The World Cup is just two days away! To prepare for the matches and drama that will play on the world stage, Philly Sports Network is previewing the eight groups and 32 nations competing to be champions of the world! Group F sees the team ranked second in the world, Belgium, the top team from CONCACAF, Canada, the runners-up from 2018, Croatia, and a team that went undefeated in qualifying, Morocco!
Group F: the dark horse of the tournament will come from this group
Group F has four nations that are going to make waves at the 2022 men’s World Cup. It’s not clear from the start which of the two squads will make it out of the group, but those that do will be dark horses to win it all.
- Belgium (2nd)
- Canada (41st)
- Croatia (12th)
- Morocco (22nd)
Belgium is the cream of the crop in Group F, they’re the second-best team in the world, yet many doubt their ability to make a deep run at this tournament. Canada is the best team from North America at the World Cup, no you’re not reading that wrong. Croatia has the potential to make a deep run as they did in 2018, and Morocco is an unbeaten force.
Belgium looks to assert its dominance.
Belgium is near the tail end of a golden generation of players. Their window to win big is getting thinner, which might be why they’re being thought of as a dark horse and not an out-and-out favorite to win the World Cup in 2022. That being said they’re still the cream of the crop in Group F.
Going 6-2-0 in their UEFA qualifications saw Belgium ease their way into this tournament. Now, they have to keep that momentum going to show they’re one of the best in the world. They have been dominant over the last year losing only twice in their last nine matches (both to the Netherlands). This makes them the favorite in Group F with an 82% chance of making the knockout rounds and a 55.1% chance of winning the Group.
Their domination would need to start in their first match against the top team from CONCACAF Canada on the fourth day of the tournament. Points from that match, especially a win would set the foundation for Belgium’s dominance of the group.
Canada makes first World Cup appearance since 1986.
Canada was miles better than Mexico and the United States in CONCACAF qualifying. Their strong play helped them make their first World Cup in 36 years, and they have a dangerous squad that can compete with anyone on the field.
The Canuks scored 23 goals and allowed just seven in 14 qualifying matches. This was a goal difference of +16, and it’s something they’ll look to bring to the tournament in Qatar. Canada is very disciplined defensively but loves to have the ball at its feet and attack the opposition. They might have to change their approach against teams like Belgium and Croatia, but the style could catch those European giants off guard.
The Canadians open their tournament against mighty Belgium on the fourth day of the tournament. It’ll be a true test for them, and one that will dictate how they progress in Group F play.
Can Croatia make another magical run to the final?
Croatia lost in the 2018 World Cup final to France. It was a tough result but one that showed just how good the collective team of Croatia can be. This has been carried over to their qualifying for the 2022 tournament. They topped their UEFA qualifying group with seven wins, two draws, and one loss. Now they’re looking to create another magical run in Qatar.
After losing just once in the past calendar year, Croatia is in flying form. They will give any nation a run for their money on their day and will look to do so in Group F. They can upset Belgium, who they’ll play on the final matchday of the group stage, and can beat the other two nations by just being themselves.
They have a 35.6% chance of getting out of the group. We’ll see if Croatia will make that percentage go up or down in their first match against Morocco on the fourth day of the tournament!
Morocco wants to keep its unbeaten run going.
Morocco is one of the hardest-working teams to make it to the World Cup. They went a perfect 7-1-0 in their eight World Cup qualifying matches to get to Qatar. They scored 25 goals and allowed just two in that stretch of games. Now, they’ll be hoping to bring that type of record to a group that has much better opposition.
This side may have been strong in qualifying, but they’re given only a 29.3% chance to make it out of Group F. Morocco will need to stay organized defensively. They did this in their qualifying, and they have in friendlies heading into the World Cup as well (barring a 3-0 loss to the USA back in June). A defensively sound group, coupled with a quick counter-attacking style could be the key to getting points off of the teams better than them.
Morocco will need to implement this style in their first match against Croatia on the fourth day of the tournament! Getting points in the first match of a World Cup is important for any squad, but more so to the teams that aren’t projected to make it out of the group!
Group F Matches
- Morocco vs Croatia – Wednesday, Nov. 23 – 5 am ET
- Belgium vs Canada – Wednesday, Nov. 23 – 2 pm ET
- Belgium vs Morocco – Sunday, Nov. 27 – 8 am ET
- Croatia vs Canada – Sunday, Nov. 27 – 11 am ET
- Croatia vs Belgium – Thursday, Dec. 1 – 10 am ET
- Canada vs Morocco – Thursday, Dec. 1 – 10 am ET
Don’t miss out on PSN’s other World Cup group previews
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Mandatory Credit: Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire