Canada loses heartbreaker to Belgium in its World Cup opener

Victory eluded the Canadians, but they won the respect of the soccer world after completely bossing the No. 2-ranked Belgians on Wednesday in Qatar.

Canada loses heartbreaker to Belgium in its World Cup opener
  • Canada 0, Belgium 1 (Batshuayi 44’)
  • Canadian men’s team still searching for its 1st World Cup goal
  • Alphonso Davies had penalty saved; would’ve given Canada the lead

Few people gave the Canadian men’s team much of a chance when it faced France in its first ever World Cup game in 1986 in Mexico.

The French were the reigning European champions, and boasted world-class players the calibre of Michel Platini, Jean Tigana and Alain Giresse. Canada’s squad, meanwhile, featured players who had part-time jobs, so the expectation was that Les Bleus would have an easy time of it.

But the Canadians went toe-to-toe with France, putting them under wave after wave of pressure with their fearless attacking play before conceding in the 78th minute en route to a tough 1-0 loss. In the post-match press conference, Platini was full of praise for Canada, saying, “You gotta give the Canadians credit, they played hard. It was difficult for us. We’re happy to score that one goal.”

History repeated itself 36 years later on Wednesday as Canada returned to the World Cup for the first time, fearlessly outplaying heavily favoured Belgium but coming out on the wrong end of a heartbreaking 1-0 loss in its opening Group F match in Qatar.