Kevin De Bruyne explains bust-up with Toby Alderweireld after Belgium beat Canada


    Belgium's Toby Alderweireld (left) and Kevin De Bruyne exchange words during the FIFA World Cup Group F match at the Ahmad bin Ali Stadium, Al Rayyan. Picture date: Wednesday November 23, 2022. PA Photo. See PA story WORLDCUP Belgium. Photo credit should read: Nick Potts/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Use subject to restrictions. Editorial use only, no commercial use without prior consent from rights holder.
    Toby Alderweireld and Kevin De Bruyne were involved in an animated row during Belgium’s win over Canada (PA)

    Kevin De Bruyne has revealed that his animated row with Toby Alderweireld was over Belgium’s style of play during the 1-0 win over Canada in their World Cup opener.

    Michy Batshuayi scored the only goal of the game in the first half while Thibaut Courtois was forced to come to Belgium’s rescue as he saved Alfonso Davies’ penalty.

    Canada, however, were the superior team for the majority of the match and De Bruyne admits he was unhappy with Belgium’s tendency to favour the long ball.

    ‘It was not good,’ De Bruyne told Sporza.

    ‘I thought we had the wrong way of building up in the first half, we didn’t find the space while the space was there. We adjusted that during the break, after which it was slightly better. Although it was still not good enough as a team.

    ‘That was also what my discussion with Alderweireld was about. I think there was more space than was seen and I thought we were looking for the long ball too much while there was room to get through.

    DOHA, QATAR - NOVEMBER 23: Kevin De Bruyne of Belgium clashes with Toby Alderweireld as Belgium manager Roberto Martinez looks on during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Group F match between Belgium and Canada at Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium on November 23, 2022 in Doha, Qatar. (Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images)
    Kevin De Bruyne admits he was unhappy with Belgium’s style of play (Getty)

    ‘Anyway, some discussion about the way of playing is no problem. We do know what needs to change.

    ‘In the end, this [the performance] wasn’t the most important thing either.

    We weren’t good enough, but the fighting spirit was good. That’s something we’ve always had, but also a minimum requirement. If it doesn’t work, you can still win. We need to learn from this and also be realistic. It has to be better, including myself.’

    When asked about the row, Alderweireld said: ‘That is pure football, that is emotions.

    ‘We are not here to treat each other like choirboys, we are here as men. Kevin had something and I disagreed.

    ‘That is emotion and shows that we are working on it. The buttons turned very quickly and that was just over between Kevin and me. We are more than okay.’

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