BBC’s Chief of Football: “Ragged, jaded and desperately vulnerable”
BBC football chief Phil McNulty saw a tired Belgian team against Canada. “Only thanks to Canada’s poor finish, Belgium avoided the fate of Argentina and Germany. It was not a victim of a World Cup shock. The Red Devils still have glorious talent in the form of Kevin de Bruyne and a world-class goalkeeper in Thibaut Courtois, but they looked ragged, jaded and desperately vulnerable to the pace and energy of Canada’s offensive play.
“The defense duo of 33-year-old Alderweireld and 35-year-old Jan Vertonghen have served their country and clubs very well, but they looked desperate when Canada showed Belgium all corners of the field, especially in the first half. Belgium can clearly perform much better than this and needs Romelu Lukaku to regain presence at the front.”
Gazzetta dello Sport: “Hazard now really has the status of a player at the end of his career”
The Italian sports newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport found that the Red Devils made no impression at all, but could win. You have convincing victories and you have victories that are as ugly as they are precious. The victory of the Belgians belonged in this second category, it sounds strict. There was a separate accolade for Eden Hazard who, according to the Italians, now really has the status of a player at the end of his career.
De Telegraaf: “It squeaked and creaked with the old Red Devils”
The Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf could only conclude that things were not going so well for the Belgians. “The Red Devils cannot impress and get away well with a 1-0 win”, the Dutch found. It was mainly the Canadians who impressed our northern neighbours. “It squeaked and creaked with the old Red Devils, who had started the match with six thirty-somethings and two 29-year-olds”, the finger was put on the sore wound.
Marca: “Playing with Courtois is always an advantage”
The Spanish Marca obviously had the most eye for La Roja’s phenomenal victory against Costa Rico – seven-nil – but also looked at the game of the Red Devils with half an eye. “Playing with Courtois is always an advantage,” said the Spanish sports newspaper, referring to the parried penalty kick. “One of the keys to making a difference in a tournament is to be able to win on a bad day”, the Spaniards recall a football wisdom.
The points of L’Equipe: a two for Carrasco
The French sports newspaper L’Equipe handed out points as usual and was sharp for the Devils, especially for the left flank. Yannick Carrasco had to make do with a two, flank brother Jan Vertonghen was awarded a three by the sports newspaper. Outliers? Obviously Thibaut Courtois who got a seven, Batshuayi was also able to present a positive report with a six. The Belgians achieved an average score of 4.6. In short, busted!