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Winner takes all as Croatia and Belgium go to war in search of qualification

November 30th 2022, 10:26:23 pm

Croatia and Belgium will both secure qualification to the round of 16 with a win but who will get it?

Croatia v Belgium preview and prediction

Croatia currently sits top of Group F with four points but their place is far from secure going into the final round of group-stage games.

The Vatreni as they’re popularly referred to need to avoid defeat against Belgium on Thursday, December 1 to qualify for the next round.

AFP/AFP

Belgium on the other hand need to win or be eliminated in the group stage having already suffered a defeat to Morocco in their last game.

Roberto Martinez’s team have been below par in this tournament so far but the threat of early elimination could inspire them back into form when it matters most.

AFP/AFP
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These two European nations have crossed paths six times before in the past with Belgium winning three, Croatia winning two and one draw in those encounters.

Belgium have won their last two games against Croatia but the Croatians are in great form, currently on an eight-game unbeaten run including six wins.

THIBAUT COURTOIS

Unfortunately for Belgium, it's not been a great tournament so far and their only standout player has been the goalkeeper, Thibaut Courtois which tells the full story.

ANDREJ KRAMARIC

Courtesy of his two-goal performance in the 4-1 thrashing of Canada, Croatian striker Andrej Kramaric has become a person of interest heading into this game against Belgium.

The 31-year-old has proven to be the focal point for Croatia and his ability to link up and create play makes him a more rounded attacker.

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If Roberto Martinez aims to improve on the poor displays of Belgium's first two games, he must switch up the tactics away from his preferred three at the back to a more traditional shape to get the best out of this squad.

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Zlatko Dalic on the other hand would most likely set up his Croatia team in a sturdy defensive shape but with a potent counter-attacking threat.

BELGIUM 4-3-3: Courtois, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Meunier, Castagne, Onana, Tielemans, De Bruyne, E. Hazard, Trossard, Openda.

CROATIA 4-3-3: Livakovic, Juranovic, Lovren, Gvardiol, Sosa, Brozovic, Kovacic, Modric, Majer, Perisic, Kramaric.

Belgium needs a win to advance and it is expected that their world-class players would step up when it matters most to send them through to the next round.

BELGIUM 2-1 CROATIA

Tunde Young
Tunde is an experienced sports writer/journalist dedicated to promoting Nigerian excellence in sports

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