Batshuayi whose touch lets him down. Chance wasted.
74: Belgium 1-0 Canada: The game has lost any real pace or energy in it as Canada look flat and deflated as it stands, I can’t see a way back into this for them. Belgium’s substitutes have taken this game away from Canada.
77: Belgium 1-0 Canada: Since saying that Canada have had all of the ball and have been constantly putting balls into the box which have not yet found their desired target.
78: Belgium 1-0 Canada: Sub! Batshuayi’s night is over as he is replaced by Lois Openda.
80: Belgium 1-0 Canada: Huge chance! One of them crosses finally paying off as the ball finds Cyle Larin and he powers his header towards goal forcing a save out of Courtois.
81: Belgium 1-0 Canada: Double sub! Canada make two changes with the effective Laryea and promising Buchanan coming off for Jonathan Osario and Liam Millar.
81: Belgium 1-0 Canada: Yellow! Davies is booked for a foul on Trossard
83: Belgium 1-0 Canada: Yellow! Canada showing their tired legs with another yellow card. Substitute Openda shows his pace and bursts away from Johnston who cynically brings him down with a kind of scissor kick and earns himself a yellow for his troubles. Freekick for Belgium goes to waste.Embed from Getty Images
87: Belgium 1-0 Canada: Poor from Trossard! De Bruyne feeds Trossard who is 1v1 with Millar he gets past the defender but can’t keep the ball in play.
90: Belgium 1-0 Canada: Canada are applying the pressure to Belgium with a flurry of crosses which eventually win them a corner. The corner is over everyone and goes out for a goal kick, Canada will be disappointed with their delivery.
90: Belgium 1-0 Canada: There will be a surprisingly low amount of added time in 5 minutes.
90+6: Full time: Belgium 1-0 Canada
That’s full time, Belgium scrape a 1-0-win against Canada. Canada had a strong first-half winning a penalty after a handball by Carrasco, but Davies was unable to convert with Courtois saving well down to his right. Belgium then took the lead just before half time with a brilliant goal by Batshuayi as Toby Alderweireld played a beautiful ball over the top. The second-half was tight and scrappy as Canada failed to improve on their impressive first-half and appeared to run out of steam as they couldn’t conjure anything in the second half. A good result for Belgium but they will be worried about their performance especially at the back. For Canada they can take a lot of positives from today’s game as they gave Belgium a good game but will be disappointed with their finishing and crosses into the box.