Canada to make a goalscoring splash at World Cup
2018's third place side Belgium get their 2022 FIFA World Cup campaign underway against surprise CONCACAF table-toppers Canada at the Al-Rayyan Stadium in Group F. Both teams will have watched the Morocco-Croatia game take place several hours before their own fixture, and whilst the Red Devils' objective will be to top the pool, the Canucks will have one eye on snatching second spot. Any kind of positive result in an encounter where attack is the best form of defence could mean lots of goals for neutrals to enjoy. Read our preview here:
The refrain outside the lowland nation is that the lack of trophies over the course of approximately the last decade at major tournaments represents a failure of the 'Golden Generation' and head coach Roberto Martínez. There is more merit in laying blame with the tactically inflexible manager, and the way he sets up his XI is eminently predictable (though hard to stop once momentum has been built up). The real question marks in terms of selection will come on the right side of the back three and the central striker role. With the latter, it is simply a case of how fit Romelu Lukaku is - the Inter front man is recovering from a thigh injury, having not played a competitive game since the end of October. If he doesn't make it, Michy Batshauyi will lead the line. In defence, it's a straight fight between Leander Dendocker and Zeno Debast. Dendocker has been used sparingly at Wolves this season (and more often in midfield), whilst 19 year old Debast has had a breakthrough year with Anderlecht and offers more pace and positional familiarity than his older teammate.
Alphonso's bearing fruit
For John Herdman, preparations have been decent for the nation's first men's World Cup since 1986, including a 2-1 win over Japan last week in their final friendly and no new injury concerns. The key question will be whether the explosive Alphonso Davies is ready to be in the starting lineup. The Bayern Munich star typically plays at left-back in the Bundesliga for Julian Nagelsmann's heavy hitters, relying on his pace, skill, and athleticism to carry the ball from deep or offer yet another attacking option for a team that almost always have the lion's share of possession. That is not always the case for his national team, though they are able to successfully adapt to different high level opponents and styles. Davies will be on the left of a dynamic front three if available alongside Jonathan David and either Cyle Larin or Tajon Buchanan. Their aim will be to pinch the ball off Belgium in transition and run at a visibly creaking defence. Stephen Eustáquio will attempt to pull the strings in the middle of the pitch against some of the very best the world has to offer.
Though there is no doubt whatsoever that Belgium possess lots of quality, there have been signs recently that other sides have started to be able to pin them back far more often than they'd like. With the pace in wide areas Canada have, it's by no means a lock that the Red Devils take all three points. It could instead be a match heavy with goals - bet365 have odds of 5.00 for over 4.5 to be scored.