Flight home or World Cup Round of 16? Anything is still possible in Group E. Group F is all about progress for Croatia, Morocco and Belgium.
Croatia – Belgium (16:00)
Croatia: After a strong performance in a 4-1 victory against Canada, one point is enough for the second world champion to advance. In the second group match, the offense finally worked with Andrej Kramaric, who scored twice from 1899 Hoffenheim.
On defense, Croatia is very safe with Josko Gvardiol of Leipzig and former Liverpool defender Dejan Lovren. Superstar Luka Modric must be careful, as he gets another yellow card and will be penalized in a possible round of 16.
Belgium: Rode Duivels is in a tense situation. After 0:2 against Morocco, it was almost punchy. An hour-long discussion of the actors was then required.
It remains to be seen whether national coach Roberto Martínez will react personally. Long-injured top striker Lukaku should only be a substitute at the start. To not fail in a World Cup qualifying round for the first time since 1998, Belgium needs a win or a point and a massive loss to Morocco against Canada.
Canada – Morocco (16:00)
Canada: The Canadians have scored their first goal in a World Cup, and now they want their first points. This is the minimum goal against Moroccans who were highly rated by coach John Herdman. North Africans are a kind of role model for the British, as they managed to turn their superiority into a win over Belgium, unlike Canada. Canada has already been eliminated, but the next World Cup is already in sight. In 2026, the country of ice hockey will be the third organizer, alongside the USA and Mexico.
Morocco: Moroccans have a historic chance to reach the qualifying stage of a World Cup for the first time in 36 years. All they need is a draw with Canada at the bottom of the group. Coach Walid Regragui successfully convinced his team to play more “European”, that is, more defensively: Morocco did not concede against World Cup runner-up Croatia (0-0) and World Cup runner-up Belgium (2-0). Players like Hakim Ziyech (Chelsea), Achraf Hakimi (Paris Saint-Germain) and Sofian Amrabat (Fiorentina) are of very high quality.
Costa Rica – Germany (20:00)
Costa Rica: Even a draw might be enough. And the team believes in their luck. 0:7 against Spain no longer has any effect – for now. Just four chances to score in two games says a lot about Costa Rica’s offensive potential. Much depends on goalkeeper Keylor Navas.
Germany: Only one win counts. After the worst start in German World Cup history since 1938, DFB-Elf have to launch Tor-Turbo against defensive artists from Central America. National coach Flick also depends on the result of the match between Spain and Japan.
Japan: To reach the round of 16 safely, Japan needs to beat the next former world champion. Coach Moriyasu was heavily criticized for his rotation in the match, which was a 1-0 draw with Costa Rica. Against Spain, the manager could have brought back an eleven similar to the 2-1 win over Germany. Kamada from Frankfurt and Endo from Stuttgart have been announced. The most exciting question is who will play in Japan’s storm center.
Spain: Spain is in the top position as the leader with four points, even a draw is enough to advance. Playmaker Gavi has been unable to practice twice as he recently suffered a knee injury against Germany. In the attack, Morata might take a chance all over again, this time in the storm center.
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