Alphonso Davies can’t believe he had his penalty kick saved. (Danielle Parhizkaran-USA TODAY Sports)
Like it or not, it doesn’t matter how well you play well or if you have outplayed the opposition in the World Cup.
Simply put, the bottom line is taking advantage of your scoring chances, however scant they might be, and turning them into goals and eventually wins.
Canada botched that opportunity and suffered the consequences, a frustrating Group F loss to Belgium at Ahmad bin Ali Stadium in Al-Rayyan in Qatar on Wednesday.
The result left the four Concacaf teams winless after their opening matches at 0-2-2, not the start the teams’ fans, players and coaches had hoped for. The United States played a 1-1 draw with Iran on Monday. Mexico and Poland wound up in a scoreless draw on Tuesday. Earlier Wednesday, Spain took apart and embarrassed Costa Rica with a 7-0 triumph.
And now the Canadian defeat.
The Maple Leafs came out strong, forcing the issue and their performance was rewarded when a penalty kick was given after Belgium’s Yannick Carrasco was called for handball in the box, aided by a VAR decision.
Alphonso Davies sent a rather poor PK attempt that goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois saved while diving to the left in the 10th minute. The rebound bounced around in the area before the Belgians cleared.
The Canadians who were blanked in three games in their first only World Cup appearance in Mexico in 1986, are still looking for their first World Cup goal.
Canada continued to attack, but its shots either were blocked or off target.
As it turned out, the Belgians were fortunate to score against the run of play in the 44th minute, when Michy Batshuayi scored off a Toby Alderweireld assist.
The Belgium regained its rhythm in the second half, stifling many Canadian attacks before they got started.
Second-half substitute Kyle Larin had Canada’s best scoring opportunity as his header from the middle of the box was saved by Courtois, who leaped to his right to snare the ball.