Wednesday World Cup recap: Belgium outlasts Canada; Spain routs Costa Rica 7-0

Saudi Arabia shocked the world Tuesday, beating Lionel Messi and Argentina 2-1 in Group C of the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Could another upset be brewing?

Despite a valiant effort, Canada was handed a loss in its return to the World Cup. Croatia, the runners-up from the 2018 World Cup, drew Morocco in a scoreless final tally. Germany was upset by Japan. Spain, the 2010 World Cup champion, made quick work of Costa Rica, winning 7-0 in the middle of Day 4.

Japan midfielder Ritsu Doan (8) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal against Germany in the second half during a group stage match during the 2022 World Cup at Khalifa International Stadium.
Japan midfielder Ritsu Doan (8) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal against Germany in the second half during a group stage match during the 2022 World Cup at Khalifa International Stadium.

Full time: Belgium 1, Canada 0

Belgium outlasted Canada with two saves from Thibaut Courtois. The match's lone goal came in the 44th minute when Michy Batshuayi met a through ball from Toby Alderweireld. Canada played fiercely with 22 shots against the No. 2 team in the world in its first World Cup game in 36 years.

Belgium will play against Morocco while Canada takes on Croatia. Both games will be played Sunday.

Group F standings:

  • Belgium, 3 points, +1 GD

  • Croatia, 1 point, 0 GD

  • Morocco, 1 point, 0 GD

  • Canada, 0 points, -1 GD

Thibaut Courtois has another huge save

Thibaut Courtois had another key save for Belgium after Canada's leading scorer, Cyle Larin, attempted a header in the 80th minute. Canada remains scoreless despite 20 shots.

Belgium helped by two substitutions

In the 45th minute, Belgium made two substitutions. Thomas Meunier came on the pitch for Yannick Carrasco and Amadou Onana made his World Cup debut swapping out for Youri Tielemans.

The 21-year-old Onana helped slow down Canada's pace.

Both players received yellow cards within minutes of each other, but settled into the game play as they have held Canada scoreless.

Meunier is wearing a facemask because he fractured his cheekbone in October while playing for Borussia Dortmund.

Meet the Teams: Canada

North America will welcome the world in 2026 for the first three-host World Cup tournament, with the United States, Mexico and Canada splitting venues. But for now, each country will compete this winter in the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. The U.S. will look to young talent like Christian Pulisic, Tyler Adams and Weston McKennie to make a statement comeback after failing to qualify for the 2018 competition. Mexico will rely on veterans and renowned coach Tata Martino to help them through a difficult group stage. Meanwhile, Canada makes its long-awaited return after a 36-year World Cup drought.

Get to know the athletes of North America with USA TODAY Sports+ Meet the Team.

Halftime: Belgium 1, Canada 0

Canada played aggressively in the first 45 minutes of the Group F match. They had 12 shots and a penalty kick that Belgium's goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois expertly saved. There was one, if not two, more plays that could have been penalties that went against their favor. But it was Belgium who performed in the way that matters as Michy Batshuayi scored the first goal of the game right before halftime.

Belgium strikes first

Despite Canada's aggressiveness with 13 shots, Belgium scored first in the Group F match. In the 44th minute, Michy Batshuayi bolted downfield to meet Toby Alderweireld's through ball and lasered the goal into Canada's net.

Contact is not called a penalty

In the 38th minute, Belgium'Axel Witzel ran into Richie Laryea as the Canadian player was dribbling toward Belgium's goal and Laryea fell down. After a VAR review, it was determined that the play was not a penalty.

Earlier, in the 13th minute, there was another controversial no-call where Belgium's Jan Vertonghen tripped Canada's Tajon Buchanan, but the play was not reviewed by VAR.

Who is Cobi Jones? World Cup analyst is U.S. legend

Cobi Jones is commentating the Canada-Belgium game alongside JP Dellacamera. Jones is a former USMNT star who had 164 caps and scored 15 goals. He played in three World Cups, was the 1998 Footballer of the Year and won the 2002 Gold Cup with the United States. He also built a legacy in Major League Soccer as he won two MLS Cups with the Los Angeles Galaxy. He had 71 goals and 91 assists in his 12-year career with the club.

Los Angeles Galaxy forward Cobi Jones celebrates his goal against the Kansas City Wizards during the 2002 playoffs.
Los Angeles Galaxy forward Cobi Jones celebrates his goal against the Kansas City Wizards during the 2002 playoffs.

Thibaut Courtois has huge save after handball called on Belgium

A handball was called on Belgium's Yannick Carrasco in the 9th minute after a VAR review found that there was, in fact, a penalty. Canada's Alphonso Davies lined up for the penalty kick, but his shot was blocked by Thibaut Courtois, the 2018 World Cup Golden Glove winner.

Starting lineups for Canada vs. Belgium

Canada is making its first World Cup appearance in more than three decades when it takes the field Wednesday for its Group F opener. All-time leading scorer Cyle Larin, who has 25 goals, is on the bench to start the game. Jonathan David, who is close behind with 22 scores, is in the starting 11. Belgium, who is ranked No. 2 in the world, is without star striker Romelu Lukaku for the first two games as he deals with injury, but they do have 2018 World Cup Golden Glove winner Thibaut Courtois.

Gavi becomes youngest player to score World Cup goal since Pelé

Midfielder Gavi scored one of Spain's seven goals in the 74th minute of Spain's domination of Costa Rica. He is 18 years and 110 days old, which makes him the youngest player to score a World Cup goal 64 years. The last youngest was the legend Pelé, who scored his first goal in the 1958 World Cup in the quarterfinals against Wales at the age of 17 years and 249 days old. He ended up scoring a total of six goals as Brazil won its first ever World Cup.

Full time: Spain 7, Costa Rica 0

Spain scored the most goals it has ever scored in a World Cup match as it dominated Costa Rica 7-0 to open Group E. Ferran Torres netted two of the scores for Spain, including a penalty kick in the 31st minute. Not only did Costa Rica not score a goal, the team had zero shots on goal.

Group E standings:

  • Spain, 3 points, +7 GD

  • Japan, 3 points, +1 GD

  • Germany, 0 points, -1 GD

  • Costa Rica, 0 points, -7 GD

Spain's rout is almost complete

Torres again finds the net from the right side and makes it 4-0 in the 54th minute against the overmatched Costa Rica squad. Torres' day ends when he is immediately replaced by Alvaro Morata.

18-year old Gavi adds to the embarrassment in the 74th minute with an impressive score as Spain increases its goal differential with remarkable ease.

Spain's the numbers

Spain leads 3-0 over Costa Rica at halftime, but the score is only a part of this domination.

Spain has possessed the ball 85% of the time in the first half and has seven shots on goal. Costa Rica hasn't come close to seeing the net in the offensive zone and has been called offside three times.

Spain passed the ball 583 times. Costa Rica has only 103.

Think you can be a World Cup goalie? 

Could you have stopped Torres' penalty?

The average speed of a professional penalty kick shot is 80 mph shot. Step in the shoes, or put on the gloves, of a World Cup keeper and get ready to "Make the Save."

USMNT-Wales match watched by nearly 12 million

The 1-1 draw between the United States and Wales was seen by 11.7 million viewers for its English and Spanish-language broadcasts.

Fox's English-language broadcast was seen by 8.3 million with 3.4 million tuning in on Telemundo, Telemundo digital and Peacock.

The game also had 563,000 viewers on streams.

Spain gets on the board first

Spain's Dani Olmo opened the scoring against Costa Rica in the 11th minute when his shot from the center found the net past goalkeeper Keylor Navas. Ten minutes later, Navas was beaten again when Marco Asensio took advantages with a score to put Spain up 2-0.

Ferran Torres makes it 3-0 after a penalty kick in the 31st minute.

Lineups for Spain-Costa Rica

The teams have not met since 2017 going into this Group E stage match.

Japan shocks Germany 2-1

A day after Argentina was stunned by Saudi Arabia, Japan scored twice in the last 15 minutes Tuesday to stun four-time champion Germany 2-1. It’s only Japan’s second win at the World Cup since 2010, and it came courtesy of two of its players who play professionally in Germany.

Germany dominated for much of the game and had a 1-0 lead deep into the second half thanks to Ilkay Gundogan’s penalty in the 33rd minute. Germany drew the penalty after Japan goalkeeper Shuichi Gonda grabbed David Raum’s legs to keep him from getting the ball.

Japan had never beaten Germany in their previous four meetings, but the 2014 champions are hardly an unfamiliar foe. Eight players on Japan’s roster play professionally in Germany, including five of its starters Wednesday.

Get full game stats here.

- Nancy Armour, USA TODAY Sports

Japan takes the lead over Germany

Miscommunication among the German defense keeps Japan onside. With a long pass coming from Japan's half, Takuma Asano sprints past Germany and hits a shot over Neuer.

Japan's Ritsu Doan scores equalizer 

After several minutes of constant pressure, Japan finally get the equalizer. Ritsu Doan shot from the center of the box with enough force to get past Neuer, who stopped the first shot, but couldn't get up to block the second. The Japanese are not letting down their intensity.

Gündogan narrowly misses second goal

Germany's Ilkay Gündogan nearly had a second goal early in the second half but his shot hit off the post at the 59:12 mark.

Germany uses team photo to protest FIFA, Qatar

Prior to their first game of the World Cup against Japan, Germany players covered their mouths during the pre-match team photo. The move was a protest against FIFA’s threat against players who wear the "OneLove" armband with yellow cards, which caused seven European countries to back off their pledge to wear them. — Seth Vertelney, Pro Soccer Wire

"We wanted to use our captain’s armband to take a stand for values that we hold in the Germany national team: diversity and mutual respect. Together with other nations, we wanted our voice to be heard," read a statement from Germany’s federation on Twitter.

Havertz goal ruled offside, Germany leads at halftime 1-0

It was a complete attacking effort as the tide has turned in Germany's favor. But Kai Havertz goal was checked and ruled offside.

Germany takes lead with Gündogan penalty

Germany takes the lead, maybe a little later than expected after an onslaught of Japanese chances. In the 31st minutes, goalkeeper Shuichi Gonda took down David Raum in the penalty box. After review, Germany's Ilkay Gündogan step to the spot and converted the opening goal.

What is offside in soccer?

The offside rule has been a source of innumerable controversial calls in soccer, in large part because they were left completely to the whims of human error.

FIFA only began allowing World Cup officials the ability to review video replays to confirm calls in 2018. This year it rolled out a new semi-automated, offside technology to enhance its Video Assistant Referee (VAR) system.

Japan's opening goal disallowed 

Japan struck first against Germany, but the goal was quickly called offside. The chance came from a Japanese forced turnover in midfield. Daizen Maeda made the sliding shot and goal before it was disallowed.

FIFA opens cases against Mexico, Ecuador over fan chants

DOHA, Qatar – Discriminatory chants allegedly by Ecuador fans at the World Cup opening game led FIFA to open the first disciplinary case of the tournament on Tuesday. — Associated Press 

The committee also opened proceedings against Mexico due to supporter chants during its game against Poland.

Germany vs. Japan starting lineups

A four-time World Cup champion, Germany is looking to avenge their early group stage exit in 2018. The Germans start their 2022 campaign against Japan, which is making its seventh consecutive World Cup appearance.

Japan is plenty familiar with Germany, four of their starters play in the top tier of the German Bundesliga. While there is an injection of youth on the Japanese side, defender Yuto Nagatomo stands out. He is making his fourth World Cup appearance. The 36-year-old has four goals in his 138 appearances for Japan.

This is the first World Cup meeting between the two countries in the men's game.

Morocco holds off Croatia, final score 0-0

After starting the tournament in an uncharacteristically high-scoring fashion across seven games, three matches ended in scoreless draws, including this one.

Modric had the best chance for either side in the first half. His side finished the game with 65% of the possession. Croatia couldn't capitalize on any of the five corners they earned. Meanwhile, Achraf Hakimi had a chance to convert a set piece from the center of goal outside the box, but Dominik Livakovic made the save.

Get full game stats here.

What is stoppage time? 

In a time where numerous sports leagues are trying to shorten the length of their games, FIFA is adding time to its World Cup matches in record fashion.

There's been an unprecedented amount of stoppage time added in Qatar, highlighted by England and Iran playing in the longest World Cup group stage match in the tournament's history with a total time of 117 minutes. That was aided by the first half of the match having 14 minutes of extra time, followed by 13 minutes in the second half of England's 6-2 victory, each of which were records for stoppage time in World Cup history, according to statistics site Opta Joe. Nearly 14 minutes were added to the second half of Saudi Arabia's stunner against Argentina. — Jordan Mendoza

But what is stoppage time, how does it work and why is so much being added to this World Cup? Here's what you need to know

Morocco fans show up for their team

The fans of Morocco have been audible all game, with a distinctive whistle deterring Croatia every time it has any sort of attack. They were also quite vocal during the national anthem.

Mazraoui exits the game

Morocco was forced to make a substitution after Noussair Mazraui goes down. He had been dealing with a knock to his hip area for much of the second half and had to be stretchered off.

Mazraoui, an outside back for Morocco and German powerhouse Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga, recored one shot on target, 39 touches and four tackles in his 60 minutes Wednesday.

Scenes from Qatar, Saudi Arabia new favorites

Saudi Arabia has suddenly become the World Cup’s favorite underdog. At the Souq Waqif in central Doha on Wednesday morning, many of the fans were carrying Saudi flags or congratulating those who were. A table of England fans let out a loud cheer when a Saudi fan walked by and when he shook his flag and yelled "Argentina!" they cheered him again. — Nancy Armour, Doha, Qatar 

Fans of Saudi Arabia celebrate their team's 2-1 victory over Argentina in a World Cup group C soccer match outside the Lusail Stadium in Lusail, Qatar, Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2022.
Fans of Saudi Arabia celebrate their team's 2-1 victory over Argentina in a World Cup group C soccer match outside the Lusail Stadium in Lusail, Qatar, Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2022.

Croatia's classic kits? Design your own kit

Fond of the classic look of Croatia’s kits? Captivated by the statement of the Danish look? Or think you could make a better U.S. jersey? Twist, rotate and zoom your player while you put your stamp on the 2022 kit and share with friends.

Modric skies final attempt of the half

With a clear chance from a throw in, the ball fell to the lethal left foot of Modric. The midfielder had a direct shot on goal about 25 yards out, but his shot soared over the crossbar. He knew he missed a golden chance. The teams go into halftime scoreless.

The first half was evenly matched, with plenty of intensity in the middle of the field, but the final product was missing from both sides. Croatia had a small edge on possession with 59% and the only shot on target.

Big save from Moroccan goalkeeper

The most threatening chance for either team came in stoppage time of the first half. For Croatia, Ivan Perisic started the attack. Borna Sosa crossed to Nikola Vlasic, but goalkeeper Yassine Bounou got in the way. Great save from the keeper in one of the first times he was truly called upon.

Strong Croatian midfield

In the kickoff of Group F play, Croatia begins its quest to build on that 2018 run when the country made it to the World Cup final but lost 4-2 to France.

Though a small country, Croatia has plenty of representation in soccer's biggest leagues — especially in the midfield. Mateo Kovacic plays for Chelsea, Marcelo Brozovic starts for Inter Milan in Italy and Luka Modric is considered one of the greatest midfielders currently in the game. In 2018, he was the first player since 2007 not named Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo to win the Ballon D'or, an award for the best soccer player in the world.

Meanwhile, Morocco makes its sixth tournament appearance, having only made it past the group stage once in 1986. Morocco is typically strong in the build up to the World Cup, but struggles once it's there.

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Morocco vs. Croatia — 5 a.m. 

Time: Wednesday, Nov. 23 at 5 a.m. ET

Stadium: Al Bayt Stadium

How to watch: FOX and Telemundo or stream on fuboTV and Peacock (Spanish)

Germany vs. Japan — 8 a.m.

Time: Wednesday, Nov. 23 at 8 a.m. ET

Stadium: Khalifa International Stadium

How to watch: FOX and Telemundo or stream on fuboTV and Peacock (Spanish)

Spain vs. Costa Rica — 11 a.m.

Time: Tuesday, Nov. 22 at 11 a.m. ET

Stadium: Al Thumama Stadium

How to watch: FOX and Telemundo or stream on fuboTV and Peacock (Spanish)

Belgium vs. Canada — 2 p.m.

Time:  Wednesday, Nov. 23 at 2 p.m. ET

Stadium: Ahmed bin Ali Stadium

How to watch: FOX and Telemundo or stream on fuboTV and Peacock (Spanish)

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Canada handed loss in 2022 World Cup debut, Japan upsets Germany