Belgium kicked off their 2022 FIFA World Cup campaign with an unconvincing 1-0 win over Canada on Wednesday night.
The result saw the Red Devils go top of Group F, with Canada in last place after the first round of fixtures.
But those positions could easily have been reversed had the North Americans taken just a fraction of their chances.
Canada ended the game having registered 22 shots – 13 more than Belgium – but none of them found a way past Thibaut Courtois.
Indeed, only four of Canada’s shots required action from Courtois, including an 11th-minute penalty that the Real Madrid shot stopper palmed away after a tame effort from Alphonso Davies.
Belgium looked disjointed and sluggish for much of the night at Ahmed bin Ali Stadium.
But they breached the Canadian defense just before half-time when a long pass from Toby Alderweireld found Michy Batshuayi, who rifled home with his left foot.
Belgium continued to struggle in their efforts to control the game in the second half.
But Roberto Martinez’s side did just enough to hold on for three points.
Martinez later admitted in his post-game interview with BBC Sport that “Canada were better than us.”
Canada have still never scored a World Cup goal. This was their fourth game in the tournament’s history.
Wednesday had earlier begun with a 0-0 draw between Croatia and Morocco elsewhere in Group F.
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