Football fans were left annoyed on Wednesday night, believing that a huge referee error cost Canada a second penalty against Belgium, in their first World Cup game since 1986.
Canada had not qualified for the World Cup in 36 years until earlier this year, a moment that left then unavailable Alphonso Davies in tears,
They did not have the easiest of starts to their campaign, coming up against the second best team in the world, according to FIFA's rankings.
Belgium have had their own 'golden generation,' with many believing that they'd missed their best chance at winning something in previous tournaments.
Despite Roberto Martinez's side being favourites for the game, Canada came out of the blocks flying, as they hoped to score their country's first ever World Cup goal.
They had the perfect chance in the 10th minute, when Yannick Carrasco was adjudged, by VAR, to have handled the ball in the box.
Davies stepped up to take the spot kick but Real Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois was equal to it and made a save, denying the Bayern Munich man.
Just two minutes later, the North Americans found themselves appealing for another penalty, when Tajon Buchanan appeared to be tripped in the box.
The assistant referee came to the Europeans' aid, raising his flag to show that Buchanan was offside, meaning no VAR check was needed.
However, fans noticed that the ball to Buchanan had actually been played by Eden Hazard, which meant there shouldn't have been an offside flag.
Canada robbed of another penalty by the referee. Linesman gave offside when Hazard passed the ball.pic.twitter.com/sQubZzGWvM— FootballPrinted (@FootballPrinted) November 23, 2022
"That is an ATROCIOUS call by the referee. Canada would’ve had a golden opportunity to score (and arguably could’ve been a penalty), but the ref calls it offside even though it was off a bad Hazard back pass," one fan said on social media.
"How have I just seen that the potential penalty on Buchanan was called offside when Hazard was the one that passed to him? Lmfao so we should have had two stonewalls that weren’t given, nice," a second added.
A third needed clarification of what he'd seen, asking, "How’s that not been called as another penalty but given offside ? Hazard passed the ball back no?"
Another pointed out there there could have been a third spot kick as well, saying, "Hazard passed the ball back, ref called offside on Canada, 1 penalty missed, 2 clear penalties not called.. this ref and VAR is a joke."
All over Belgium, missed one penalty, should have had another two given to them and somehow losing 1-0 at half time.— Paddy Power (@paddypower) November 23, 2022
Canada hasn't been this screwed over since Survivor Series 1997. pic.twitter.com/0N8FQj6iGF
John Herdman's side would not have been happy to see another penalty not given, when Axel Witsel appeared to trip Richie Laryea, but it wasn't given.
Even before the match there was controversy around the referee, with Janny Sikazwe taking charge of his first World Cup game.
The official became a huge story early this year, when he twice finished a game between Tunisia and Mali early, in the African Cup of Nations.
The manager, who became the first to take charge of a side in a men's and women's World Cup, having taken charge of New Zealand Women in the 2007 and 2011 tournaments, would have then been gutted to see his side go behind.
Michy Batshuayi broke the deadlock on the stroke of half time, guiding the ball home as it bounced over his shoulder from Toby Alderweireld's pass.
Canada continued to be the better side but couldn't find a way through themselves and Martinez's side took the three points.
Featured Image Credit: Twitter
Topics: Football World Cup, Belgium, Eden Hazard, VAR