John Herdman believes his Canada side proved they belong at the World Cup after they outshone Belgium only to slip to a narrow defeat.
Michy Batshuayi hit the only goal of the game as a lacklustre Belgium, ranked second in the world, began Group F with a barely-deserved 1-0 win.
Canada – 39 places lower than Belgium in the rankings – had earlier missed a penalty as Alphonso Davies' tame effort was saved by Thibaut Courtois before they were potentially denied two further first-half spot-kicks.
Playing in their first World Cup in 36 years, Canada more than held their own and had 21 shots on goal compared to nine from Belgium.
Englishman Herdman guided Les Rouges back to the world stage following a fine qualification campaign - becoming the first coach to manage at both the men's and women's World Cups.
"They showed tonight that they do belong here," he said.
"It has been a long time since we have been back, our fans were football fans, they really tried to own the stadium tonight.
"They [the fans] walked away proud I'm sure, proud and feeling like we are a footballing nation. We came into the game with a couple of goals, the first was to play fearless and the second goal was to entertain.
"We had some other goals - to create some firsts, but we never got to those moments. I think at times it was one pass too many around the box. I'm not going to criticise them because when you outshoot Belgium I can't complain too much.
Canada World Cup 2022 squad
Canada, led by captain Atiba Hutchinson, are a versatile blend of youth and experience, with Herdman not shying away from promoting young talents: Alistair Johnston, who plays for Montréal, has played almost every minute of qualification, only two years after playing at collegiate level.
Goalkeepers: Milan Borjan (Red Star Belgrade), James Pantemis (CF Montreal), Dayne St. Clair (Minnesota United)
Defenders: Sam Adekugbe (Hatayspor), Derek Cornelius (Panetolikos), Alistair Johnston (CF Montreal), Richie Laryea (Nottingham Forrest), Kamal Miller (CF Montreal), Steven Vitoria (Chaves), Joel Waterman (CF Montreal)
Midfielders: Stephen Eustaquio (FC Porto), Liam Fraser (Deinze), Atiba Hutchinson (Besiktas), Mark-Anthony Kaye (Toronto FC), Ismael Kone (CF Montreal), Jonathan Osorio (Toronto FC), Samuel Piette (CF Montreal), David Wotherspoon (St. Johnstone)
Forwards: Tajon Buchanan (Club Brugge), Lucas Cavallini (Vancouver Whitecaps), Jonathan David (Lille), Alphonso Davies (Bayern Munich), Junior Hoillett (Reading), Cyle Larin (Club Brugge), Liam Miller (FC Basel), Ike Ugbo (Troyes)
Who is their best player?
Canada's World Cup side is defined by its promising youth, and the most dazzling amongst these players is almost certainly gifted winger Alphonso Davies. The most expensive Canadian player in history won the Champions League in 2020 with Bayern Munich, and is the face of Canada's footballing renaissance.
Davies had a penalty saved in the opening game against Belgium, but ranked highly in Telegraph Sport's readers ratings, though team-mate, defender Alistair Johnston, was the readers' player of the match.
What are Canada's results and fixtures?
November 23: Belgium 1 Canada 0
November 27: Croatia vs Canada
December 1: Canada vs Morocco
What is Canada's World Cup record?
Canada have made only one appearance at a World Cup, in 1986, where they failed to make it out of the group stage after losses against France, Hungary, and the Soviet Union. They did not score a goal in any of those five matches.
The golden generation, however, have ushered in a new atmosphere of positivity around Qatar 2022, despite the challenges they face in a thorny group. Canada won the third round of Conacaf qualifiers, beating runners-up Mexico for the first time in more than 20 years, and so start the competition on a wave of confidence.
Argentina | Australia | Belgium | Brazil | Cameroon | Canada | Costa Rica | Croatia | Denmark | Ecuador | England | France | Germany | Ghana | Iran | Japan | Mexico | Morocco | Netherlands | Poland | Portugal | Qatar | Saudi Arabia | Senegal | Serbia | South Korea | Spain | Switzerland | Tunisia | Uruguay | USA | Wales
Canada are currently a best price of 500/1 to win the World Cup 2022.