Against Croatia, the red devils must win to stand a chance of qualification while a draw would be good enough on paper for the Croats.
Croatia and Belgium will face one another in perhaps the most important fixture in Group F at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar. Croatia responded to a goalless draw with Morocco in their first Group F match with an impressive 4-1 victory over Canada on Sunday, boosting their last-16 hopes while eliminating the Maple Leafs. The Checkered Ones had to work hard for the three points at first, with Alphonso Davies putting Canada ahead after only 67 seconds, but Andrej Kramaric and Marko Livaja both scored near the end of the first half to turn the game around. Kramaric then scored his second goal of the game 20 minutes from time before Lovro Majer came off the bench to seal the three points and put Croatia in control of Group F.
|Croatia vs Belgium||Key details|
|Venue||Ahmed bin Ali Stadium|
|Kickoff time in India||8:30 pm|
|Kickoff time in Croatia||4 pm|
|Kickoff time in Belgiun||4 pm|
|Kickoff time in Qatar||6 pm|
Belgium’s golden generation is now facing the prospect of an early exit from the group stage in Qatar. The Red Devils were fortunate to come away with maximum points in their first Group F match, a 1-0 win over a tenacious Canada side, but their luck ran out against Morocco, who beat them 2-0 on Sunday thanks to late goals from Romain Saiss and Zakaria Aboukhlal. While riots broke out in the streets of Brussels following the match, alleged frictions within the Belgium camp have emerged, with recent media reports claiming that Romelu Lukaku had to intervene to break up a post-match dressing room brawl between Kevin De Bruyne and Jan Vertonghen. Against Croatia, the red devils must win to stand a chance of qualification while a draw would be good enough on paper for the Croats.
Croatia coach Dalic is unlikely to make many changes to his starting lineup following Sunday’s victory, which could mean Livaja remains as the central striker between Kramaric and Ivan Perisic. Luka Modric, 37, is one booking away from a suspension, but the Real Madrid captain is expected to keep his place in midfield alongside Mateo Kovacic and Marcelo Brozovic. While Dejan Lovren and Josko Gvardiol keep their centre-back partnership, Josip Juranovic and Borna Sosa will be hoping to keep their full-back positions ahead of Josip Stanisic and Borna Barisic, respectively.
Martinez is forced to make at least one change for Belgium on Thursday, as midfielder Amadou Onana is suspended, with Youri Tielemans expected to deputise alongside Axel Witsel. Romelu Lukaku, who has been hampered by hamstring and thigh injuries this season, came off the bench to make his first appearance in Qatar against Morocco, and Martinez is hopeful that the striker will be fit to start against Croatia. However, Michy Batshuayi remains the most likely candidate to lead the line for the Red Devils, while De Bruyne and Eden Hazard are expected to keep their places despite the attacking duo’s struggles in Qatar thus far.
Croatia possible line-up: Livakovic; Juranovic, Lovren, Gvardiol, Sosa; Modric, Brozovic, Kovacic; Kramaric, Livaja, Perisic
Belgium possible line-up: Courtois; Castagne, Alderweireld, Vertonghen; Meunier, Tielemans, Witsel, Carrasco; De Bruyne, E. Hazard; Batshuayi
|Saudi Arabia||0-1 (W)|
|The Netherlands||1-0 (L)|
|Last 5 matches (all competitions)||Results|
|Belgium beat Croatia||1-0|
|Belgium beat Croatia||2-1|
|Croatia beat Belgium||1-0|
|Belgium beat Croatia||2-1|
The FIFA World Cup match between Croatia and Belgium will take place at Ahmed bin Ali Stadium on Thursday at 8:30 pm IST.
The FIFA World Cup in Qatar can be seen on Sports18 – 1 SD & HD – in India. Sports 18 will be telecasting the games on the regular and HD Channels. Besides, Viacom18 Sports announced that JioCinema will live-stream all the World Cup games. Moreover, the match between Croatia and Belgium can be seen on HRT in Croatia, and RTBF and VRT in Belgium.