08:30 PM IST: Welcome to the live blog of Croatia vs Canada, FIFA World Cup 2022 Group F match in Qatar.
The runners-up from the previous World Cup did not get off to the start they wanted. Croatia faces a spirited Canada side in their second FIFA World Cup 2022 group stage game on Monday. The Vatreni were held to a goalless draw by Morocco in their opening fixture, while The Reds succumbed to the Red Devils of Belgium in a 1-0 loss.
John Herdman’s men produced a very brave display against European heavyweights Belgium on Wednesday. His side outshot the 2018 bronze medallists 22 to nine but were left to rue Alphonso Davies’ first-half penalty miss in a bitter 1-0 defeat. Canda were very active in the final third, constantly searching for holes in the rivalling defence.
Croatia Form (all comps): W-W-W-W-D
Canada Form (all comps): W-L-D-W-L
Players to watch
Kovacic employs a progressive mindset, eager to drive the ball forward in search of advanced passes into the final third. Especially in transition, the Croatian’s ability to burst past defenders in the middle of the park provides a lethal edge. Kovacic often scans the field for a central line-breaking pass.
He plays a crucial role in the midfield, connecting the defence to the attack with his dynamic progressivism. Mateo Kovacic is a spirited, adept midfield general, who constantly strives to advance the ball with his progressive mentality while simultaneously guarding the defence against opposition breaks. His presence will play a crucial role against the Canadians.
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The Canadian’s combination of speed, physicality, and stamina allows him to chase down counterattacks and regain possession, but it also provides him with the ability to bully opposing fullbacks with his quick feet, powerful shot, and devastating change of pace. His performance even despite missing the penalty against Belgium was very good and he will hope to replicate the same level of performance against Croatia.
Croatia and Canada have never met in men’s international football.
Croatia XI: (4-3-3)
Livakovic; Juranovic, Lovren, Gvardiol, Sosa; Modric, Brozovic, Kovacic; Pasalic, Kramaric, Perisic.
Canada XI: (3-4-3)
Borjan; Johnston, Vitoria, Miller; Laryea, Eustaquio, Hutchinson, Davies; Buchanan, David, Hoilett.
Croatia vs Canada: Prediction
Croatia will need to step up and offer a much braver performance here in the second round. This should leave space for the Canadians to strike as we expect them to bring another attacking-minded performance here.
Canada certainly demonstrated a greater sense of attacking desire than Croatia did on matchday one, but any similar sort of profligacy will prove fatal versus a steadfast Chequered Ones’ defence. This Croatia side is the favourite heading into Sunday’s fixture – but not by the margin many may have imagined.
Prediction: Croatia 1-1 Canada