Taking the field against a Canada side making its first appearance at a World Cup since 1986 is a match that seems to round off the Golden Generation of Belgium.
Belgium have won each of their six group matches in the past two World Cups but looks to be in tougher group this time with the likes of 2018 finalists Croatia, Morocco and their opening-game opponents, Canada.
However, there has been a consistent pattern of success over the past few years for the Red Devils to defeat lower-ranked sides but struggle against quality opposition.
During the 2018 World Cup, they lost to eventual champions France, and at the Euros last year, they lost to Italy.
Eden Hazard, one of Belgium’s standouts at the 2018 World Cup, has barely pulled his weights for the Los Blancos (Real Madrid) since his move in 2019. While many called for him to be replaced by Leandro Trossard in the starting XI, manager Roberto Martinez’s faith in his captain has not changed as he is set to lead the charge for Belgium in the Mundial.
Another player inconsistent this season, Romelu Lukaku suffered injuries and has been in a poor form over the past year and the Red Devils lack a strong backup striker to make up for his absence. The defensive duo, Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld, have a combined age of 68 which is worrisome to many Belgium fans.
Key players in the squad would be Kevin de Bruyne and Thibaut Courtois, arguably the only two world-class players in the Belgium team and will be vital to Belgium’s chances.
Canada however have arrived in Doha full of hope with this being only their second World Cup appearance despite making their first in 1986.
The Maple Leafs (Canada) secured their spot in the tournament in style, winning eight of their 14 games in the CONCACAF qualifiers, defeating heavyweights Mexico and USA.
While Alphonso Davies, the 22-year-old Bayern Munich full-back is the undoubted Canada star, Lille striker Jonathan David and Club Brugge forward Cyle Larin punched above their weight in the qualifiers. Larin was the top scorer with 11 goals, with David close behind in second with nine.
The only time these two sides have met before was in a friendly in 1989 that Belgium won 2-0.
Belgium enters the World Cup in indifferent form, having lost to Netherlands and Egypt in their last two outings. Canada, too, has won just two of its last five games.