Both nations are heading into the match on the back of contrasting results in their warm up friendlies last week, with the Red Devils losing 2-1 to Egypt, while Canada got the better of Japan with a similar scoreline.
Belgium’s ‘Golden Generation’ has almost reached the twilight of their career and it could be a make-or-break World Cup for them. The Red Devils will begin their Qatar World Cup campaign with a Group F fixture against Canada on Wednesday night. The two nations had earned automatic qualification to the tournament and that too with consummate ease. Belgium went undefeated in the UEFA qualifying campaign, while the Reds finished on top of CONCACAF qualifying group. Meanwhile both teams are heading into the match on the back of contrasting results in their warm up friendlies last week, with the Red Devils losing 2-1 to Egypt, while Canada got the better of Japan with a similar scoreline.
For the first time in 13,316 days…
— Canada Soccer (@CanadaSoccerEN) November 23, 2022
The Red Devils are expected to go out all guns blazing and get the job done on Wednesday night. The European outfit would most likely opt for a three-man backline consisting of Zeno Debast. Toby Alderweireld and Vertonghen. The Key to Belgium going all the way heavily depends on the attackers. Although talismanic striker Romelu Lukaku is still recovering from injury and is not available for their opening game, Michy Batshuayi is in fine form to spearhead the attack alongside Eden Hazard. Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne would be deployed behind the strikers and the 31-year-old is expected to provide those killer passes. The big advantage Martinez has is that Belgium has so much depth and variety in their squad that the Spanish tactician can opt for different tactics depending on the need of the hour. Pacey wingers Yanick Carrasco and Castagne are capable of delivering quality crosses for the big striker, while De Bruyne can open up the opposition defence down the middle and Hazard is a world class dribbler who can take on players with ease and make something out of nothing.
Canada, on the other hand, who will be playing their first World Cup match in 36 years are expected to sit back, defend and try to hit the opposition on the counter. The absence of Bayern Munich-man Alphonso Davies, because of a hamstring problem, is a big blow to the Reds, as the 22-year-old southpaw is capable of playing as a winger, full-back and a number 10, if needed. Atiba Hutchinson, who is just two short of his 100th international cap, could partner Stephen Eustaquio in the engine room and their primary objective would be to contain De Bruyne and when the opportunities arrives, deliver quality passes to the attacking-duo of Jonathan David and Cyle Larin.
Since Lukaku is unavailable for Wednesday’s game Batshuayi is the most likely candidate to occupy the centre forward position with Eden Hazard in support. De Bruyne could be the playmaker in the side, with Axel Witsel and Tielemans forming the midfield-duo. Carrasco and Castagne might occupy the flanks. As for Canada, John Herdman is likely to opt for a stable defensive lineup with a 4-4-2 formation. Lareya, Steven, Vitoria and Miler could form the back-four, with Buchanan and Hutchinson sitting in front of them in the engine room.
Belgium probable starting lineup(3-4-3): Courtois, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Debast, Meunier, Tielemans, Witsel, Castagne, De Bruyne, Batshuayi, E HazardCanada probable starting lineup(4-4-2): Borjan, Lareya, Johnston, Steven, Vitoria, K Miller, Adekugbe, Buchanan, Hutchinson, Eustaquio, David, Larin