Belgium coach Roberto Martinez has admitted that his team need to improve after securing a narrow 1-0 win over Canada at the World Cup, although is happy with the result in light of teams like Argentina and Germany being beaten in their opening games.

Canada, playing in their first World Cup match in 36 long years, tried their best to make it the third big upset of the week after Saudi Arabia’s victory over Argentina and Japan beating Germany.

The Canadians had a glorious early chance to take the lead, only to see Thibaut Courtois equal to Alphonso Davies’ penalty. The vibrant Maple Leafs played a high press and without fear, carving out other opportunities that they also couldn’t take.

Michy Batshuayi gave Belgium the lead just before half-time, latching onto a through pass over the middle. That seemed to bring a degree of calm, while substitutions from Martinez at the interval and into the second half also worked in Belgium’s favour to take the game out of reach for Canada.

“Canada deserved to be better than us in the way they played,” Martinez told BBC Match of the Day after the final whistle. “I think the result reflects the things that we had to do and the way we defended for each other and took our chance.

“It’s a win and we need to play better and to grow. We’ve been here five days, we have to grow with these games. Many top teams are losing games. This tournament is going to make you develop and grow as the tournament goes on. If you do that by winning games, it’s an incredible advantage.

“Today we didn’t win by our normal talent and quality on the ball, but you don’t win in the World Cup if you don’t do the other side of the game. We need to be realistic, we need to play well but when a team can win without playing well, it’s a lot to build on.”

Harry Symeou hosts Scott Saunders, Grizz Khan and Jack Gallagher to look back on France ’98 as part of the ‘Our World Cup’ series. We take a trip down memory lane – join us!

If you can’t see the podcast embed, click here to download or listen to the episode in full!


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