Hazard starts Belgium’s World Cup opener against Canada

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Fans cheer during Canada and Belgium match at the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group F football match at the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium in Al Rayyan in Doha on Wednesday. AFP

Captain Eden Hazard was named in the starting line-up for Belgium’s first World Cup game against Canada at the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium on Wednesday.

The Real Madrid forward, beset by form and fitness problems, has only made 15 league starts for his club since the beginning of the 2020/21 season.

With Romelu Lukaku out injured for the Canada match and Sunday’s clash with Morocco, Michy Batshuayi was given the nod up front by Belgium coach Roberto Martinez.

Cyle Larin, the top scorer in CONCACAF World Cup qualifying, had to settle for a place on the bench for Canada as the North Americans return to the tournament for the first time since 1986.

Lille striker Jonathan David will instead lead the line for John Herdman’s side, with Bayern Munich’s Alphonso Davies fit enough to start on the left wing.

Morocco held 2018 runners-up Croatia to a goalless draw in the Group F opener earlier on Wednesday.

Belgium (3-5-2)

Thibaut Courtois; Leander Dendoncker, Toby Alderweireld, Jan Vertonghen; Yannick Carrasco, Youri Tielemans, Axel Witsel, Kevin De Bruyne, Timothy Castagne; Eden Hazard (capt), Michy Batshuayi

Coach: Roberto Martinez (ESP)

Canada (3-4-3)

Milan Borjan; Alistair Johnston, Kamal Miller, Steven Vitoria; Junior Hoilett, Stephen Eustaquio, Atiba Hutchinson (capt), Richie Laryea; Tajon Buchanan, Jonathan David, Alphonso Davies

Coach: John Herdman (ENG)

Referee: Janny Sikazwe (ZAM)

Agence France-Press

 

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