Belgium simply had to beat Croatia to keep their World Cup dream alive. However, they failed to find the back of the net once again and will be heading home after a bitterly disappointing World Cup campaign. Romelu Lukaku’s introduction at half-time almost saved the Red Devils, but he missed three guilt edged chances that when fully fit he would more than likely have finished.
For Croatia, the late tackle from Josko Gvardiol to deny Lukaku a tap-in was crucial in seeing them through. The 2018 finalists have only conceded one goal all tournament and can now look forward to the knock-out stages.
Elsewhere, Morocco beat Canada 2-1 to guarantee they top the group and qualify for the knock-out stages. Like Croatia, the Atlas Lions have only conceded one goal all tournament, which was against Canada.
Thibaut Courtois, 7 – Made some solid saves in the second half to keep his side in the game. Was fortunate not to have to face a penalty against his Real Madrid teammate Luka Modric.
Thomas Meunier, 5
Toby Alderweireld, 5
Jan Vertonghen, 5
Timothy Castagne, 5
Alex Witsel, 4
Leandro Dendoncker, 5
Kevin De Bruyne, 7 – Like most of the games during this tournament, when he has got on the ball things have happened, yet this just hasn’t happened enough during the World Cup so far.
Dries Mertens, 4 – Strange decision from Martinez to go with Mertens, who despite almost creating a goal for Carrasco and being a willing runner, was poor on the ball while missing a glorious chance in the first half. Unsurprisingly he was taken off at half-time being replaced by Romelu Lukaku.
Leandro Trossard, 5
Yannick Carrasco, 6
Others: Romelu Lukaku 5, Thorgen Hazard 4, Jeremy Doku 7, Youri Tielemans 5, Eden Hazard 5
Dominik Livakovic 4
Josip Juranovic 5
Dejan Lovren 5
Josko Gvardiol 8 – The man in the mask dealt well with anything in the air in the first half when up against Trossard. Was also willing to bring the ball deep into the Belgium half to help create for his side. He also put in a huge block in added time to deny Lukaku the winning goal.
Borna Sosa 6
Luka Modric 8 – Another top quality performance from the Real Madrid star, popping up all over the pitch for his side. He did his work at both ends of the pitch, and was unlucky not to score against his team mate in the Belgian goal. Faded a bit as the game got into the last 10 minutes.
Marcelo Brozovic 6
Mateo Kovacic 6
Andrej Kramaric 5
Marko Livaja 4 –
Ivan Perisic 7 – Always looked dangerous when isolating with Meunier thanks to the overload Croatia were creating on the left-hand side. Almost scored a wonderful opening goal and provided a number of dangerous crosses that deserved better finishes.
Others: Mario Pasalic 5, Bruno Pektovic 5, Lovro Majer n/a