Croatia bounced back from their first game draw to thrash second timers Canada 4-1 on Sunday to top group F. The defeat has knocked Canada out of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
The 2022 FIFA World Cup matches that took place today has so far been an Upset Special Sunday. Costa Rica defeated Japan that stunned Germany 1-0 in the opening round. To completely open up Group F, Morocco defeated Belgium.
Canada were the first to score a goal in the 2nd minute in the 2022 FIFA World Cup but Croatia turned the game around and scored four more.
During the game, Marko Livaja replaced Nikola Vlasic, who exited Croatia’s opening game at halftime with what appeared to be a calf injury, in the front line.
The star of the midfield is Luka Modric, a 37-year-old Real Madrid player who started once more alongside Marcelo Brozovic of Inter and Mateo Kovacic of Chelsea.
In the first five minutes of the match, Canada looked like a team that would thrash Croatia especially after grabbing an early goal.
After a verbal brawl in the lead-up, Alphonso Davies scored Canada’s first-ever World Cup goal with a spectacular header in just 68 seconds.
Due to an offside in the build-up play, VAR denied a goal for Croatia, leaving the score at 1-0 after the first 30 minutes.
Canada did not look like they wanted to add more goals, they seemed relaxed after Davies early goal but Croatia were all out trying to get back in the game.
Croatia tied the game in the 36th minute, and Canada was unable to hang on.
Perisic discovered Kramaric in the area on the aforementioned Canadian right flank, and the Hoffenheim striker tucked it home.
Just before halftime, Croatia took the lead after Canada took a while to respond to a short free kick, which gave Livaja enough room to choose his place from the edge of the box.
Canada gave up a lead just before halftime of its second straight game.
Five minutes of stoppage time were added, which was Very Bad News for the Canadian side because John Herdman needed to make some tweaks and push the proper buttons in the locker room.
A few adjustments were made at halftime to see if Canada could salvage the contest.
Stephen Eustáquio, a typically excellent midfielder, was replaced by Jonathan Osorio after today’s struggles and injury.
Ismael Koné, a young attacker, replaced Larin in an odd move.
With another goal from Kramaric, Croatia scored again in the 70th minute.The failure to even put one foot forward by many Canadian defenders and midfielders was to blame for Perisic’s cross merely rolling across the field to Kramaric, who scored from 16 yards out.
Kramaric was replaced by Vlasic, who appeared to be in decent enough shape for a cameo.
In the 78th minute, Croatia had yet another opportunity, but like a skilled hockey goalie, Borjan made two leg saves.
But that was not enough to stop Croatia as the added the fourth goal to cripple Canada’s chance in Qatar.
When Miller mishandled the ball from 45 yards out, Orsic and Majer sped off with only Borjan in their way.
It was a straightforward goal that Orsic played to Majer. There was nothing Borjan could have done to stop that.
This was exactly what you would anticipate at this level after so many surprising games in this Cup thus far – an experienced side with accomplished top-tier players destroying an inexperienced team from an underrated soccer nation that leans too much on a few excellent individuals.
When a strong team performs well, Canada just lacks the defensive strength to compete. The dreaded Canadian counter never showed up.
As it stands, Canada are sitting at the bottom of Group F with no point after two games. Hence, their game against Morocco on Thursday is inconsequential for Canada but a must-win for second placed Morocco.