When the draw was made, the last team just about anyone expected to top Group F, the group featuring the 2018 World Cup runners-up, Croatia, the best qualifiers from CONCACAF, Canada, and the last hurrah of the Belgian Golden Generation, were Morocco.
But the Atlas Lions have defied the odds and have won the group, following up their shock 2-0 win over Belgium on matchday 2 with a solid 2-1 win over Canada on the final matchday today. Morocco only needed a draw to advance and took care of business without too much trouble. Hakim Ziyech was on the scoresheet again, taking advantage of an absolute gift from the Canada goalkeeper in the fourth minute. Youssef En-Neysri doubled their advantage before an own goal (the first of this World Cup) just before half-time cut already-eliminated Canada’s deficit in half.
And that was all the goals we’d see from either of these two games, with Belgium and Croatia trading mostly passive body blows but failing to score. Romelu Lukaku, on as a half-time substitute for the Red Devils hit the post and spurned three (3!) other golden opportunities as their Golden Generation faded into the shadows and now trudge home with just 1 goal scored (Michy!) in these three games. The point means Croatia, for whom (Chelsea transfer target) Joško Gvardiol was immense, finish runners-up in the group and will face the winners of Group E, likely to be Spain, in the Round of 16. Mateo Kovačić played the full-90.
A painful moment for Lukaku. He had five shots, more than any other player and an xG 1.67. You'd expect a top striker who is in for to get two from that. #BEL #FIFAWorldCup #HRV https://t.co/f2I6iDDJWC— Nizaar Kinsella (@NizaarKinsella) December 1, 2022