Jonathan Osorio, a midfielder for Canada, said that his team will play Belgium in their opening World Cup match with “confidence, not hope.”
Osorio is convinced that the North Americans will continue to shock everyone by winning the CONCACAF qualifying final group, finishing ahead of the United States and Mexico, and earning an automatic qualifying spot for Qatar 2022.
In their first World Cup appearance in 36 years, facing a Belgium team that includes players like Kevin De Bruyne, Eden Hazard, and Thibaut Courtois will be a baptism of fire, but Osorio is prepared to exceed expectations in the Group F match at Al Rayyan Stadium.
We don’t hope any more; we believe, he said, according to the Vancouver Sun. We have a lot of self-confidence. We want to demonstrate that we are a football nation and that we can compete on a global scale.
We want to shock people because, in my opinion, they still view us as underdogs. As for Canada and the World Cup, they should just be grateful to be participating.
But that’s not the way we think. We’re in this place to compete, and to compete well. We firmly think that we can achieve our goals thanks to the qualities we possess and the brotherhood inside our group.
Coach John Herdman of Canada, an Englishman by birth, was upbeat despite the possibility that star full-back Alphonso Davies of Bayern Munich might miss the match due to a hamstring strain. He continued, “I think, internally, Canada is starting to expect things from us.
They will question, “Who is Canada?” if you visit Brazil, Argentina, Brazil, France, Germany, Italy, or England. However, I believe that on a national level, we have begun to believe that everything is possible. It’s basically the same attitude of “one game at a time.”
Romelu Lukaku, Belgium’s star striker, is expected to miss the first two games in Qatar due to a recurrence of a hamstring issue, which has dominated most of the team’s preparation.
The current manager of Burnley in the English Championship and former captain of Belgium, Vincent Kompany, can see why Roberto Martinez decided to take a chance on the Inter player’s health.
At the 2018 World Cup, Kompany sat out the whole group stage and didn’t return until the Red Devils advanced to the knockout round.
Het Nieuwsblad quoted him as saying: “I didn’t play in the group stage because I damaged my hamstrings playing in a friendly game before the World Cup.
“During the group stage, playing while wounded may seem unusual, but as the tournament progresses, you need individuals who can make a difference and contribute to victories.
“His presence makes sense, even if Lukaku can only play in one game against those bigger teams. I can appreciate the choice. Wins in matches are crucial in this competition.
Athletes to Watch
Kevin De Bruyne of Belgium
The man Canada needs to target is the Manchester City master midfielder.
In just 224 Premier League appearances, he has 155 goal involvements and a variety of passing that can trouble any defense. De Bruyne still has the tools to make an impact, but he will miss Lukaku’s physical presence as a target and a space maker.
Jonathan David, Canada
Although David plays slightly more forward than De Bruyne, his numbers are comparable. The 22-year-old has provided nine goals and three assists in 15 Ligue 1 outings for Lille this season. David will look to utilize the World Cup as a launching pad after the season to join one of Europe’s top teams.
Despite the evident confidence Canada gained from their great qualification performance, it is impossible to ignore Belgium. The odds of Belgium winning their opening match are 62.2 percent according to Opta’s prediction model, compared to just 17.4 percent for Canada.
If De Bruyne, Hazard, Mertens, and company find their range, Canada may have a very difficult night.