Belgium´s De Bruyne bemused after winning man of the match award

Belgium are next in action against Morocco on Sunday

November 24, 2022
De Bruyne struggled to get into the game against Canada — FIFA World Cup

DOHA: Belgium star Kevin De Bruyne was left confused after being named man of the match in his team´s World Cup win over Canada on Wednesday, saying he "didn´t know why" he was given the trophy.

De Bruyne struggled to get into the game and was often left throwing his arms in frustration as Belgium scraped to a 1-0 victory thanks to Michy Batshuayi´s first-half goal.

"I don´t think I played a great game. I don´t know why I got the trophy. Maybe it´s because of the name," said the Manchester City midfielder.

"We didn´t play well enough as a team, we didn´t find any solutions and we started really bad.

"In the second half, when we started to get through their pressing there was more space but I don´t think we played a good game today, me included, but at least we found a way to win."

Canada wasted numerous chances, including a missed Alphonso Davies penalty, in their first World Cup match since 1986.

Belgium are next in action against Morocco on Sunday, when Canada take on 2018 runners-up Croatia.

VAR controversy

Canada had a big penalty appeal turned down despite a VAR review when Axel Witsel was outpaced by Richie Laryea inside the area and then tripped his opponent.

Belgium grabbed the lead out of nothing when a simple long ball over the top from Toby Alderweireld found the run of Batshuayi who hammered home left-footed.

There was still time for Canada to create, and waste, another glorious opportunity before the break, as Laryea´s low cross was fired over on the slide by Buchanan from six yards out.

Martinez made a double substitution at half-time to try and stem the tide, with Thomas Meunier replacing Carrasco and Everton youngster Amadou Onana coming into the midfield.

Canada could have levelled just minutes after the restart, though, as David headed wide from Stephen Eustaquio´s delicious cross after the Porto midfielder had nutmegged Kevin De Bruyne.

Herdman´s men continued to flood forward, but could not find the finishing touch required, with Buchanan miskicking horribly from the edge of the box.

The more men Canada committed, the more dangerous Belgium looked on the break and Laryea made a wonderful last-ditch tackle to deny Batshuayi a second goal.

Substitute Cyle Larin, the top scorer in CONCACAF qualifying for the tournament, headed too close to Courtois in a frantic finale.

De Bruyne could have put the game to bed but blazed into the crowd, while Larin sent another header spinning over Courtois´ bar as Belgium fell over the line.