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Croatia vs Belgium, FIFA World Cup 2022, Today Match Prediction

Al Rayyan, Ahmed bin Ali Stadium

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Two heavyweights hoping for qualification in Croatia and Belgium

  • Croatia sparked into life in their second game by beating Canada 4-1
  • Belgium have looked leggy at this tournament and need a win here to progress
  • Morocco are favourites to qualify and only need a point against Canada

Croatia to win 2-1

Tournament: FIFA World Cup 2022 | Venue: Al Rayyan, Ahmed bin Ali Stadium

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This game has so much riding on it from both nations’ perspectives.

Croatia were the runners-up at the 2018 World Cup and, as such, plenty was expected from them coming into the tournament. They started slowly with a 0-0 draw against Morocco but sprung into life against Canada.

Despite going behind, Croatia rallied with a fine display of attacking talent. It served as a reminder how talented his Croatian squad is when they click. A point will be enough to secure qualification here. Lose, and they must hope that Canada beat Morocco.

Belgium, on the other hand, have it all to do. If they win this game, they will have qualified at either Croatia or Morocco’s expense. 

A draw could be enough in the unlikely scenario that Canada thrash Morocco by four or more goals. It would appear that Belgium need to squeeze one last ounce from their golden generation of talent here.

Croatia Preview

FIFA Ranking: 12

Predicted Finish: Round of 16

Reasons to be cheerful:

     Showed full extent of attacking talent in 4-1 win over Canada

     Unbeaten in last eight matches

Reasons to be fearful:

     Haven’t beaten Belgium since 2010

     Will be their toughest test at this tournament so far

Croatia have the luxury of knowing that a point will be enough to qualify for the Round of 16 here, an achievement they have accomplished at the past two World Cups.

They come into this one eight matches unbeaten, while they have only lost one of their last 18 games since Euro 2020. It’s an impressive record over recent times and will set them up nicely here.

This will, of course, be their sternest test so far. Belgium are not the team they once were, but they will be desperate to qualify and will probably have Romelu Lukaku back if he is fit enough.

In Kramaric, Perisic and co. they have one or two ageing attackers themselves, but it seems as though this Croatian team is ready for one last hurrah.

Star Man – Luca Modric

Didn’t score in the 4-1 win over Canada and nor did he claim an assist, but his beautiful, metronomic passing is a joy to watch in midfield. The likes of Kovacic and Brozovic all play better alongside him.

Belgium Preview

FIFA Ranking: 2

Predicted Finish: Group Stage

Reasons to be cheerful

     Romelu Lukaku may be fit enough from the start

     Unbeaten from last three meetings with Croatia

Reasons to be fearful

     May struggle to keep Croatia out at the back

     Have lost three of their last four in all competitions

For one of the pre-tournament favourites at this World Cup, you wonder how it’s all gone wrong for them. 

You can point at how many of their star players are now past their peak years, although both Brazil and Argentina have older squads at this tournament. 

Romelu Lukaku has been a big miss so far at this tournament, with the big striker only playing nine minutes in his side’s defeat to Morocco. He may be risked from the start here as Belgium don’t have the luxury of bringing him back slowly.

The Belgians have a good record against Croatia, going undefeated in their last three. They will need to go one better here and win if they are to guarantee their place in the Round of 16.

Star Man – Kevin De Bruyne

The midfield maestro caused a stir when he said that Belgium were too old to win the World Cup, but that hasn’t been far wrong. He needs every ounce of talent available to him if he is to inspire his team here.

     Croatia will be patient in attack

     Belgium, however, will try and start quick

     First goal will be massive

We’ve witnessed a few cracking matches of late and neutrals are keeping their fingers crossed that we have another one here.

Belgium need to come out and win the game, so we should expect them to start on the front foot. Croatia, with Modric controlling things, won’t panic and won’t rush into pressing forward.

They know they have the form and momentum with them and are likely to see off this ageing Belgium team.

Croatia to win 2-1

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Author: Ross B.