With a match against Group F rivals Morocco on Sunday at Al Thumama Stadium, Belgium will continue its quest for a first World Cup with the goal of getting at least one foot into the knockout rounds.
The Red Devils will try to subdue the Atlas Lions after they held Croatia to a scoreless draw in their previous match, which they edged out against Canada.
Belgium began their latest quest for an elusive big title on Wednesday evening as they faced a country that had been absent from the World Cup finals for over four decades. Belgium qualified quite easily, averaging over three goals per game in the process.
During the first half of their matchup in Al Rayyan, Group F outsiders Canada flourished on their return to the international stage and had a penalty saved by Thibaut Courtois early on. However, Michy Batshuayi’s strike in the 44th minute ultimately determined the outcome of the three points.
Romelu Lukaku was out with an injury, but Kevin De Bruyne took his place and helped Fenerbahce to a crucial victory on the first day of the season. Other players also struggled, notably playmaker Kevin De Bruyne, who strangely won the day’s man of the match award.
Belgium leads their group going into Sunday’s second game after Croatia and Morocco drew 0-0 earlier in the day, but they will undoubtedly need to improve when playing more difficult competition.
An aging “Golden Generation” will likely continue to rely on Batshuayi up front, and his ability to fill in for the Red Devils’ all-time leading scorer, Romelu Lukaku, who has 68 goals from 102 international appearances and five in ten World Cup games, will be essential to their chances in Qatar.
The Belgians still want to improve on their third-place result in 2018, but first they must take care of business against a nation they defeated 1-0 in their only previous World Cup encounter, in USA ’94. This could be coach Roberto Martinez’s final game.