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Davies misses penalty as Canada falls to Belgium at World Cup

Catherine Ivill / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Canada's first World Cup match in over 36 years ended in a 1-0 defeat against Belgium.

After Alphonso Davies' penalty 11 minutes into the game was saved by Thibaut Courtois, Belgium made Canada pay for the costly miss when Michy Batshuayi opened the scoring shortly before halftime.

Despite an encouraging effort from John Herdman’s squad, the deficit against the world's second-ranked nation proved too much for Canada to overcome.

However, despite Batshuayi's goal, Belgium was second best in the first half against a Canadian side that pressed positively throughout the first 45 minutes.

Canada threatened to score the opening goal on numerous occasions. The fearless pressure eventually paid off when VAR awarded the Canadians with an early penalty after a Belgium handball in the box.

But Canada's wait for a first-ever World Cup goal was prolonged after Courtois correctly guessed which way Davies would shoot, resulting in a dramatic penalty save that Belgium celebrated like a goal.

The miss didn't put the Canadians off, though, as Belgium continued to look like a side trying to find its rhythm while Canada continued to press.

Even Manchester City superstar Kevin De Bruyne was unusually ineffective, as the Belgian midfielder struggled to adjust to Canada's man-marking defensive plan.

De Bruyne improved in the second half. But the 31-year-old was the first to admit that the Man of the Match award probably should've gone elsewhere. He admitted after the game that he didn't know why he'd won, saying, "Maybe it's because of the name."

Canada was all over Belgium before the European side eased the pressure with a goal against the run of play in the 44th minute. A clearance attempt from the Belgium end found its way inside the Canada box to Batshuayi, who instinctively fired a shot past Milan Borjan.

The Canadians continued to be wasteful in their search for an equalizer in the second half, while Belgium grew into the match and began to apply pressure of its own.

Canada's next best scoring chance came late in the second half when Cyle Larin's powerful header from close range was masterfully caught by Courtois in the 80th minute.

From there, Belgium was content to retain possession and play out the clock before the final whistle sounded.

Canada next takes on Croatia on Sunday, while Belgium faces Morocco in the other Group F fixture.

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