Roberto Martinez gives an honest assessment after Belgium scraped past Canada

Belgium coach Roberto Martinez has admitted his side need to improve after securing a narrow 1-0 win over Canada at the World Cup, although he is happy with the result in light of the likes of Argentina and Germany being beaten in their opening matches.

Canada, playing in its first World Cup match in 36 long years, did its best to make it the third major upset of the week after Saudi Arabia’s victory over Argentina and Japan beating Germany.

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The Canadians had a glorious early chance to take the lead, only to see Thibaut Courtois equalize with Alphonso Davies’ penalty. The vibrant Maple Leafs played high pressure and without fear, creating other opportunities that they were also unable to take.

Michy Batshuayi gave Belgium the lead just before half-time, with a pass over the middle. That seemed to provide some composure, while substitutions from Martinez at the break and into the second half also worked in Belgium’s favor to put the game out of Canada’s reach.

“Canada deserved to be better than us the way they played,” Martinez told BBC Match of the Day after the final whistle. “I think the result reflects the things we had to do and how we defended each other and took our chances.

“It’s a win and we have to play better and grow. We’ve been here for five days, we have to grow with these games. A lot of top teams lose games. This tournament will make you develop and grow during the tournament. If you do that by winning games it is an incredible advantage.

“Today we didn’t win with our normal talent and quality on the ball, but you don’t win in the World Cup if you don’t do the other side of the game. We have to be realistic, we have to play well, but when a team can win without playing well is a lot to build on.”

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