Belgium faces a do-or-die contest to stay in the 2022 FIFA World Cup in their final group game against leaders Croatia.
The Checkered Ones smacked four past Canada despite going behind in the second minute of the game while the Red Devils suffered a major upset in losing 2-0 to Morocco.
CRO vs BEL Match Details
Date: Thursday, 1 December 2022
Time: 18:00 (AST) / 20:30 (IST)
Venue: Ahmad bin Ali Stadium, Al Rayyan
CRO vs BEL Match Preview
Zlatko Dalic’s men showed they are not backing down from any challenge in picking up the first win in the tournament after a goalless draw against Morocco. Croatia managed only five shots in that game but outpoured the amount in the next one with 13. Yet they had to come behind to show their true self, going down in the second minute with Alphonso Davies scoring Canada’s first-ever goal in Men’s World Cup. Andrej Kramaric brought back level in the 36th minute after his early strike was flagged offside and later add another in the second half. Marko Livaja and Lovro Majer were the other scorers in the game. The win puts Croatia in pole position to qualify for the round of 16 and they only have to avoid defeat in the last group stage game against Belgium to make it certain. In that case, a Morocco win over Canada will not disturb them. The African nation drew themselves into contention after a surprise win over the Red Devils on Sunday. Despite early inconsistency in the qualifiers, the Checkered Ones have boasted a strong record of not losing a single game in their last eight matches including friendlies. The issue for them will be the underwhelming record against Belgium with no victory secured in this meeting since 2010. Croatia also lost the two against the Red Devils but will wish their excellent performance against Canada grant them a victory here. Zlatko Dalic’s men will like to avoid facing Brazil in the last 16 so finishing at the top of Group F is the priority.
Belgium’s rusting golden generation had their ground shaking when Morocco showed their ability to nullify higher-ranked opposition in this World Cup again. The Atlas Lions beat the Red Devils 2-0 to put them on the verge of elimination if they fail to manage a positive result against the Croats in the final group match. That defeat did not only have repercussions in a reported dressing room breakdown but also off-field with riots breaking out in Brussels, Belgium’s capital city and in few other areas. There have been clear tensions between Kevin De Bruyne and Jan Vertonghen in the post-match interviews with reports emerging of broken relationships between players. The camp has since dismissed those claims but Thibaut Courtois has warned anyone leaking matters outside will be banned forever from the national team. However, all of these clearly suggested the team once holding the best-ranked nation emblem is deteriorating first. De Bruyne has openly said this team is now ‘’too old’’ to win any trophy and the best chance they had was in the 2018 World Cup where they finished third. That was the best finish to a major tournament this squad has ever managed over the years. But being old is not the factor as lack of rotation in the squad has been the real issue for Roberto Martinez and co. Now, the manager is under tremendous pressure to sort things out in the final match and wishes Morocco somehow stumbles against already eliminated Canada in the other simultaneous kick-off.
CRO vs BEL Predicted Lineups
CAN: Dominik Livakovic; Josip Juranovic, Dejan Lovren, Josko Gvardiol, Borna Sosa; Luka Modric, Marcelo Brozovic, Mateo Kovacic; Andrej Kramaric, Marko Livaja, Ivan Perisic
BEL: Thibaut Courtois; Timothy Castagne, Toby Alderweireld, Jan Vertonghen; Thomas Meunier, Youri Tielemans, Axel Witsel, Yannick Carrasco; De Bruyne, Eden Hazard; Romelu Lukaku
CRO vs BEL Dream11 Team Prediction
GK: Courtois (8)
DEF: Juranovic (6.5), Gvardiol (8), Vertonghen (8), Sosa (7.5)
MID: De Bruyne (9), Kovacic (8), Modric (9)
FW: Kramaric (8), Lukaku (9), Perisic (9)
Vice-captain: Luka Modric
Captain: Andrej Kramaric