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Croatia vs Belgium Predictions

  • 15:00
  • Expired
  • Ahmad bin Ali Stadium
Croatia
Belgium
  • BBC One
  • BBC iPlayer
  • BBC Sport Website

Croatia and Both Teams To Score

Reason for tip

Croatia totally outplayed Canada while Belgium struggled to a fortuitous 1-0 win against the Canucks. The Red Devils camp has been divided by internal arguments and they have maintained only one clean sheet in their last five games. Additionally, both teams have scored in six of Croatia’s last seven World Cup finals matches.

 

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Croatia 2-1

Reason for tip

Croatia have scored in seven of their last eight games, but conceded in three of their previous five. Also, Belgium have scored in three of their five most recent games but produced only one clean sheet during that sequence. Croatia have scored 12 goals and conceded just twice in their last five World Cup group stage games.

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Andrej Kramaric To Score Anytime

Reason for tip

Kramaric scored twice against Canada on Sunday and could easily have been rewarded with a hat-trick had it not been for a close offside call. The Hoffenheim hitman now has eight goals for his country in his last 14 appearances, but seems to prefer winter football with six goals registered in his last seven internationals played during November.

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Croatia vs Belgium Predictions

  • Croatia totally outplayed Canada while Belgium struggled in a fortunate 1-0 win against the Canucks.
  • The Red Devils camp seems riven with disagreements during this tournament.
  • Both teams have scored in six of Croatia’s last seven World Cup finals matches.
  • Andrej Kramaric has scored eight goals in his last 14 appearances for Croatia.

Croatia can continue their growth in the tournament by delivering a major blow to Belgium’s hopes of further progress in Thursday’s Group F decider at Ahmad bin Ali Stadium.

Zlatko Dalic’s team have lost just once in their last 18 outings, but must face world number two side Belgium to secure a spot in the next round.

Red Devils split by dressing-room rift

The Red Devils are not living up to their ranking or reputation in this tournament and appear to be riven with internal strife as many of the comments from their camp following Sunday’s loss to Morocco.

In his post-match interview, 35-year-old Jan Vertonghen responded pointedly to Kevin De Bruyne’s comments about Roberto Martinez’s ‘ageing’ squad by throwing shade on the badly-functioning Belgian attack. Some subsequent reports have claimed the pair had to be separated in the dressing room as tempers flared.

With an average age of 30.4, Belgium have been fielding the oldest line-up in the tournament and that is unlikely to drop at all if Romelu Lukaku replaces Michy Batshuayi for this crunch clash.

Belgium’s 1.22 xG figure against the Atlas Lions takes them to just 2.20 across their first two games and suggests Vertonghen may have a point.

Croatia don’t panic when put under pressure 

Croatia posted an xG of 3.42 against Canada, but impressively held the Canucks to 0.65 expected goals just days after they had recorded an xG of 2.94 against Belgium.

They rolled their sleeves up after falling behind to Alphonso Davies’ second-minute header and could actually have run out bigger winners than the 4-1 final scoreline suggests.

Dalic’s World Cup record as Croatia coach suggests he does not panic when they fall behind – and crucially neither do his teams. They trailed in all three knockout games four years ago, conceding in the first minute against Denmark 31st against Russia and fifth against England, yet came through either in extra time or penalties each time.

This has the feeling of a knockout game – and it is for Belgium – which plays into one of Croatia’s strengths. They can capitalise on any desperation from the Red Devils and are well worthy of support in the 90 minutes market.

However, backing them to win with both teams to score bumps the odds up nicely as Croatia have scored in seven of their last eight games, but conceded in three of their previous five. Similarly, Belgium have scored in three of their five most recent games but produced only one clean sheet during that sequence.

Kramaric can provide Croatia’s KO blow

Kramaric padded his international scoring stats with a brace against Canada, but it was a clinical display that could easily have been rewarded with a hat-trick had it not been for a close offside call.

Both of his legitimate strikes were precisely placed with his less-favoured left foot, although his right-footed finish that was ruled out was arguably a better one as he had defenders to beat first.

The Hoffenheim hitman now has eight goals for his country in his last 14 appearances, but he does seem to get hotter at this time of year with his record of six goals in his last seven internationals played during November revealing an affinity for winter football.


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