After a humbling loss to Morocco, Belgium will hope to rebound as they take on Croatia, who surprised the world four years ago by making it to the 2018 World Cup final.

Croatia will be hoping to book their spot in the round of 16 as the Vatreni prepare to face Belgium on Thursday. The Vatreni come into this contest having thrashed Canada 4-1, with Canadian boss John Herdman's pre-match words clearly riling up the 2018 World Cup finalists. Zlatko Dalic's side did fall behind as Alphonso Davies scored Canada's first World Cup goal of this competition, but quickly asserted their authority on the match as they scored four goals sans reply to pick up a much needed three points and put them in good stead to qualify for the round of 16.

There had been some unease about Croatia following their insipid performance during a scoreless stalemate with Morocco on matchday one, but their showing against Canada showed that Croatia are a side not to be taken lightly in this competition. After all, they shocked the world by making it to the final four years ago, and they are determined to prove that wasn't a fluke. The Vatreni came into this World Cup in a strong vein of form, with just one loss in their last 11 matches and ahead of this game, are currently unbeaten in their last eight games across all competitions.

Croatia also have an excellent track record against European sides at World Cups, with just two losses in their last ten meetings. Both defeats were to France, during the 1998 and most recently, 2018 editions of this competition. While Belgium have beaten them in their last handful of competitive fixtures, the Red Devils certainly have not showed that they have what it takes to make it a third win in what will be the first World Cup tie between the two nations.

Indeed, Belgium, who raised eyebrows a while back by somehow becoming the top ranked side in the world despite not winning a single trophy, are in danger of being exposed as a vastly overrated side. They did beat Canada 1-0, but it was hardly a convincing showing from Roberto Martinez's men, who were fortunate that Alphonso Davies fluffed his lines from 12 yards out and Thibaut Courtois was alert to deal with any threat that the Maple Leaves posed throughout.

However, Belgium, who somehow are ranked second by FIFA's recent rankings - ahead of teams like France, Argentina, Spain, and England - were quite poor against a very determined Morocco side, who overpowered them to earn a crucial 2-0 win. At the moment, Morocco and Croatia are joint-tied for points, albeit Croatia's 4-1 win has helped the Vatreni to have the slight edge on goal difference.

With that loss, Belgium have failed to win their last three games across all competitions, and given Croatia's strong showing against Canada, are definitely not looking like the favorites to win this upcoming clash. Still, the Red Devils do have players who could turn a game on its head, and as such, Croatia will not be keen on resting on their laurels as they know that they will need at least a point to join the likes of France, England, the USA, Brazil, Portugal, Senegal, and the Netherlands in the round of 16. 

Team news: Croatia vs Belgium

Croatia: Luka Modric will need to be very careful here, as he's just one booking away from a ban, but the 37-year-old veteran is expected to feature in this match. Other from that, Dalic has a full strength squad available for this game.

Belgium: Romelu Lukaku came into contest struggling with injury, but came off the bench during his team's 2-0 loss to Morocco. The Inter striker will hope to be involved in some capacity as Belgium desperately need a result to keep their qualification hopes alive. Amadou Onana will miss this game as a result of a ban.

Match facts: Croatia vs Belgium

  • Croatia have only lost two of their 10 meetings against other UEFA sides in the World Cup (W6 D2)...
  • ...and both were to France, in 1998 and 2018
  • This will be the first World Cup meeting between Croatia and Belgium
  • So far, Belgium have won their previous two meetings against Croatia, with Romelu Lukaku scoring all three of his team's goals
  • The Vatreni have won four of their last five group stage matches at the World Cup (D1) 
  • Belgium's loss to Morocco snapped a 13 match unbeaten streak (W8 D5) at World Cup group stage matches

Broadcast info: Croatia vs Belgium

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Match details, result and original broadcast info

Croatia 0 - 0 Belgium

December 1, 2022 10:00amAhmad bin Ali Stadium (Al Rayyan (Al-Rayyan))

This match has ended. Below are the original Live broadcast details for this match.

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