Croatia vs Belgium is the match of the 2018 finalists against the very tournament’s semi-finalists. Both had golden generations at the previous competition in Russia and while most of the players from that event are still in this year’s squad, due to aging, it seems like each of those men has the last realistic chance to lift the FIFA World Cup trophy.
Those who had been doubting Belgium heading into the tournament in Qatar, now have somewhat of confirmation to that worry especially when they saw Morocco deservedly getting a 2-0 win against the currently second nation in the FIFA ranking.
For Belgium, it’s either win or draw (provided Morocco faces a heavy defeat to Canada) that secures their place in the last 16. As for Croatia, a draw is the least (albeit with a condition that Morocco also faces a tie against Canada) among other possibilities to qualify for the knockouts.
Croatia vs Belgium Recent Team News And Expected Lineups
Hajduk Split forward Marko Livaja who scored in Croatia’s 4-1 win over Canada a few days earlier is expected to be on the pitch from minute one against Belgium as the first choice in his position, Nikola Vlasic is still recovering from an injury he suffered ahead of the victory over the North Americans. Croatian boss Zlatko Dalic seems improbable to make too many changes heading into the clash against the Red Devils. So attackers Kramaric and Ivan Perisic should very well be in the first eleven. Kovacic and Marcelo Brozovic are other definite players to start for Croatia along with Dejan Lovren and Josko Gvardiol with the latter two being the key players at the back. Other players who can count on keeping their place in the starting eleven are Josip Juranovic and Borna Sosa. One young face Josip Stanisic of Bayern Munich and a veteran Borna Barisic of Rangers might also make appearances off the bench for the Croats.
For Belgium, one arguably good news is that Internazionale forward Romelu Lukaku seems to be fit for the starting eleven. This all started after he appeared late on the pitch when Belgium was facing Morocco the other day. The 29-year-old striker who was instrumental in Belgium’s impressive run at the previous tournament was mostly unavailable due to a hamstring injury. Despite being in a somewhat off form, the midfielder duo Kevin de Bruyne and Eden Hazard are guaranteed to start. People can also expect to see Leicester City full-back Timothy Castagne, Royal Antwerp center-back Toby Alderweireld, and Anderlecht defender Jan Vetonghen as Belgium’s first-choice backline. They obviously will be shielding their no 1 shot stopper and man of the match from the 2022 UCL final, Thibaut Courtois.
Croatia vs Belgium Possible Lineups
Croatia: Livakovic; Juranovic, Lovren, Gvardiol, Sosa; Modric, Brozovic, Kovacic; Kramaric, Livaja, Perisic
Belgium: Courtois; Castagne, Alderweireld, Vertonghen; Meunir, Tielemans, Witsel, Carrasco; De Bruyne, E Hazard; Batshuayi
Croatia vs Belgium Predictions
It’s the Belgians who have the bigger pressure than the Croatians. And somehow, these Belgium sides haven’t been the team convincing enough to win even a relaxed match much less the duels when the stakes are particularly high. Furthermore, even on their worst day, Croatia hasn’t been the team who facilitates surprise results, one that is against them.
Their start to the World Cup 2022 may not have been as expected but their past cohesive quality on the pitch is still intact to some level. It’s worth noting that Croatia holds a strong run of form ahead of their match against their fellow European competitors. The Checkered ones are unbeaten in their last eight matches across all competitions. Add to that, Luka Modric and co have faced only one defeat in their last 18 international outings. With that stats on the cards versus Belgium’s declining form, the Balkans look promising enough to capitalize on what they are going to face.
We, therefore, are rooting for the East Europeans to end the Red Devils’ journey with an outcome of 2-1.
Projected Scoreline: Croatia 2-1 Belgium
Croatia vs Belgium Previous Meetings
Croatia and Belgium have met each other mostly at competitive fixtures with only one being an international friendly. Altogether the records are evenly divided between the two. They each have won three of their previous meetings and only two games have ended in a draw.
In recent times, however, Belgium has the best records. They have remained undefeated in the last three games they played against the Vatreni.
Croatia vs Belgium Most Recent Odds
|13/8 (2.63) to win|
|5/1 (6.00) for Romelu Lukaku to score the first goal|
|6/1 (7.00) for Michy Batshuayi to score the first goal|
|13/8 (2.63) to win|
|13/2 (7.50) for Andrej Kramaric to score the first goal|
|7/1 (8.00) for Ante Budimir to score the first goal|
|12/5 (3.40) for a draw|
Croatia vs Belgium Each Of The Teams Previous Stats
|10||Shots on target||2|
|4||Big chances missed||0|
|9||Shots inside box||1|
|3||Shots on target||4|
|2||Big chances missed||0|
|5||Shots inside box||6|