Croatia face a spirited Canada side in their second World Cup group game on Monday afternoon.
Zlatko Dalic’s runners-up kicked off their bid to go one better with a restrained 0-0 draw against Morocco on Wednesday morning. There was little reticence about Canada’s full-throttle assault on Belgium later that evening.
John Herdman’s side outshot the 2018 bronze medallists 22 to nine but were left to rue Alphonso Davies’ first-half penalty miss in a bitter 1-0 defeat.
Here’s everything you need to know about Canada’s continued search for a maiden World Cup goal and point.
Croatia vs Canada H2H Results (All Time)
Croatia and Canada have never met in men’s international football.
Current Form (Last Five Games)
Croatia team news
Dalic lost Nikola Vlasic to a calf problem against Morocco. But fellow forward Marko Livaja came on in the second half after recovering from a quadriceps contusion which had hampered his buildup to the competition.
Croatia Starting 11 (4-3-3): Livakovic; Juranovic, Lovren, Gvardiol, Sosa; Modric, Brozovic, Kovacic; Pasalic, Kramaric, Perisic.
Bench: Grbic, Ivusic, Erlic, Vida, Sutalo, Barisic, Stanisic, Jakic, Sucic, Majer, Osric, Livaja, Petkovic, Budimir.
Canada team news
Doubts lingered over Davies, Stephen Eustaquio and goalkeeper Milan Borjan before Canada lined up against Belgium. However, all three overcame various ailments to start against the Red Devils – positions they may well retain this weekend.
Canada Starting 11 (3-4-3): Borjan; Johnston, Vitoria, Miller; Laryea, Eustaquio, Hutchinson, Davies; Buchanan, David, Hoilett.
Bench: St. Clair, Pantemis, Cornelius, Waterman, Piette, Fraser, Larin, Kaye, Kone, Osorio, Millar, Wotherspoon, Cavallini, Ugbo, Adekugbe.
Luka Modric echoed the thoughts of his manager when he suggested that Croatia played within themselves against Morocco. Despite the scoreline, Canada certainly couldn’t be accused of any underperformance – much to the satisfaction of their defiant head coach.
“I told [the players] they belong here, and we’re going to go and ‘F’ Croatia. That’s as simple as it gets,” Herdman declared at the final whistle.
This wily Croatia side is the favourite heading into Sunday’s fixture – but not by the margin many may have imagined. If Canada can replicate the daring approach that so nearly paid off against Belgium, they may obtain a more deserving reward in this group F matchup.
Prediction: Croatia 1-1 Canada