Nottingham Forest defender Richie Laryea made his first start at the World Cup tonight, playing 75 minutes as Canada lost 1-0 to Belgium.
It proved a spirited but frustrating night for the Canadians as they played a game at the World Cup for the first time since 1986.
Things should have started in brilliant fashion but Alphonso Davies missed a penalty kick earlier doors with the score goalless.
John Herdman’s team were left to rue that miss on the stroke of half-time when Michy Batshuayi scored on the counter-attack.
Canada played some lovely football in the second half and they can take some positives from their performance.
For Laryea it was a very satisfying night. Forest fans might have settled in to watch this game to take a closer look at the 27-year-old.
His six-month spell at Forest proved frustrating, with the player behind Djed Spence in the pecking order as the Reds went in search of promotion.
He made five appearances for the Reds since arriving in January. Just one of those came as a start though and that came on the final day against Hull.
Against Belgium, he was very decent. He drew praise out of Jermaine Jenas and produced a breathtaking block to thwart Batshuayi in the second half.
Laryea’s energy was there for all to see. When he left the pitch to be substituted, BBC flashed up a graphic that showed he had run 8.6km during the clash.
He also made four key passes and managed two shots of his own on goal as Canada went in search of an equaliser (Who Scored).
Laryea made first World Cup star and Forest fans will be delighted
Overall, Canada need to be more ruthless in both boxes. They were badly wasteful when trying to find the net and allowed Batshuayi to score an easy goal at the other.
Losing 1-0 to Belgium is hardly a disaster. They did run out of legs at the end but ultimately this performance was against a side backed by many to win the tournament.
Laryea was a major positive of the Canada team. He was energetic beyond belief and he showcased exactly what he’s capable of given the chance.
If Canada are to have any chance of success at this tournament they will have to brush up on their finishing.
Next up for Herdman’s team is Croatia on Sunday afternoon and Laryea will hope to be the start attraction once again.