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Canada vs Croatia Live: World Cup Standings and Scores


Nov. 27, 2022, 4:26 a.m. ET

Nov. 27, 2022, 4:26 a.m. ET

Kevin De Bruyne’s assessment may need been blunt, nevertheless it is true. The world’s most creative midfielder has been in fairly forthright form in Qatar, expressing his own bafflement when he was awarded the player of the match award for a subdued display against Canada, after which using an interview with The Guardian to dismiss his own team’s possibilities of winning the World Cup. “No probability,” he said. “We’re too old.”

He is correct, too. It has been eight years since Belgium’s so-called golden generation made its debut at this tournament. In Brazil in 2014, it was still a young team, a touch inexperienced, ever so barely green. But still, that was the moment the clock began ticking.

Credit…Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters

Like so many things in soccer, the World Cup is special since it is rare; that’s the reason Gianni Infantino’s idea to stage it every two seasons would have been so harmful. Its value lies within the proven fact that each group of players, irrespective of how good, has to peak at exactly the precise time to face a probability.

For Belgium, that got here in Russia in 2018, when its defense was seasoned, not creaking; when De Bruyne and Eden Hazard were mature; when Romelu Lukaku was not starting to point out signs of wear and tear and tear. That team’s achievement mustn’t be underestimated: for a nation the dimensions of Belgium to achieve a World Cup semifinal is admirable.

But ultimately, it fell short. Sadly, brutally, that was its probability gone. No generation of players gets three possibilities at a World Cup, not at their peak. Belgium could still run deep into this tournament, after all. There’s sufficient talent at Roberto Martínez’s disposal to hassle almost anyone within the tournament. De Bruyne’s frankness will not be misplaced, though. It’s an immutable law of the game that his team is, now, too old to win it.

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