Canada get everything except the points against Belgium in World Cup return

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TeaOpportunities came one after the other. From distance and at close range. From corners, free kicks and open play. The fearless youngster from Canada who had overturned the long-standing system of North American soccer over the past few years burst onto the global stage and was taking it to the No. 2 team in the world.

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From the stars to the supporting cast, everyone spread their wings on Monday night. Stéphane Eustaquio, Jonathan David, Tjon Buchanan, Alphonso Davies, Richie Laria, Junior Hoilett, Alistair Johnston and aging captain Atiba Hutchinson, three months away from his 40th birthday, demand Belgium’s creaking backline and their world-class goalkeeper. Either of them would have written themselves into history as Canada’s first goalscorer in the men’s World Cup.

The fast-paced attacking scrum that defined the Canadians’ buzzsaw tear through CONCAF qualifying – and their first men’s World Cup appearance in nearly four decades – produced no fewer than 10 shots in the first half-hour. Each successive effort sent packs of Canada’s traveling fans, already enthralled by the team’s first rendition of Drake’s Started From the Bottom and a rapturous rendition to Canada’s national anthem, into a deafening wall of sound.

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Then, a minute after half-time, a dream turned to a nightmare. Michy Batshuayi ran on Toby Alderweireld’s inch-perfect ball from almost naught and clinically buried it in the far corner of the net, causing a constellation of white shirts to freeze in silence. It was Belgium’s first concrete chance of the game and, finally, what they needed to avoid three tempting points.

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But their prospects have changed dramatically under their 47-year-old manager John Herdman, from Consett in County Durham, who is already a national icon after leading the Canadian women’s team to back-to-back bronze medals at the 2012 and 2016 Olympics. He was a hero. Buoyed by a glut of young stars who have developed into key contributors at European clubs, including Champions League winners Davies (Bayern Munich), David (Lille), Buchanan (Club Brugge) and Kyle Larrinne (Besiktas), they went 17 games unbeaten Qualifying in three grueling rounds of CONCACAF qualified until the final window of the Games and finished clear of both Mexico and the United States at the top of the group.

An emotional Herdman said after the game, “I’m proud of the performance.” “But you need to take three points in your first game. We had an opportunity tonight to top the group, that was the mission, and we lost it. But these boys showed they can stay on this stage And I think he made the fans proud and made them feel like they belonged here.

Herdman’s wholesale culture change bodes well for 2026, when Canada will co-host the World Cup with the US and Mexico. But with a crucial match with Croatia suddenly in four days, looking ahead is the last thing on their mind.

“We’re going and impressing Croatia, as easy as it gets,” he said. “Now it’s our next mission.”

Canada get everything except the points against Belgium in World Cup return

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