It was a dominant performance for Canada against Belgium in their first World Cup game in 36 years. Unfortunately, the score won’t reflect that as they fell 1-0 in their Group F opener on Wednesday in Qatar.

Despite the result, I thought Les Rouges completely dominated Belgium, particularly in the first 45 minutes. There was a clear and obvious penalty that should’ve been called and Alphonso Davies missing a PK was also not ideal, but that’s football.

I was impressed with Canada’s reaction overall after going down 1-0 just before halftime; they continued to create chance after chance against a strong Belgium side. Sadly, when you’re on the world’s biggest stage, you have to put your opportunities away, and Belgium showed that it only takes a half chance over the top or set piece opportunity to make a difference.

This is why football is the most beautiful sport but also one of the hardest games. Canada deserved a win, but in the end, goals are what it's all about.

Here is how I felt each player performed.

Milan Borjan
Goalkeeper · Canada

The Red Star Belgrade No. 1 had a solid performance. There was nothing he could do to stop Belgium from scoring in the 44th minute. Other than that, he was fantastic at keeping his line and the team organized at the back.

The backline was resolute and the CF Montréal man was a standout. He did look shaky at times and a bit nervous going after challenges early on, but recovered well as the game progressed. Johnston's crossing ability continues to stand out.

Solid defensively for most of the game, Vitória made life very difficult for Michy Batshuayi. The Belgian striker would ultimately score on one of the few chances he had.


Of the three center backs, Kamal Miller was the most impressive. The 25-year-old made big tackles and key plays all night. Simply outstanding stuff from the CF Montréal defender.

Tajon Buchanan
Midfielder · Canada

The former New England Revolution speedster was very good on the day as he covered a lot of ground and created havoc all game through 1v1 situations.

The 39-year-old captain didn't look his age, as he covered a lot of ground all game. He organized his men and was clearly the most vocal player on the field. A true leader in all senses.

Eustáquio was absolutely fantastic and one of the best players on the field. The Porto midfielder went toe-to-toe against Kevin De Bruyne, stopping the Manchester City star at various moments. Eustáquio was also consistent at the start of the attack for Canada.

The Toronto FC man was good defensively and did his job properly, but lacked his usual creativity and service against the Belgians.

It was an uncharacteristically quiet game for the Lille forward. In this stage, he has to finish his chances, especially when his team is dominating for the majority of the game.

Another star who was not his usual self. Hoilett lacked calmness up top when looking to finish chances. Not his best performance, just like David.

The Bayern Munich superstar doesn't get a higher grade only because of his missed PK. Besides that, he showed his class on the pitch all night and showed why he's a starter in one of the best clubs in the world. Canada are a different team when he's around.

John Herdman
Head coach

Canada would be lucky to keep John Herdman after this World Cup. I think other national teams have to be after him. He had his team on the attack. They didn’t sit in, they went for the game. He told his players to be brave. They really should have won the game.


Cyle Larin
Forward · Canada

The best player coming off the bench. Larin's physicality and presence in the box were felt the moment he came on in the 58th minute.

Ismaël Koné
Midfielder · Canada

The young CF Montréal star had a solid World Cup debut, playing on the left side of the field after coming on along with Larin. Koné was precise in his passing and confident when sending long balls forward.


Came on for Laryea with roughly 15 minutes to go. Did his job but didn't necessarily add anything extra.


Both players came on in the 81st minute and provided much-needed energy. They just didn't have enough time to make any real difference to avoid defeat.