De Bruyne right about Belgium, Canada are good vibes, Germany may be contenders after all: Five takeaways from day eight of World Cup 2022

Spain and Germany players compete for the ball during their 1-1 draw at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Most of the groups have now taken shape at World Cup 2022, and we all have a much better idea of which teams are most likely to progress to the knockout stages, with day eight of the tournament providing plenty more exciting action. 

Fresh from beating Germany on Wednesday, Japan fell to Costa Rica with a dismal performance rounded off by a goalkeeping mistake. Belgium were the next major nation to suffer a shock defeat at the World Cup, the number-two ranked team in the world losing 2-0 to Morocco as they were totally outclassed. 

Croatia battered Canada in an entertaining fixture filled with plenty of subplots, while a winner couldn't be found between Germany and Spain, setting up a nervy final game for Hansi Flick's side.

So, without further ado, here’s what we’ve learned from day eight of World Cup 2022:

Kevin De Bruyne is right – Belgium are too old 

Kevin De Bruyne of Belgium looks on 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.

(Image credit: Simon Bruty/Anychance/Getty Images)

During an interview with The Guardian yesterday, Kevin De Bruyne - one of the best players in the world and a member of Belgium's golden generation - claimed his country has zero chance of lifting the World Cup next month, and their performance today against Morocco certainly emphasised that idea. 

“No chance, we’re too old," De Bruyne answered when asked if Belgium could win the tournament.

Sluggish and lethargic, age certainly seems to have caught up with some of Belgium's squad. With Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen at centre-back, Axel Witsel in midfield and Eden Hazard and Kevin De Bruyne further forward, the Belgium side is screaming for some freshness, it seems. 

Morocco were first to every ball, more organised when defending and attacked with intensity. Belgium, meanwhile, played the game at walking pace, no player offering any sprints in behind or desire to win the ball back. 

Roberto Martinez certainly needs to find a solution, and with players such as Leandro Trossard, Charles De Ketelaere and Jeremy Doku on the bench, it seems the answer is staring him in the face. 

Canada are good fun despite early exit

World Cup 2022

(Image credit: Getty Images)

A momentous moment for Canada's national men's football team saw Alphonso Davies bag the team's first-ever World Cup goal against Croatia, and it took just 67 seconds of the fixture

However, the moment was bittersweet for Canada, with their eventual 3-1 loss confirming their elimination from the tournament. A narrow 1-0 defeat to Belgium in their opening game, and this result against Croatia, leaves them bottom of Group F without a point.

The fact they head into their final game of the 2022 tournament with nothing to lose is a bonus for neutrals, though – they’re an exciting team that are fun to watch and engage with.

Indeed, their Geordie manager John Herdman is entertaining, if not a little controversial at times, while their team contains players such as Davies, Jonathan David and Tajon Buchanan. With Canada set to joint-host the 2026 World Cup, we at FourFourTwo are certainly excited at the prospect of watching Canada over the next four years - let’s hope they continue to excite during that time, too. 

Facing a Morocco side full of confidence will be a difficult test in their final game, so they will have to be on top of their game to gain their first-ever point at the tournament. 

The shocks keep coming

Zakaria Aboukhlal of Morocco celebrates with teammates after scoring their team's second goal during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Group F match between Belgium and Morocco at Al Thumama Stadium on November 27, 2022 in Doha, Qatar.

(Image credit: Buda Mendes/Getty Images)

Day eight of the World Cup produced two shock results, not quite to the same level of Saudi Arabia beating Argentina or Japan dropping Germany, but still shocks nonetheless. 

Japan, fresh from overcoming Germany 2-1 in their opening group game, entered their fixture against Costa Rica - 7-0 losers to Spain - with a spring in their step. Getting six points would have been more than they could've dreamed of prior to the start of the tournament, and a win against Costa Rica seemed likely considering how the first matchday went for both sides. 

However, Japan lost 1-0, courtesy of a goalkeeping mistake, meaning a result against Spain in the final game is now essential.

Elsewhere, Belgium were defeated by Morocco - and they can't complain about the 2-0 result. As previously discussed, the European side were lethargic against a much more organised and motivated squad – a 2-0 win is no less than Morocco deserve, and leaves Belgium in the lurch for progress to the knockouts. 

Germany have lift-off and may yet be contenders 

Niclas Fullkrug celebrates his goal for Germany against Spain at the World Cup in Qatar.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Germany were in trouble after their shock 2-1 defeat to Japan earlier in the week, with the four-time champions staring at a possible group-stage exit for the second World Cup in succession.

But Japan's surprise loss to Costa Rica earlier on Sunday eased some of that pressure as it meant they could lose to Spain and still be in with a good chance of qualifying for the last 16.

In his pre-match press conference, Germany coach Hansi Flick described the meeting with La Roja as a 'first final' for his side and they played well on the night.

Antonio Rudiger saw an effort ruled out for a marginal – albeit clear – offside in the first half and even though Alvaro Morata gave Spain the lead with just over an hour gone, Germany kept fighting and earned their reward with a late leveller scored by Niclas Fullkrug.

With better decision making, they could even have snatched victory at the end and they showed they have the quality to match one of the best teams in the competitions.

Belatedly, Germany have lift off at Qatar 2022 – and they may yet be contenders for the trophy next month.

Spain's forwards not clinical enough

Spain's Alvaro Morata celebrates with his team-mates after scoring against Germany in the teams' World Cup clash.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

It seems strange to question Spain's attack after they opened the World Cup with a spectacular 7-0 win over Costa Rica – especially when those seven goals came from eight shots on target.

But Luis Enrique's forwards lacked a cutting edge against Germany as chances came and went for Ferran Torres, Marco Asensio and others.

Spain's coach is reluctant to start Alvaro Morata, preferring the pressing and fluidity of other players in his line-up, but the striker scored the all-important goal after coming off the bench and may get more game time from now on.

Asensio missed a fine opportunity to double Spain's lead, while Ferran does score goals but often needs plenty of shots before he gets one and Luis Enrique left a number of others – including Iago Aspas and Gerard Moreno – at home.

The coach was happy enough, though. "We are leaders in the group of death," he said.

There is plenty of merit in that. In drawing with Germany too. But this was a game Spain could have won and these issues are not new.

La Roja certainly look like contenders for the title at this stage, but In a tournament with such fine margins, the abiliity to score goals in games of few chances could ultimately be the difference between success and failure for them at Qatar 2022.

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Ryan Dabbs
Staff writer

Ryan is a staff writer for FourFourTwo, joining the team full-time in October 2022. He first joined Future in December 2020, working across FourFourTwo, Golf Monthly, Rugby World and Advnture's websites, before eventually earning himself a position with FourFourTwo permanently. After graduating from Cardiff University with a degree in Journalism and Communications, Ryan earned a NCTJ qualification to further develop as a writer while a Trainee News Writer at Future. 

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