TCM Analysis: Belgium v Canada

Belgium withstand an enterprising Canada side to walk away with a narrow win - we take a look at how the game unfolded.

The Coaching Manual

Nov 24th 2022

Written by The Coaching Manual


Belgium 1-3-4-3

Canada 1-3-4-3


This guide provides coaches with an introduction to the 3-4-3 formation and its potential advantages, limitations and key concepts -

First Half Review

In Canada’s second ever Word Cup appearance, they began the game demonstrating great energy and ambition as they pinned Belgium’s ageing defence back through their relentless attacking and through a high pressing strategy when out of possession.

On 10 minutes, a Taylor Buchanan shot hit the arm of Belgium’s Yannick Carrasco in the penalty area, awarded Canada a penalty. However, Davies shot was saved by Thibaut Courtois as the score remained 0-0.

Canada continued to dominate the half, however Belgium did show glimpses of quality as Hazard’s expert first touch created a chance in the 22 minute.

Late in the first half, on one of the few occasions Canada failed to engage the press, Alderweireld recognised the space in behind the Canada defensive line and played a long pass into space for Batshuayi.

Batshuayi read the flight of the pass and allowed the ball to bounce into the penalty area, before finishing with a first time volley past Canada’s Borjan and giving Belgium an undeserved lead at the half.

This session by Anthony Limbrick will help your team to recognise cues and triggers to press the opposition in the final third of the field -

Second Half Review

Even though Martinez’s side were 1-0 up at the break, the first half performance led to two Belgium changes with Amadou Onana and Thomas Meunier replacing Youri Tielemans and Carrasco.

The second half fizzled out with no real notable chances for either side, however Davies, Eustàquio and David continued to combine and probe the Belgium defence in search of chances.

Belgium can consider themselves fortunate to walk away with three points in this group game as Canada demonstrated that they belong on the world stage with the top nations, recording an xG score of 3.35 compared to Belgiums 1.31. Ultimately it was the Canadian's quality in front of goal that allowed Belgium to stay in the game and score against the run of play.

This practice will help coach players patterns on how to create and score from wide areas in a 3-4-3 formation -

Specific Strategy: Positioning to recover in opposition half and counter attack

Canada’s Stephen Eustàquio was key to Canada regaining possession during their high pressing strategy, as he recovered the ball 13 times in the game with 9 of those recoveries in the attacking half of the field. 

Stephen Eustaquaio

This example form the 11th minute shows Belgium in possession of the ball in their defensive third, as the front three of Buchanan, David and Hoilett initiating the press and Eustàquio positioned in the midfield unit while also marking Belgium's De Bruyne.


This guide details the defending principles of play when supporting the press - 

Belgium v Canada

As Alderwiereld is pressured, he plays a forced aerial pass to Castagne who heads down for Eustàquio to recover the ball just beyond the halfway line.

In this session from UEFA PRO Licence Tutor Martin Hunter, coach your players on how to recover and delay -


Eustàquio recognises the space in the interior channel of the attacking third and plays a penetrating pass for Hoilett to receive, as Belgiums defence scramble to recover behind the ball and shut out the Canadian attack.

This practice develops your players awareness and movement, both on and off the ball, to pass and receive to play in behind opposition players -

Stats of the Game

Belgium canada

Next Game

On Sunday 27th November, Canada will look to bounce back as they play 2018 Finalists Croatia, while Martinez’s Belgium will be aiming for a much improved performance as they face Morocco.

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