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World Cup Previews: Belgium v Canada | The breadth of expectations potential upset for group F

A knockout place in the balance as the heavyweights take on the surprising Canucks

The second matchday of Group F will see Croatia look to qualify for a place in the knockout stage. They can accomplish that with a win after drawing 0-0 with a resilient Moroccan team. Canada, who won the hearts of many with their performance against Belgium, need a result of any kind to stay in the hunt. The game is the last one of the day so both teams will know the result from the preceding Belgium vs Morocco match.

John Herdman, Canada’s English coach summarized their position:

“That was a commitment from this group … We achieved a performance that we’re proud of. They broke personal-best records in their physical performance. I mean that was guys pushing genuine PBs. It was actually quite special what we saw in terms of the high-intensity running and total kilometres. And then they’ve got to go do it again.”

The Game

Location: Khalifa International Stadium, Doha, Qatar

Date: Sunday, November 27th

Kick-off Time: 16:00 GMT / 11:00 ET / 8:00 PT

Predicted Line-ups

Croatia Starting XI (4-3-3): Livakovic; Juranovic, Lovren, Gvardiol, Sosa; Modric, Brozovic, Kovacic; Pasalic, Kramaric, Perisic.

Canada Starting XI (3-4-3): Borjan; Johnston, Vitoria, Miller; Laryea, Eustaquio, Hutchinson, Davies; Buchanan, David, Hoilett.

For Croatia, Nikola Vlasic was forced off the field with a calf problem against Morocco. However, Marko Livaja came on in the second half after recovering from a quadriceps contusion which had hampered his World Cup buildup.

For Canada Alphonso Davies, Stephen Eustaquio and goalkeeper Milan Borjan were all struggling to be ready for Belgium match. All three made the starting lineup so Canada have a full squad from whom to choose.

Final Thoughts

Canada’s Alphonso Davies, who had a penalty saved by Thibault Courtois in the first match will need to lead the team by example. The disappointment of his missed penalty needs to be pushed to the side and the team needs to replicate their effort and pressure that saw them outshoot Belgium 22-9. The work that was done to smother the skilled Belgium players needs to be applied to Luka Modric and Ivan Perisic who can run a game better than most.

Croatia seemed to lack a little in the final third against Morocco on Matchday 1 with the two teams playing out a 0-0 draw. Canada, on the other hand, created chance after chance against Belgium, even missing a penalty, but still ended up losing the game 1-0, so both teams have a point to prove in this game. Both need to improve their finishing.

Morocco v Croatia: Group F - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Photo by Visionhaus/Getty Images
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