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World Cup Predictions: Belgium vs Canada

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Kickoff: November 24, 12:30 AM IST

Venue: Ahmad bin Ali Stadium

Canada are set to end their 36-year wait to play in their second World Cup with a Wednesday night encounter with Belgium.

From Belgium’s perspective, this could be the final chance for their golden generation to lead the nation to their first-ever World Cup title. So, they will be eager to start the campaign with a convincing win against the Canadians.

Belgium boss Roberto Martinez has been feeling the heat following Belgium’s poor performances in Euro 2020 and the UEFA Nations League.

The Red Devils bowed out of the Euro 2020 quarterfinals before failing to make it to the Nations League finals.

Belgium made it to the semifinals of the 2018 World Cup, but it was not enough to meet the expectations of their fans, who believe this squad is capable of doing better.

Recent form

Belgium have a squad rich with world-class talents, but their recent form does not reflect the quality of their squad.  They enter the fray with two back-to-back defeats, the latest of which came against Egypt.

So, Roberto Martinez’s men will be desperate to arrest the slump and return to winning ways when they play Canada in their first match of the Qatar World Cup.

Canadians, on the other hand, are on top of the world at the moment. Qualifying for the World Cup finals was a great achievement for John Herdman’s men, considering they have been trying to return to the competition for four decades.

Canada are one of the co-hosts in the 2026 World Cup, so their involvement in the next edition of the tournament is a certainty.

They face an uphill battle of surviving a group that has two European heavyweights in Croatia and Belgium and a formidable African opposition in Morocco. But they have a youthful squad that can upset the applecart in group F.

Canada finished the CONCACAF qualification stage as the table toppers.

But what will concern the Maple Leaves are their poor form on the road. Canada relied on their solid home form in the qualifiers to confirm their spot in the World Cup finals. However, they had managed to win only two of their seven away matches.

Canada played four warm-up matches before the group stages went underway.

They lost to Uruguay, drew with Bahrain and beat Japan and Qatar. So, they will not be short on confidence ahead of the Belgium game.

Team News

Romelu Lukaku is Roberto Martinez’s go-to striker, but the Canada match will come too soon for the injured number nine.

Therefore, Martinez will turn to Michy Batshuayi, who has been enjoying a prolific run of form for Fenerbahçe. Loïs Openda is also an option for Martinez, but Batshuayi is expected to get the nod.

Thorgan Hazard has lived under the shadow of his elder brother Eden Hazard throughout his career, but the Borussia Dortmund man was one of the Belgium’s best performers in the Euros. But he will have to sit out Belgium’s opener due to injury.

Timothy Castagne and Yannick Carrasco will compete for his spot at left-back.

Eden Hazard will start in the front three for Belgium. The forward has been injury free this season but Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti did not give him much game time.

Hazard will hope to redeem himself with a great World Cup campaign with Belgium. 19 year-old Zeno Debast is expected to feature in the Belgian rearguard.

Atiba Hutchinson will make his 99th appearance for Canada as he will lead the Maple Leafs out of the tunnel.

Bayern Munich star Alphonso Davies overcame the injury scare to travel with the Canadian squad to Canada. However, he is not likely be involved in the Belgium game.

Our Prediction

Canada have excellent quality both in attack and defence. But their inexperience at the global stage combined with their poor form outside Canada will play to Belgium’s advantage.

We say, Belgium 2-1 Canada.

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WATCH: Cristiano Ronaldo performs obscene gestures as fans chant Lionel Messi’s name

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Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi

During the Saudi Pro League game between Al Shabab and Al Nassr, Nassr skipper Cristiano Ronaldo was seen making obscene gestures towards rival fans. The Shabab fans were chanting Ronaldo’s biggest rival Lionel Messi’s name. Not for the first time though, some Saudi football fans do prefer Messi over the Portuguese player. Meanwhile, during the game on Sunday, the Portugal international crossed all the limits as he made some obscene gestures.

Watch the video here

Talking about the game, the Yellow Brigade, Nassr won against Shabab. Ronaldo gave his team as he made the most of the penalty in the 21st minute of the game. However, in the injury time of the first half, Yannick Carrasco scored an equalizer before going into the break. In the first minute of the second half, Anderson Talisca gave a lead to Nassr. In the 67th minute, Carlos scored the equalizer for Shabab, and the game looked like ending in a tie before Talisca scored the match-winning goal in the 86th minute.

Meanwhile, the former Real Madrid player is set to face disciplinary action. As per the Saudi writer and television host, the disciplinary committee might take action.

“The disciplinary committee is facing the biggest test. We will wait and see. Everything has its limits, no matter how famous you are. This is how the major leagues are” Waleed Al Farraj, a prominent Saudi writer and television host, said on X.

Cristiano Ronaldo faced disciplinary action during his stint with Manchester United

A few months before the FIFA World Cup 2022, he threw a fan’s phone when he was part of the English club, Manchester United. He was banned for a few games which meant that he missed a few games for his current club, Nassr. However, the ban didn’t apply in the World Cup as he was available for selection during the tournament, in which his team lost the Quarterfinal to Morrocco.

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Virgil Van Dijk’s late strike in extra time helps Liverpool beat Chelsea in Carabao Cup final

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Liverpool emerged victorious in the Carabao Cup final in 2024. In a thrilling game which was full of twists and turns, Liverpool managed to beat Chelsea to clinch the cup. Jurgen Klopp’s men were awarded with the winner’s medal as they edged out Chelsea in a low-scoring thriller that went to extra time. The defence of both sides was good to watch.

The match had many edge-of-the-seat moments. In the first half, Liverpool attempted a lot of shots over Chelsea. While some were out of target, some were in the target, but stopped by the goalkeeper. Cody Gakpo was unlucky to find the ball hit the goalpost. The strike of the youngster went in vain as the first half did not witness any goal.

Liverpool’s skipper was brilliant in the game. He martialed his troops well and got the coordination going for a long time. He in fact nearly had a goal in the first half, only to be ruled out by the VAR, which was highly controversial. There is a debate for the legitimacy of the goal which was not given despite the help of the technology. Liverpool did not get carried away with the moment.

Captain brilliant Virgil Van Dijk steps up in crunch moments

Klopp deployed younger players as substitutes in the 2nd half. It helped Liverpool a lot as they were able to not just put pressure on Chelsea but also create a lot of chances. While none of them were converted to goals in the second half, they ensured that Chelsea’s players were in check. At one stage, the absence of Mohammad Salah in the middle was felt.

The match went to the extra time, where things got a bit closer. Chelsea attempted to score goals but ended up giving more advantage to Liverpool. The younger legs marked well and provided good assists to the forwards. The moment came in the 118th minute of the game, when Van Dijk netted the goal and helped Liverpool to win the prestigious title.

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Virat Kohli picks his ‘Sporting GOAT’

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Virat Kohli was asked to pick his ‘Sporting GOAT’ in a recent interview. The star cricketer was interviewed by Team Blue Rising who asked him to name the greatest sportsperson of all time. “Who is your Sporting GOAT?” asked the host to the star batter. Kohli did not hesitate to take the name of one of the greatest Football players as his pick for the question.

The Indian batter claimed Cristiano Ronaldo to be the greatest Football player of all time. “For me, it’s Cristiano Ronaldo,” said Virat in the interview. It came as no surprise to the fans, as Virat has always been a huge admirer of the star Footballer. Even in the past, the 35-year-old has expressed his admiration for the star player from Portugal.

In many instances, the Indian batter has claimed Ronaldo to be his favourite player. Ronaldo has been one of the best players the sport has ever seen. Many claim him to be arguably the greatest Sportsperson of all time. Virat has joined the list of those to claim him to be the greatest athlete in the sports world. Ronaldo has some records to back his claim for the title.

Legacy of Cristiano Ronaldo and Virat Kohli

The Portuguese Footballer has the greatest number of goals for an international team. He also has the greatest number of international caps for a player. The star player is the only player to win four major cups with two different clubs. He did it with Manchester United and Real Madrid. Cristiano has the second most number of Ballon d’Or titles (Five) after Lionel Messi.

Virat, on the other hand, is a great cricketer. He has the greatest number of hundreds for a batter in ODIs. Virat has the greatest number of hundreds in ODIs while chasing. He is also the highest run scorer for India in T20Is. Kohli has the most runs for a batter in the IPL. He has the greatest number of POTT awards for a player in the T20 WC and the ODI WC.

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