Our prediction for this World Cup 2022 match:
All eyes will be on Ahmad bin Ali Stadium when Croatia and Belgium face each other in the Group F derby. Following a 2-0 loss to Morocco, Belgium face a must-win situation in the decider, and they are likely to go all guns blazing at the “Vatreni”. Midfielder Amadou Onana serves a one-game ban, with Youri Tielemans likely to step up. Fit-again Inter striker Romelu Lukaku should start as well after coming as a substitute in the second group game.
Zlatko Dalic’s troops, on the other hand, came from behind to crush Canada 4-1 in Doha to climb to top position in Group F. Since the Croats are one point away from booking their spot in the last 16, they are likely to adopt a cautious approach in Thursday’s clash. With no fresh injury worries to report, Zlatko Dalic is unlikely to make changes to the team that defeated the Canucks. Anyhow, away win should be considered as the time has come for Kevin de Bruyne and Co. to prove their worth on the field.
Highlighted Player (Luka Modric):
Luka Modric is regarded as one of the best central midfielders in world football. The Croatian ace is a product of Dinamo Zagreb’s youth school and it has to be noted that he played 94 league games for the Modri between 2003 and 2008. In 2008 he signed a six-year deal with Tottenham Hotspur for a fee of £16.5 million.
Luka made his Tottenham debut on 16 August, 2008 in a 2-1 loss to Middlesbrough at Riverside Stadium. The Croatian star scored only 13 goals in 127 league appearances for the Spurs, but he is well known for his brilliant passing. In 2012 he signed for Real Madrid for a fee of £30 million and he made his debut against Barcelona in the 2012 Spanish Super Cup, return leg.
Modric quickly established himself as a first-team regular and, no doubt, he helped the capital club win two Champions League trophies (2013/2014, 2015/2016). You should bear in mind that he was named Croatian Footballer of the Year in 2007, 2008, 2011 and 2014.
Highlighted Team (Belgium):
Present on the international stage since 1904, Belgium national team have had plenty of ups and downs in the past, finishing as runners up at the 1980 European Championship in Italy. The Red Devils also won the third place on home soil at the 1972 tournament, while they enjoyed some success at the World Cup finals as well.
Belgium qualified for 12 World Cup tournaments, reaching the semi-finals in 1986 and quarter-finals at the 2014 tournament in Brazil. It is the generation that played in Brazil that is believed to be the most talented team since the one featuring Enzo Scifo, Michel Preud’homme and Franky van der Elst.
Playing their home games at King Baudouin Stadium, the Red Devils have impressed at the start of the 21st century, with the likes of Eden Hazard, Vincent Kompany, Romelu Lukaku and Kevin De Bruyne just some of the world-class players in the squad. Following some impressive results in the Euro 2016 qualifiers and international friendlies, Belgium climbed to number 1 position in the FIFA Rankings in November 2015.