De Bruyne 'didn't know why' he was named man of the match after Belgium's win over Canada

Midfielder was pleased they got the win in World Cup 2022 opener but admits Belgium didn't play well enough

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Kevin de Bruyne said he "didn't know why" he was named man of the match after Belgium's laboured 1-0 win over Canada in their Qatar 2022 World Cup opener on Wednesday night.

Belgium got their campaign off to a winning start at the Ahmed bin Ali Stadium but were hardly convincing, with Canada - returning to the World Cup for the first time since 1986 - dominating their heavily-favoured opponents in the first half, during which Alphonso Davies had a penalty saved by Thibaut Courtois.

Michy Batshuayi struck shortly before the break to give Belgium the lead and the striker's goal ultimately proved the difference in a game that saw Canada have 22 total shots on goal compared to Belgium's nine.

Consistently a central figure in Manchester City wins, De Bruyne was largely a peripheral presence on Wednesday but was still named man of the match.

"I don't think I played a great game. I don't know why I got the trophy. Maybe it's because of the name," De Bruyne said. "We didn't play well enough as a team, we didn't find any solutions and we started really bad.

"In the second half, when we started to get through their pressing there was more space but I don't think we played a good game today, me included, but at least we found a way to win."

The outcome could have been much different and Canada looked poised to join the likes to Saudi Arabia and Japan in causing a giant upset after a superb first-half performance, but they too many wasted chances in front of goal.

Despite the disappointment of defeat, Canada manager John Herdman said his team's display proves they can compete against the world's best teams.

Kevin De Bruyne admitted Belgium did not play well enough against Canada. Getty

"They showed tonight that they do belong here. It's been a long time since we've been back," an upbeat Herdman told a news conference.

"With a performance like this, I said to the players" 'we just get on to the next task.' I'm proud of what they did, really proud. They proved they can play here."

Belgium are next in action against Morocco on Sunday, when Canada take on 2018 runners-up Croatia.

Belgium v Canada player ratings

Updated: November 24, 2022, 6:29 AM
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