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Belgium have Courtois to thank after narrow win over Canada

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One of the keys to success at a tournament like the World Cup is, on a bad day, having a team is capable of winning ugly. That is what Belgium did against Canada.

The Europeans got the prize in a drab match. They did just enough, but the difference in level between the two sides was decisive.

A superhero in goal

Belgium’s best player, the best goalkeeper in the world, came on to keep his side on their feet when the Americans were pressing hardest.

Real Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois saved a penalty from Alphonso Davies – a handball by Yannick Carrasco – that would have given the Canadians something to defend.

Brave in the pressure and very direct in attack, they managed to put Roberto Martinez‘s team on the ropes. They did not take advantage of it and ended up regretting it.

It was Courtois’ most decisive action, ten minutes into the match, but not the only one as the Real Madrid goalkeeper had more work than expected.

Kevin de Bruyne was also surprised by the thrust of the opponent, as evidenced by the scolding he gave his teammates on the quarter-hour mark.

Belgium could not make things happen in the Canadian half. On the contrary, all the action was taking place too close to their area.

Batshuayi’s strike

With so much trouble generating play, Belgium tried a new idea: the long ball, and that made the difference. It proved enough to find a leak in the Canadian defense and score a goal.

Toby Alderweireld, formerly of Atletico Madrid, pulled off a trademark long ball of his and Michy Batshuayi worked ma…

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