World Cup Preview | Croatia v Belgium

Belgium simply have to beat Croatia in their final group game if they are to have any chance of qualifying for the knock-out stages of the World Cup. Failure to win leaves their fate in the hands of Canada, who would have to win big against a Morocco side who have been one of the standouts so far. The Golden Generation of Belgium is on its last legs, and tension is running high amongst the players.

Croatia, on the other hand, got into their groove against Canada in their second game. After a tough 0-0 draw with Morocco, they were clinical against The Maple Leaves, scoring four. Andrej Kramaric looked in fine form as he scored twice, and he will certainly be looking forward to facing an ageing Belgian backline. Croatia are also unbeaten in their last five matches, making the task facing the Red Devils even more difficult.

Results in the last 5 matches in all competitions:

Belgium L-W-L-L-W-

Croatia W-D-W-W-W

Team news:

Changes are expected for the Red Devils. Romelu Lukaku came off the bench, and given the need for a win, there is an expectation that he will start. In the central areas, Amadou Onana is suspended, leaving the door open for a return of Youri Tielemans. Outside of that, Roberto Martinez has a lot of work to do. Many in the Belgian media want to see the youngsters given a chance, given that the old guard have so far failed to deliver at the tournament. The question is whether or not Martinez will go with who he knows or risk the unknown.

Croatia have no injury concerns currently, and will likely field their strongest team. Losing to Belgium could see them crash out of the tournament as well, so they will certainly not be resting the likes of Luka Modric, Mateo Kovacic or Marcelo Brozovic. Kramaric will also be eyeing up a run at the Golden Boot now that he has finally go off the mark.

GBeNeFN | Ben Jackson

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