The 2022 World Cup is already underway, with the big teams failing to impress fans and spectators. The tournament's biggest surprise so far is the first Group C match, where Saudi Arabia pulled a fast one to beat Argentina 2-1. This result will send the Messi-captained Argentina to the drawing board, and their response against the resilient Mexico side will be crucial in their campaign.
Moving forward to Group F, Belgium is sitting comfortably on top of the table after dispatching Canada 1-0. This is yet another match that proves there are no "small" teams in Qatar. Canada really held their own against the top-ranked team in Europe, with pundits feeling they should have gotten at least a draw.
But Canada will have themselves to blame for being rusty in front of the goal and failing to bury the clear-cut chances. Alphonso Davies had an eventful night on the left wing, only to miss a critical spot kick. Canada got a penalty after VAR concluded that Yannick Carrasco was guilty of a handball inside the 18-yard box.
This would have been Canada's first-ever goal at the World Cup if Davies scored. Alex Crook of talkSPORT even labelled the miss a "nightmare moment" for Davies. But their World Cup dreams are still intact, with two more matches to play. The fact that the country booked a ticket to Qatar is an achievement itself, and they can build on the solid performance against Belgium as the tournament progresses.
On Sunday 27th, Croatia will face an energetic Canada in the second Group F matchup for the teams. This match promises to be a close contest if what we've seen from Canada is anything to believe.
Before Canada lined up against Belgium, there were doubts about the availability of Milan Borjan, Stephen Eustaquio, and Davies. Thankfully, they made it in time for the match against the Red Devils. Another good news is that Canada didn't pick up any injuries in their last game. So, expect the coach to retain the team that played against Belgium.
As for Croatia, Nikola Vlasic sustained a calf problem in their last match. The forward remains doubtful for their weekend encounter, which might work perfectly for Canada. The West Ham forward, currently on loan at Torino, was having a great time in the Italian Serie A, scoring four and assisting two this season.
Thankfully for Croatia, Marko Livaja replaced Nikola Vlasic in the second half after recovering from a quadriceps contusion injury. However, the forward will likely remain on the bench as he regains his match competitiveness. Croatia will also be banking on the experienced hands of Luka Modric, Mateo Kovacic, and Ivan Perisic to get them into winning ways as soon as possible.
After their goalless draw against Morocco, Zlatko Dalic felt his side was not "courageous enough." The coach said his team was scared of making mistakes and lacked determination. These sentiments were echoed by Croatia's team captain, Luka Modric.
But having reached the finals of the 2018 FIFA World Cup, many are expecting Croatia to reach the later stages of the competition. But their performance against their African opponents at Al Bayt Stadium will give Canada lots of confidence heading into the match. Both teams missed clear-cut chances in their last encounters, meaning the weekend encounter could be a closely contested affair.
Currently, Croatia is the favourite to win the match on 888sport Canada with 2.10 odds. Canada is the underdog with 3.55, whereas a draw has some compelling odds at 3.35. The Canadian odds are slightly higher at bet365, with the bookie backing them with 3.60 odds. The bookmaker also gives 3.40 odds for a draw, whereas Croatia maxes out at 2.10 odds.
All in all, a 1-1 or 0-0 prediction might be a possible result in Canada vs Croatia match, although anything is possible. There are plenty of sport betting sites that we recommend, where you can try your luck. If Canada maintains the same spirit, they might even scrap through with a win. However, Croatia will want to get back to winning ways quickly, which makes them a highly dangerous opponent. Do your research and bet responsibly - Good luck!