Home ยป Manchester United target Youri Tielemans struggles in Belgium’s World Cup opener

Manchester United target Youri Tielemans struggles in Belgium’s World Cup opener

by Conner Botterill

Belgium opened their World Cup campaign with a narrow 1-0 win against Canada on Wednesday.

A solitary Michy Batshuayi strike one minute before the break secured the points for The Red Devils, who will need to improve if they are going to leave their mark in Qatar.

Belgium were fortunate to take the lead, with the Canadians much the better side in the opening exchanges.

Canada started on the front foot and would have found themselves in front but for the heroics of Thibaut Courtois, who saved an Alphonso Davies penalty just after the 10-minute mark.

Belgium survived two further penalty calls from VAR, both of which looked harsh on the Canadians who were a top-class centre-forward away from putting the game to bed in the first half.

Batshuayi smashed home after latching onto a long ball from Toby Alderweireld with a minute of the first period remaining, to give Belgium an underserved lead at the break.

Belgium improved slightly in the second half with Canada tiring after an impressive opening 45 minutes.

Manchester United target, Youri Tielemans didn’t enjoy the best of games for Belgium, who struggled to get hold of the ball in the first half.

The Leicester man touched the ball just 27 times, with a pass completion rate of 68% from his 19 passes and was substituted by Roberto Martinez at the break.

Things may have played out differently for the midfielder had Kevin de Bruyne released him when in acres of space during a rare first-half attack from Belgium.

De Bruyne uncharacteristically chose the wrong option and the half, and game, fizzled out for Tielemans.

The 25-year-old has been heavily linked with a move to Old Trafford with his contract running down at the King Power Stadium.

Tielemans, who came into the tournament in good form, will be desperate to improve on his lacklustre display on the opening day, to help secure his move to one of Europe’s elite clubs.

Former United striker Romelu Lukaku played no part in Belgium’s opener, having failed to recover from his thigh injury.

Belgium continue their World Cup campaign against Morocco, on Sunday.

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