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Can Belgium show that their ‘Golden Generation is ready against Canada?
Belgium to win 3-1
Tournament: FIFA World Cup 2022 | Venue: Al Rayyan, Ahmed bin Ali StadiumBet Now
You feel that it may be now or never for this talented Belgium team, considering the ages of their best players and the experiences they have been through in recent tournaments.
On the positive side, they are one of only three teams to have been present at the Quarter Finals stage of each of the last two World Cups.
However, considering the sheer talent that they’ve had at their fingertips, and the fact that they were the number 1 ranked nation in the world for several years, the feeling is that they could have made more of it.
Can this finally be their year?
On the other hand, Canada are entering their first World Cup since 1986. It is unclear just how they will fare at this tournament, given how young and inexperienced their squad is at this level.
There are some brilliantly talented players among their squad, so we could be in for a surprise or two along the way.
FIFA Ranking: 2
Predicted Finish: Semi Finals
Reasons to be cheerful:
Spectacular players throughout the squad
Have been in the FIFA rankings top two since 2018
Reasons to be fearful:
Teams rarely win tournaments with such ageing defences
Negative results, like losing 4-1 to Netherlands in June, show mixed form
Each World Cup or Euros that comes around, the question that usually gets asked is: “can Belgium finally win something with this team?”
With Kevin De Bruyne, Romelu Lukaku, Thibaut Courtois, Eden Hazard and plenty of others in their ranks, it’s a surprise how Belgium haven’t won something. They’ve never even made a final.
With many of those now in their 30s, this could be their final World Cup, at least at the peak of their powers.
One or two of their players, like Lukaku, are either unfit or out of form, so they’ll need to hit the ground running here to build momentum. They can’t afford any upsets against the likes of Canada.
Star Man – Kevin De Bruyne
De Bruyne is ever the effortless genius that can pick a pass from anywhere on the pitch and drive his team on to glory. With others around him not in the best form, there will be a lot of pressure on his shoulders here.
FIFA Ranking: 41
Predicted Finish: Group Stage
Reasons to be cheerful
Sprinkling of star quality in Davies and David
Will have plenty of pace and energy
Reasons to be fearful
Unlikely to make it out of the group
Most of their squad isn’t tested at elite level
There is some uncertainty surrounding Canada at this World Cup, and the challenge that they can present to the two established nations of Group F.
While opponents Belgium, and 2018 runners-up Croatia, will be favourites to progress to the knockout rounds, Canada will be in the mood to cause an upset as underdogs.
It won’t be easy, and if they do cause a problem it might be against Croatia rather than this superpowered Belgium team.
Even so, they have some stars of their own to boast of, not least Alphonso Davies of Bayern Munich and Jonathan David of Lille. Both are young stars who have already made it to the elite in Europe.
Does the rest of their squad have enough to trouble Belgium, however?
Star Man – Jonathan David
Scored nine goals in qualifying, only behind his Canadian teammates Cyle Larin. His club form has been exceptional of late, too, with nine goals in 15 games this season.
Belgium’s quality should see them control possession
Canada will be pacey on the counterattack
Could be goals at both ends
Judging by the world rankings of these two teams, and the star quality on offer, you would expect that this would be a comfortable win for Belgium to start their World Cup campaign.
We are often surprised by nations like Canada, however. They have athletic, technically gifted players who are in good form for their club sides and could spring a shock if their opponents aren’t quite at it.
We are expecting Belgium to be at it, of course, and are therefore favourites to claim three points.
Belgium to win 3-1
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