Courtois pulled off the second team in the world.
Watching the game between Belgium and Canada, I wanted to exclaim: “Wake me up! This is some unreal dream!”. The Canadians dominated, and the world’s second-ranked FIFA team fought back as best they could. “The Maple Leafs outclassed the Belgians in movement, ball-handling, and even playmaking. The pressure of the team of a completely unknown in Europe English coach John Herdman severed the ties between the opposing players. By midway through the first half, the score on shots was 8-1 in favor of the North Americans: perhaps even in a hockey game, there would not have been such a superiority of Canada over Belgium.
The Canadians deserved a quick goal and should have scored when African referee Jeannie Sikazwe only made out the hand play by Yannick Carrasco in his own penalty area thanks to video replays. The duel on the 11-meter shot turned out to be very cool – Bayern versus Real Madrid. But Alfonso Davies shot badly, so Thibaut Courtois only had to jump where his opponent sent the ball. In general, in the first half, the referees could have awarded the 11-meter penalty to Belgium three times.
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Roberto Martinez’s team’s attacking stars dropped out of the game. Kevin de Bruyne and Michy Batshuayi, for instance, combined to touch less than goalkeeper Courtois before the break. Nevertheless, the Belgians realized that it was better to get out from under the Canadians’ pressure with long passes, as they risked leaving their defenders one-on-one with the attacking players. The center of the Maple Leafs’ defense isn’t exactly a top-flight team – two from Montreal and one from Portugal’s Chaves. After simple throws, Eden Hazard and Toby Alderweireld created chances for Batshuayi. In the second, the center-forward, taking advantage of Kamal Miller’s positional error, ran towards goal and scored. The result of 45 minutes of the game was terribly unfair.
Team Canada did everything to win this game. They outscored Belgium by a factor of two and a half, 22-9! And you wouldn’t say that the Maple Leafs lacked skill to convert their chances. Davies, Jonathan David from Lille. But the Canadians were out of luck. When the opponents have a brilliant Courtois in goal, luck is often on his team’s side.