Former New England Revolution winger Tajon Buchanan was on the scoresheet with an assist on the first ever Canada MNT World Cup goal but Croatia eventually overpowered and eliminated the Canucks while the Vatreni moved into first place in Group F. Morocco’s upset win over Belgium helps set up a frantic finish for the top two in the group.
CROATIA 4, CANADA 1
Croatia earns three points and moves to the top of Group F after its first win of the 2022 FIFA World Cup— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) November 27, 2022
Relive all the action in our 90' in 90" highlights ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/AfxJXZTd2G
Canada head coach John Herdman might rue his postgame comments from the first match as it was Croatia who eventually did the “F”-ing up in this one, erasing an early Canada goal to take a 2-1 halftime lead and never looked back.
The trivia question answer will however always be Alphonso Davies as in just the second minute he opened the scoring with a powerful header off a Buchanan cross from the right wing. Croatia however settled down and eventually turned heavy pressure into two quick goals before halftime.
After having a goal ruled out for offside midway through the half, striker Andrej Kramaric slotted home the equalizer in the 36th as the Canadian backline struggled to react and clear their lines. Minutes later Marko Livaja rifled in a shot to the far post from the top of the box past Milan Borjan to give Croatia the lead.
The keepers traded excellent saves to start the second, with Borjan denying Kramaric in the 53rd and Dominik Livakovic spectacularly tipping a Jonathan David shot over the bar in the 55th following a setup from Buchanan at the top of the box.
Eventually Kramaric would get his second, settling a switching cross from Ivan Perisic inside the box and cutting inside before a tidy left footed finish into the far post side netting. Croatia would ice the game after a bad mistake at the back saw Lovro Majer finish off a two-none with Mislav Orsic providing the assist.
MOROCCO 2, BELGIUM 0
A major moment for Morocco as they stun Belgium for its third win in FIFA World Cup history!— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) November 27, 2022
Relive all the SHOCKING action in our 90' in 90" highlights ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/eCUKRiMbkB
If their 1-0 win against Canada was an unconvincing victory, Morocco’s stunning upset of the Red Devils was perhaps the better indication of Belgium’s potential in this World Cup.
The second ranked team in the world were undone by a brilliant free kick at the stroke of halftime by Hakim Ziyech that fooled keeper Thibault Courtois at the near post only for VAR to intervene and rule Romain Saiss had been marginally offside proir to challenging for but not playing the ball.
In the second half, substitute Abdelhamid Sabiri hit a near post free kick that bamboozled Courtois again, but this time the VAR review determined it was a legal goal but was touched by Saiss on the way into the net and crediting Saiss with the goal despite the initial celebrations for Sabiri’s brilliant direct strike.
In stoppage time, Morocco would grab a deserved clinching goal, as Zakaria Aboukhlal lurked in the box for a Ziyech cut back pass and smashed it into the top of the goal as Morocco claimed an epic victory.
CROATIA: 1W-0L-1D, 4 pts, +3 GD
MOROCCO: 1W-0L-1D, 4 pts, +2 GD
BELGIUM: 1W-1L-0D, 3 pts, -1 GD
CANADA: 0W-2L-0D, 0 pts, -4 GD
Simple Group F scenarios for Thursday:— Paul Carr (@PaulCarr) November 27, 2022
(4 pts) advances with win/draw vs Belgium
(4) advances with win/draw vs Canada
(3) advances with win vs Croatia
Despite the high drama of this group, the final scenarios for Group F on Thursday, December 1st at 10pm are fairly simple. Croatia can top the group with a win but just needs a result against Belgium in their matchup to advance while Morocco just needs a result against Canada to qualify for the knockouts. Belgium can top the group with a win and a Morocco loss or draw, but can only get into the top two with a win regardless. Morocco would top the group with a win and a Croatia loss or draw.