Leandro Trossard and Belgium completed a perfect day at the World Cup for Albion’s contingent in Qatar after Robert Martinez’s side beat Canada 1-0 on Wednesday night.
The Red Devils made hard work of their opening match in Group F, with Alphonso Davies missing a 10th minute penalty for Canada and the team ranked 41st in the world dominated for large spells as Thibaut Courtois had to deny Jonathan David and Alistair Johnson.
But against the run of play, Michy Batshuayi fired Belgium into the lead a minute before half-time and with the help of Trossard, who came on for Eden Hazard in the 62nd minute and looked bright on the ball, they held on for a narrow win.
Belgium’s first three points in Qatar came straight after Rob Sanchez’s Spain swept Costa Rica aside with a sensational 7-0 victory at Al Thumama Stadium in Doha.
Sanchez was an unused substitute, but arguably had one of the best seats in the house as 18-year-old Gavi announced himself on the world stage with a superb performance and stunning strike.
Ferren Torres also scored a brace, with Dani Olmo, Marco Asensio, Carlos Soler and Alvaro Morata completing the rout to put Spain above Kaoru Mitoma’s Japan in Group E on goal difference.
Both sides are level on points after Mitoma came off the bench to inspire Japan to a historic win over Germany in the 1pm kick-off.
Ilkay Gundogan had put the four-time World Champions ahead from the penalty spot in the 33rd minute, but the introduction of Mitoma with just over half an hour remaining saw Ritsu Doan equalise after wonderful work from our winger.
A memorable comeback was then complete when Takuma Asano beat Manuel Neuer with a well-taken goal, and Japan are in a strong position to progress alongside Spain.
Of Albion’s players in Qatar, only Alexis Mac Allister’s Argentina have tasted defeat so far – although the midfielder was an unused substitute in the shock defeat to Saudi Arabia.
Tariq Lamptey will be hoping our squad’s good fortunes continue when Ghana play the penultimate fixture of matchday one, as the Black Stars face Portugal at 4pm GMT on Thursday.