After a goalless draw with Croatia and Morocco’s 2-1 win over Canada, defending bronze medalists Belgium finished in the group at the World Cup in Qatar. On the other hand, Croatia, last world championship finalist, advanced to the last 16.
The duel between the two medalists from the previous world tournament in Russia offered a number of chances, especially in the second half, but none of them led to goals. Belgian substitute striker Romelu Lukaku missed a number of chances, hitting the post once. “Red Devils” scored only one goal in Qatar.
Barely 10 seconds into the kick-off, Croatia’s Perišič fired wide. On the other side, Carrasco’s shot from an angle was blocked by defender Juranović. Trossard, in turn, ended a quick counter-attack with a shot over goal.
After a quarter of an hour of play, Carrasco fouled Kramarič in the penalty area and referee Taylor awarded Croatia a penalty. Captain Modric takes on fellow Real Madrid goalkeeper Courtois. However, the video referee intervened and referee Taylor, after watching the replay, overruled the penalty for the narrow offside that preceded the infringement.
In the second half, the match intensified and 43,984 spectators watched the dramatic spectacle. Gunner Lukaku headed into goalkeeper Livakovič’s arms. Subsequently, the silver defender took the initiative, but Cortouis held back the “Red Devils” in his 100th national team. First, he pulled Kovačič’s effort over goal and then turned away Brozović and Modrić’s shots.
Next, Lukaku wasted a big chance. After an hour of play, the ball bounced to him in the box, but the Inter Milan player hit the post. He didn’t aim even in the 87th minute, when the ball bounced off him near the post. Then substitute Thorgan Hazard found him in a small area, but Lukaku didn’t handle his cross perfectly and Livakovič caught the ball just in time. In the set-up, Belgium’s all-time leading scorer with 68 shots grabbed the ball, but was picked up by defender Gvardiol, who was playing wearing a protective mask due to a broken nose, with a well-timed slide.
The fact that they did not lose to Croatia for the fourth time in a row does not apply to Belgium. Coach Dalič’s squad has not lost in nine matches.
CROATIA – BELGIUM 0:0
Referees: Taylor – Beswick, Nunn (all English) – Fritz (video, Germany). ŽK: Dendoncker (Belgium). Audience: 43,984.
Croatia: Livakovič – Juranovič, Lovren, Gvardiol, Sosa – Modrič, Brozovič, Kovačič (90.+2 Majer) – Kramarič (64. Pasalič), Livaja (64. Petkovič), Perišič. Coach: Dalik.
Belgium: Courtois – Dendoncker (72. Tielemans), Alderweireld, Vertonghen – Meunier (87. E. Hazard), De Bruyne, Witsel, Castagne – Trossard (59. T. Hazard), Mertens (46. Lukaku), Carrasco (72. Doku ). Coach: Martinez.
At the World Cup in Qatar, Morocco’s players beat Canada 2-1 in the third-last game of Group F and surprisingly progressed from first place in the table to the last 16. Team Africa sent Hakím Zijach into the lead in the fourth minute, and Júsuf Nasjrí added assurance midway through the opener. In the 40th minute, Canada reduced the lead after an own goal by Najíf Adzuird, but were unable to equalize.
Morocco followed up their shock win over Belgium to top the group unbeaten with seven points. In their sixth participation in the world championships, they are through to the knockout stages for the second time, which they did only in 1986. They will challenge the second team from Group E in the round of 16 on Tuesday. also scored no points in their second World Cup participation and have lost six duels so far.
While the Canadians could no longer advance before the final group game, the Moroccans were approaching knockout contention and were more active in the opener. A blunder in the opponent’s defense helped the African team take the lead. Canadian keeper Borjan had to make a run for goal after a poor tackle, but he poked the ball weakly only to Zijach and he hit an abandoned net with a volley from the back of the net.
In the 23rd minute, Morocco improved after hesitating again in the opponent’s defense. Nasjrí ran to Hakimi’s long ball and shot Borjan from the side with a shot at the near post. For the first time in history, Morocco scored two goals in two consecutive matches at the World Cup.
They appeared to be holding the game firmly, but the Canadians came back into the game in the 40th minute. Adekugbe stretched down the left and stopper Adžuird unfortunately sent the cross into his own net. Moroccan goalkeeper Bunú, who was born in Canada, grabbed the ball but did not prevent it from crossing the line.
The African team scored for the first time at the tournament in Qatar and conceded after six matches. Morocco could have taken a two-goal lead before half-time, but Nasjrí’s shot was not rewarded by the fact that team-mate Adžuird protected the keeper.
After changing sides, the Canadians added and gradually began to gain the upper hand. In the 71st minute, they almost equalized. Substitute Hutchinson headed a corner onto the crossbar, from where the ball bounced to the ground and almost crossed the line at full volume. The fast moving Johnston sent the ball over his head.
The Canadians were pushing for an equalizer and their first point at the World Championships, but the Moroccans were already defending themselves and won two games in a row for the first time at the World Championships.
Canada – Morocco 1:2 (1:2)
Goals: 40. Adžuird himself – 4. Zijach, 23. Nasjrí. Referee: Claus – Figueiredo, Manis (all Braz.) – Bascunan (video, Chile). ŽK: Hoilett, Osorio, Adekugbe, Vitória (all Canada). Audience: 43,102.
Canada: Borjan – Johnston, Vitória, Miller, Adekugbe (61. Koné) – Davies, Osorio (65. Laryea), Kaye (60. Hutchinson), Buchanan – Hoilett (76. Wotherspoon), Larin (60. David). Trainer: Shepherd.
Morocco: Bunú – Hakimí (85. Jabrání), Adžuird, Sais, Mazráví – Amrabat – Únahí (77. Jamík), Sabirí (65. Amallá) – Zijach (76. Hamdallá), Nasjrí, Búfál (65. Abuchlál). Coach: Rajrajjui.
Japan have beaten Spain and dominated Group E
At the World Cup in Qatar, Japan beat Spain 2-1 after turning things around and surprisingly won Group E with six points. They will face Croatia in the last 16 on Monday. Thanks to the better score, Spain, which awaits Morocco on Tuesday, moved up from second place.
The 2010 world champions took the lead in Doha in the 11th minute by striker Álvaro Morata, who also scored in game three of the championship and finished top of the scoring charts with three goals. In the 48th and 51st minutes, substitute Rica Doan and another midfielder Ao Tanaka turned things around.
Japan pulled off another upset of the championship, beating another European giant after Germany, who exited the tournament despite a 4-2 win over Costa Rica. By advancing to the knockout stages, they continued their participation in the last 16 of the previous championship. The Spaniards lost after four games, but they will not miss the playoffs for the fifth time out of the last six World Cups.
Japan – Spain 2:1 (0:1)
Goals: 48. Doan, 51. Tanaka – 11. Morata. Referees: Gomes – Siwela (both South Africa), Phatsoane (Lesotho) – Guerrero (video, Mexico). ŽK: Itakura, Taniguchi, Yoshida (all over Japan). Audience: 44,851.
Japan: Gonda – Itakura, Yoshida, Taniguchi – D. Ito, Morita, Tanaka (87. Endo), Nagatomo (46. Mitoma) – Kubo (46. Doan), Maeda (61. Asano), Kamada (69. Tomijasu). Trainer: Morijasu.
Spanish: Simón – Azpilicueta (46. Carvajal), Rodri, P. Torres, Balde (68. Alba) – Busquets – Gavi (68. Fati), Pedri – Williams (57. F. Torres), Morata (57. Asensio), Olmo . Coach: Enrique.
Germany’s turnaround against Costa Rica wasn’t enough to advance, they ended up in the group again
Germany beat Costa Rica 4-2 in their final Group E game at the World Cup in Qatar, but it was not enough to progress as Japan beat Spain 2-1 in the parallel game. Serge Gnabry opened the scoring after 10 minutes at Chúr. After changing positions, Yeltsin Tejeda and Juan Pablo Vargas turned things around. The substitute led the way back to the German side, Kai Havertz scoring twice and Niclas Füllkrug adding the fourth.
Germany won over Costa Rica in the same result as in the 2006 home championship, but this time it did them no good and they ended up in the base group for the second time in a row. Costa Rica also said goodbye to the tournament.
Frenchwoman Stéphanie Frappart made football history as the first woman to serve as head referee at a men’s world championship, and was also assisted by women on the sidelines.
Costa Rica – Germany 2:4 (0:1)
Goals: 59. Tejeda, 70. Vargas – 73. and 84. Havertz, 10. Gnabry, 90.+1 Füllkrug. Referees: Frappartová (Fr.) – Backová (Braz.), Díazová-Medinaová (Mex.) – Fischer (video, Kan.). ŽK. Duarte (Costa Rica). Audience: 67,054.
Costa Rica: Navas – Fuller (74. Bennette), Duarte, Waston, Vargas, Oviedo (90.+3 Contreras) – Aguilera (46. Salas), Borges, Tejeda (90.+3 Wilson), Campbell – Venegas (74. Matarrita) . Coach: Suarez.
German: Neuer – Kimmich, Süle (90.+4 Ginter), Rüdiger, Raum (67. Havertz) – Goretzka (46. Klostermann), Gündogan (55. Füllkrug) – Gnabry, Musiala, Sané – Müller (67. Götze). Trainer: Flick.
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