Kevin de Bruyne's honest confession after bizarre Man of the match

Kevin de Bruyne is pictured with the Man of the Match trophy after Belgium's win over Canada.
Belgian football star Kevin de Bruyne admitted he didn't feel deserving of Man of the Match honours in their 1-0 win over Canada at the FIFA World Cup. Picture: Twitter

Belgian football star Kevin de Bruyne has reacted with bemusement after he was awarded Man of the Match honours for his performance against Canada. The 31-year-old midfielder said soon after Belgium's 1-0 victory that he didn't feel as though he'd earned the award.

The first match of Belgium's FIFA World Cup campaign went to script, despite a plucky Canada side threatening to score on numerous occasions in the first half. They would go on to rue a missed penalty as Belgium ended up hitting the scoreboard first, through Michy Batshuayi's 44th minute strike.

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The result means Canada are still yet to score a goal in their history at the FIFA World Cup, a record made worse by the fact they had more than 20 chances to score against Belgium, all of which were either well defended or off-target.

Things could have been so much different for a Canada team chasing the country's first ever win at a World Cup, had they converted an 11th minute penalty. Canada won a corner after striker Jonathan David's low effort was deflected wide, before being awarded a spot kick when Tajon Buchanan's strike was blocked inside the box by the arm of Yannick Carrasco.

Following appeals from Canada's players and a check from VAR, the penalty was eventually awarded as Bayern Munich left back Alphonso Davies stepped up to take the spot kick - to the shock of many onlookers. Unfortunately, the defender's tame effort was saved low to his right by Belgium keeper Thibaut Courtois, before David lashed the rebound over the crossbar.

It was a brutal moment for Canada as Davies squandered the best chance to score his country's first ever goal at a FIFA World Cup, having ended their 36-year drought by qualifying for Qatar. The decision by Canada to hand Davies penalty duties - given Lille striker David was on the pitch - was crucified by football fans on social media, many of whom labelled it a 'ridiculous' move.

Their mistake was Belgium's gain as they capitalised early in the second half, but de Bruyne wasn't willing to attribute much of their success to himself after the game.

"I don't think I played a great game. I don't know why I got the trophy. Maybe it's because of my name," de Bruyne quipped after being handed the Man of the Match trophy.

"Credit to Canada. We could not get through their press, we did not play a good game today, me included but we found a way to win.”

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Belgium were without injured record goalscorer Romelu Lukaku and struggled throughout with the pace of Canada's forwards.

But the 2018 semi-finalists clung on to move top of what could prove a hotly-contested Group F after Croatia and Morocco's goalless draw earlier on Wednesday.

"Was it technically our 'worst game', yes, when you measure the performance," admitted Belgium coach Roberto Martinez. "Was it the 'worst game', no, because we won.

"We defended well and we needed our goalkeeper."

Canada's Junior Hoilett competes for the ball with Belgium's Leander Dendoncker.
Canada gave Belgium a run for their money in their FIFA World Cup opener, with Belgium claiming a 1-0 win. (Photo by Mohammed Dabbous/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Canada will head into their game against Croatia on Sunday still full of confidence after more than matching the team ranked second in the world, who next face Morocco.

"They showed tonight that they do belong here. It's been a long time since we've been back," said Herdman, the first coach to lead teams at women's and men's World Cups.

"I'm sure they (the fans) walked away proud and feeling like we are a football nation.

"I think this group stage is wide open now after the Croatia-Morocco result."

The North Americans, matching Belgium in formation by playing three at the back, made a bright start and Jonathan David's low effort was deflected wide.

With agencies

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