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'This game can be cruel': Canadian fans inspired by team's effort, but lament missed chance

Instead of sitting back against what many expected to be a far superior opponent entering the match, the Canadian men's national team came out on fire in its first World Cup game since 1986, overwhelming the Red Devils.
ismaelkone
Canada's Ismael Kone covers his face at the end of the World Cup group F soccer match between Belgium and Canada, at the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium in Doha, Qatar.

Canada had 21 shots to Belgium's nine, 2.83 expected goals to Belgium's 0.86, and generally dominated play against the world's number two ranked team.

But with a 1-0 victory, it's Belgium that moves on with three points to Canada's zero.

It's an unfair game.

Instead of sitting back against what many expected to be a far superior opponent entering the match, the Canadian men's national team came out on fire in its first World Cup game since 1986, overwhelming the Red Devils.

Backed by a ferocious group of Canadian supporters in Qatar, Canada jumped on Belgium early and earned a penalty kick nine minutes in. But even with superstar Alphonso Davies on the spot, Belgian 'keeper Thibault Courtois managed to stretch out for the save.

Canada kept the momentum going despite that missed opportunity, forcing chance after chance by slicing through its opponent, but couldn't find the scoresheet before Belgium struck near the end of the first half.

While Canada lost some steam in the second frame, Les Rouges continued to drive the play over Belgium.

In the end, Canada couldn't get it done, and became the first team since 1978 to attempt at least 20 shots and a penalty kick without scoring a goal — one that still evades the Canadian men at a World Cup.

As the result sets in, there are mixed feelings from supporters across Canada — some in anguish over the missed opportunity, some inspired and encouraged by the team's fearless effort against one of the world's best, and many falling somewhere in between.

Here's a look at some of the best reactions:

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