Kevin De Bruyne unhappy with Man of the Match award after Belgium beat Canada in World Cup opener

    Kevin De Bruyne of Belgium poses with the Budweiser Player of The Match trophy following 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 Gonzalo Arroyo - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)
    Kevin De Bruyne was named Man of the Match despite Belgium’s poor performance against Canada (FIFA via Getty)

    Kevin De Bruyne admits he does not deserve his Man of the Match award after Belgium scraped past Canada in their World Cup opener on Wednesday evening.

    Belgium struggled for the majority of the game and were rescued by Thibaut Courtois in the first half as he saved a penalty to deny Alfonso Davies.

    Michy Batshuayi found the net before the break to put Belgium in front, while Canada were let down by their lack of cutting edge in the final third and were unable to score an equaliser.

    Belgium top Group F heading into their match against Morocco on Sunday, but De Bruyne insists his side need to make significant improvements ahead of their second group game.

    ‘I don’t think I played a great game,’ De Bruyne said.

    ‘I don’t know why I have got the trophy. Maybe it’s because of the name.

    DOHA, QATAR - NOVEMBER 23: Michy Batshuayi (R) of Belgium celebrates after scoring his team's first goal with Timothy Castagne 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 Marvin Ibo Guengoer - GES Sportfoto/Getty Images)
    Michy Batshuayi’s first-half goal sealed Belgium’s win over Canada (Getty)

    De Bruyne added: ‘This was not good enough.

    ‘We made it difficult for ourselves and stress crept into the team. There was more space than was seen and we used the long ball too often.

    ‘It has to be better, myself included.’

    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 a bust-up during the game (PA)

    Meanwhile, Belgium head coach Roberto Martinez also conceded after his side’s 1-0 win that Canada were the better team.

    ‘Today was such a difficult game, Canada were better than us in what we wanted to do,’ Martinez said.

    ‘They came to the tournament with an incredible celebration, great emotion, what we expected. This Canada team has a lot of pace and directness.

    ‘To be fair, we had to show another side of our play.

    ‘I’m delighted because we won the game through grit and experience, through the quality of our goalkeeper who kept us in the game by saving the penalty, many elements. The victory today is more important than when you play well.

    ‘Canada deserved to be better than us in the way they played. I think the result reflects the things that we had to do and the way we defended for each other and took our chance.

    ‘It’s a win and we need to play better and to grow. We’ve been here five days, we have to grow with these games. Many top teams are losing games.

    ‘This tournament is going to make you develop and grow as the tournament goes on. If you do that by winning games, it’s an incredible advantage.

    ‘Today we didn’t win by our normal talent and quality on the ball, but you don’t win in the World Cup if you don’t do the other side of the game.

    ‘We need to be realistic, we need to play well but when a team can win without playing well, it’s a lot to build on.’

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