World Cup Preview: Canada’s Keys to Shocking Belgium in Group Stage

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Serbian-Mexican retired soccer manager Bora Milutinovic holds up the name of Canada as he assists in the 2022 soccer World Cup draw at the Doha Exhibition and Convention Center in Doha, Qatar, Friday, April 1, 2022. (AP Photo/Darko Bandic)
(AP Photo/Darko Bandic)
BetMGM Staff @BETMGM Apr 03, 2022, 11:44 AM

The World Cup groups are set and we finally have some matches to analyze throughout the year.

Canada is one of the tournament’s least familiar faces – qualifying for just their second-ever World Cup – and buried in World Cup odds. To prepare you for the action, we discuss a few keys to the match for the Canadians if they want to spur a massive upset in their opening group stage match against European power Belgium.

Containing & Countering Belgian Attack

The key to beating a strong Belgian team is frustrating the attack.

It’s a top-heavy squad that relies on its offensive firepower to get them through games with an older backline made up of Toby Alderweireld (33) and Jan Vertonghen (34).

They love to commit numbers forward in possession and if the Canadians can contain Belgium’s hyperaggressive attack for long enough, opportunities will come on the counterattack. Japan utilized this style of play perfectly against this team in the 2018 World Cup which helped them get off to a 2-0 lead.

Playing Out of Possession

In 2022, Canada has averaged 51% of the possession across all matches played. They haven’t faced many opponents who have dominated in possession and that is likely what they will be dealing with against the Belgians in their World Cup match since 1986.

Manager Roberto Martinez makes it a priority to keep the ball with his squad having at least 60% of the possession in seven of their eight World Cup Qualifying matches. The Canadians will have to learn how to get things done with very little possession and by taking advantage of opportunities as they come, no matter how few and far between.

It’s a good thing they have seven months to prepare.

Overcoming Gaps in Experience

The elephant in the room here is clearly the contrast between experience on the world’s biggest stage between these two sides.

Belgium will be one of the older squads at the 2022 World Cup and many of its players are in the world’s biggest leagues and have competed in international soccer during World Cups and Euro competitions. This is Canada’s second-ever World Cup appearance and it could be cause for concern for the nerves to be at an all-time high in their opening match of the group stage.

Captain Atiba Hutchinson (39) is the only player on Canada’s current 25-man roster who was even born the last time they participated in the World Cup.

Visit the online sportsbook for updated Canada-Belgium odds on Nov. 23.

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Our BetMGM authors are sports experts, with a wealth of knowledge of the sports betting industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news across players, teams and coaches, providing betting previews and predictions, fun facts and more.

Our BetMGM authors are sports experts, with a wealth of knowledge of the sports betting industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news across players, teams and coaches, providing betting previews and predictions, fun facts and more.