Croatia’s road to gold has begun! The Vatreni are set to face Morocco, Canada, and Belgium in Group F of the 2022 World Cup.
Group F is quite ideal for Croatia. They will kickstart their campaign against Morocco and Canada, two very beatable sides. If the Vatreni can escape those games with six points, the final group stage match against Belgium might not even matter – similar to Croatia’s matchup against Iceland in the 2018 World Cup. Now, let’s take a look at each side in the group and what we should expect:
Morocco – Definitely one of the better African sides. However, star player Hakim Ziyech quit international football not too long ago due to conflicts with the Moroccan manager. PSG’s Archaf Hakimi will play on the right side of the pitch, but shouldn’t be too much trouble for Perišić and Sosa on the Vatreni’s left side. Morocco’s striker Youssef En-Nesyri has been cold this season in La LIga, only scoring three times in 15 matches. Overall, Croatia are the better side by far. As long as Dalić’s men can produce on the offensive end, this match should not be too difficult.
Match prediction: 2-0 Croatia
Canada – Modrić, Kovačić, and Brozović will obliterate Canada’s MLS heavy midfield. The Canadian backline is also very poor, considering the high possibility that star player Alphonso Davies will play the left-wing role. Jonathan David will be a threat at the striker position due to his rapid pace and fantastic weak foot, but nothing too significant for the world’s best young center-back, Joško Gvardiol. Canada will be playing in conditions 70 degrees hotter than what they are used to. I feel that the World Cup will be a rude awakening for this Canadian side after an easy CONCACAF qualification bracket.
Match prediction: 3-1 Croatia
Belgium – Belgium is sooooo 2018. I haven’t seen them as a threat since the last World Cup. Romelu Lukaku, Eden Hazard, and Axel Witsel are not the close to the same players that they once were. Even with Kevin de Bruyne, their midfield is no match for the Vatreni’s. Perišić and Majer should be able to expose their aging, shaky backline down the wings, while Kramarić succeeds down the middle due to his quickness. Croatians have no reason to fear this Belgian side.
Match prediction: 1-1
Group F projection:
- Croatia – 7 points
- Belgium – 5 points
- Morocco – 4 points
- Canada – 0 points