News Matches

Croatia v Belgium Live Commentary, 01/12/2022

FT
0 - 0
CRO
BEL
Ahmad bin Ali Stadium

Commentary

Thanks for joining our commentary today. Until next time, goodbye.
Croatia will now face the winner of Group E in the next round of the competition, which could be Spain, Costa Rica or Japan. Whereas Belgium now head home after crashing out of the competition at the group stage for the first time since 1998.
Croatia advance to the World Cup round of 16 at the expense of Belgium after playing out a goalless draw in their Group F clash. Neither team could force a breakthough, but Romelu Lukaku missed four great openings that could have saved the Red Devils from a premature exit from the competition. Lukaku struck the post and missed from close range on a frustrating night for the forward after he was introduced at half-time. Croatia held firm at the back to secure the goalless draw to advance in second place ahead of Belgium, while Morocco finish top of Group F as a result of their win over Canada.
90' + 4' FULL-TIME: CROATIA 0-0 BELGIUM
90' + 4' Petkovic tries to steer a ball towards Majer on the charge, but Castagne is there to clear for Belgium. They need to get the ball upfield quickly.
L. Majer
M. Kovačić
Croatia
90' + 2' Majer replaces Kovacic for Croatia for the dying minutes.
90' + 2' WHAT A CHALLENGE! Gvardiol makes a brilliant clearance in front of Lukaku as a loose ball from Doku's cross almost falls for the forward in the six-yard box.
90' There will be four minutes of added time.
90' SAVED ON THE LINE! Lukaku is having a nightmare in front of goal. Thorgan Hazard clips a cross into the middle that Lovren fails to clear. Lukaku should anticipate the mistake, but he allows the ball to strike his chest. The forward can only watch it trickle into the hands of Livakovic on the line.
88' Doku is brought down by Pasalic down the left flank, handing Belgium a free-kick in a useful position.
E. Hazard
T. Meunier
Belgium
87' Meunier is withdrawn as Eden Hazard enters the action for the dying stages.
87' INCHES WIDE! Lukaku misses the target again! Meunier latches on to a loose ball in the Croatia box and steers it towards goal. It travels towards Lukaku, who sticks out a boot, but sends his effort just past the right post.
85' Livakovic remains on his line as Meunier lifts a ball over the top for Lukaku to chase. It puts Gvardiol under pressure as he hooks the ball anywhere. De Bruyne pounces and tries to place a low cross into the middle that deflects off Gvardiol and behind for a corner.
84' Doku breaks down the left flank and has options in the middle, but he sees his cross cleared at the near post by Lovren.
83' Belgium need to force the issue now. Time is fast running out for the Red Devils to remain in the competition.
81' Juranovic plays the wrong pass under pressure as he goes for a cutback towards the penalty spot rather than directing his effort across the face of goal.
79' The game is hanging in the balance here. Belgium have 11 minutes plus stoppage time to force a winner that would send them through and knock Croatia out.
78' Vertonghen climbs in the Croatia box to attack a corner from Hazard, but he sees his header travel over the bar. Vertonghen claims there was a deflection, but the referee is not interested.
77' Petkovic releases Perisic with a sublime flick and he charges forward to the edge of the box. He tries to find space for a strike, but Vertonghen makes a vital challenge to quell the attack.
76' Gvardiol is solid at the back for Croatia as he halts Hazard on the charge with a strong challenge before repelling Tielemans' cross from the right flank.
75' Perisic fends off two challenges down the left flank and he works a ball into the middle, but it does not fall for Petkovic and Belgium clear.
J. Doku
Y. Carrasco
Belgium
72' Doku replaces Carrasco in the final third for the Red Devils.
Y. Tielemans
L. Dendoncker
Belgium
72' Tielemans slots into the Belgium midfield for Dendoncker.
71' Meunier finds space down the right flank and he stands up a cross into the middle. It does not have the depth to trouble the Croatia backline as Livakovic makes the claim.
69' De Bruyne angles a strike towards goal after being teed up by Meunier on the right flank, but Livakovic gets across to make the stop for Croatia.
68' Petkovic lifts a cutback towards Modric in the final third, but the midfielder can only poke a tame effort into the hands of Courtois.
L. Dendoncker
Yellow Card
Belgium
66' Dendoncker catches Kovacic with a lunge and goes into the book.
M. Pašalić
A. Kramarić
Croatia
64' Kramaric makes way in the final third for Pasalic.
B. Petković
M. Livaja
Croatia
64' Livaja has put in a good shift today and is now withdrawn for Petkovic.
62' LUKAKU MISSES AGAIN! The forward places a free header over the bar. De Bruyne latches on to ball down the left flank and keeps it alive with a cross into the middle. Lovren takes it away from Livakovic with a glancing header that travels straight onto the head of Lukaku, but he plants his header over the bar. A shocking miss, although replays show that the ball may have been out before De Bruyne put his delivery into the box.
60' SAVE AND OFF THE POST! Somehow Belgium are not in front! De Bruyne starts the move with an incisive pass to Carrasco that finds the winger in stride. He shoots low and hard at goal, but sees his effort blocked by Juranovic. Lukaku pounces on the rebound and hammers a right-footed strike towards goal, only to strike the inside of the post and wide. Agony for Belgium.
T. Hazard
L. Trossard
Belgium
59' Trossard makes way for Belgium and is replaced by Hazard in the final third.
57' The game has opened up in the second half, and Croatia are once again the team that looks most potent in the final third. Belgium are in trouble here.
55' CHANCE! Livaja is the link in the box and he offloads to Modric to shoot on the charge on his left foot, but Courtois gets down to push the ball away from goal.
54' SAVE! Courtois denies Brozovic with a solid stop. Sosa starts the move with a neat ball into Livaja, who offloads to Kovacic in support. The Chelsea man tees up Brozovic to strike on his left foot, but Courtois is equal to his effort.
53' Sosa raids down the left flank and angles a cross into the box that drifts away from Livaja and just out of reach of Kramaric at the back post.
51' OVER! De Bruyne twists and turns in the box and shoots on his left foot, but he scuffs his attempt wide of the target. It's much better from Belgium, but they need to be clinical.
50' Sosa lines up another effort from distance, but he fails to hit the target with his strike as he did in the first half. The Croatia left-back might not be encouraged to shoot by his team-mates any more today.
50' CHANCE! Gvardiol drives towards the Belgium box and feeds Kovacic in space. He curls a strike towards the top-left corner that Courtois has to stretch to turn over the bar.
49' SAVE! De Bruyne floats another cross from the right flank towards Lukaku, who attacks the delivery at the back post, only to head his effort straight at Livakovic.
48' Gvardiol stretches at the near post to divert De Bruyne's cross from the right flank away from Lukaku.
46' We're back under way in this Group F clash. Which side will secure their place in the last 16?
R. Lukaku
D. Mertens
Belgium
46' Martinez makes the move at half-time. Lukaku enters the fold for Mertens.
Roberto Martinez will be considering his options on the bench, namely Romelu Lukaku. He needs at least one goal from his team to avoid crashing out of the World Cup at the group stage. How long will it be before he makes the move?
It it goalless at the break between Croatia and Belgium in their World Cup Group F clash. As it stands, Belgium are heading out of the tournament due to Morocco's advantage over Canada at the break. It could have been a worse situation for the Red Devils when Croatia were awarded a penalty, which was then overturned by a debatable offside call from VAR. The two sides have been restricted to efforts from distance, although Dries Mertens missed the best chance of the game, curling his strike over the bar. It is all to play for in the second half in a straight shootout between the two teams for a place in the knockout phase.
45' + 4' HALF-TIME: CROATIA 0-0 BELGIUM
45' + 4' WIDE! Vertonghen heads a clearance from Sosa's cross straight to Juranovic on the edge of the box. He lines up a strike on the half-volley, only to slice it wide of the target.
45' + 2' Perisic is on the spot for Croatia at the back to clear Carrasco's cross from the left flank. Belgium are starting to get crosses into the middle.
45' There will be four minutes of added time.
45' WIDE! Kramaric tees up Sosa to fire at goal, but he blazes his left-footed effort harmlessly wide of the left post.
44' De Bruyne breaks down the left flank and sends a low cross into the middle, but no red and black shirt is there to convert as Livakovic smothers the ball.
42' Dendoncker charges forward and combines with Meunier in the inside-right channel. He tries to cut a ball back to Mertens, but it deflects off Gvardiol and bounces agonisingly across the face of goal.
41' UPDATE: Canada have a goal back against Morocco, offering a glimmer of hope to Belgium if they cannot win here today.
40' Alderweireld angles a long ball over the top for Trossard, but the winger cannot reach it on the stretch in the Croatia box after finding space.
38' There's no way through for Belgium at the moment. Croatia look far more dangerous in the final third.
37' Perisic is strong at the back to deny Trossard as he attempts to combine with De Bruyne on the edge of the Croatia box.
36' The battle between Livaja and Vertonghen continues as the forward trips the defender in a battle for possession in the Belgium half.
33' OVER! Brozovic sees a blast blocked by Dendoncker on the edge of the box before Croatia recycle possession. Sosa lifts a cross into the box for Livaja to attack and he rises well between Alderweireld and Vertonghen, only to guide his header narrowly over.
31' Belgium are looking too predictable in their approach play. They're struggling to break down Croatia at the back due to the slow speed of their passing in the final third.
29' Juranovic performs a clever dummy to allow Modric to raid behind Castagne, but the move is halted by the offside flag against the Real Madrid man.
28' Both teams are looking for a cutting edge in the final third. It is not as important for Dalic's men, but they would relish the comfort of a goal that would put all the pressure on Belgium.
26' Meunier makes an important challenge to halt Perisic in his tracks after drifting in from the left flank.
25' Carrasco cuts inside and offloads to Witsel on the edge of the box. He lines up a drive on his right foot, only to see his effort charged down by Brozovic.
24' UPDATE: Morooco have doubled their lead against Canada. Belgium are going to have to beat Croatia here to get through to the knockout phase. It is a straight shootout between the two sides here.
23' Dendoncker reacts to clear on the stretch as Perisic tries to release Livaja behind the Belgium backline.
21' Castagne does well at the back to hold off Kramaric down the right flank, clearing into touch after the forward gathered Perisic's cross.
19' Belgium have to scramble at the back to deny Perisic as he almost collects a cross from Juranovic from the right flank.
18' VAR! NO PENALTY! The referee overturns the decision for offside as Lovren moved a fraction too early from Modric's free-kick in the build-up to the foul from Carrasco. The Atletico Madrid man can breathe a huge sigh of relief.
17' The penalty incident will be looked at again by Taylor on the screen at the side of the pitch. This one could be overturned.
15' PENALTY TO CROATIA! After a scramble in the box, Carrasco sticks out a leg and catches Kramaric with a late boot. Referee Anthony Taylor points straight to the spot.
14' Witsel blocks off Kovacic and hands a free-kick to Croatia in a useful position on the left flank.
13' CHANCE! Mertens has to hit the target! De Bruyne leads a counter through the heart of the Croatia backline and he slides a throughball for Mertens in space. The forward connects first-time with his strike, but he steers it over the bar. A huge chance spurned.
11' Juranovic plays Mertens onside, but the full-back atones for his mistake with an important block to deny Carrasco at the back post as the winger latches on to a cutback from his team-mate.
10' Alderweireld tries to drop a long ball over the top for Mertens, but Lovren makes an important header that Livakovi claims in the box.
10' BLOCK! Carrasco cuts inside from the left flank and fires at goal on his right foot, but Brozovic is there to charge down his strike.
9' Gvardiol barges into the back of Trossard and gives away a free-kick in the centre circle.
7' Witsel tries to put the pressure on Brozovic in the middle of the park and gives away a free-kick. It's not a bad challenge to make because it shows intent from the Red Devils.
5' UPDATE: Morocco have taken the lead against Canada. That is not good news for Belgium.
4' Modric gets back to perform his defensive duties as he intercepts a pass from Trossard towards Carrasco in space on the edge of the Croatia box.
3' Modric works an offload into the feet of Livaja, but he gets halted by Vertonghen in the Belgium box before he can pick out a team-mate. Martinez's men are all over the place at the start of the contest.
2' Kovacic breaks down the left flank and into the Belgium box. He works a cross into the feet of Kramaric, but he cannot find space to force an effort towards goal.
1' WIDE! Croatia almost score 10 seconds after the kick-off as Modric floats a ball forward for Perisic. He takes a touch inside past Meunier before blasting a right-footed effort on the half-volley narrowly wide of the right post.
1' We're under way in this Group F clash.
This is the first FIFA World Cup meeting between Croatia and Belgium. Croatia have only lost two of their 10 meetings with fellow European nations in the competition (W6 D2), with both of those losses coming against France (1998 semi-final, 2018 final).
Belgium have made four changes to their side that was beaten by Morocco in their last outing. Dendoncker returns to the fold to start in a back three alongside Vertonghen and Alderweireld. Mertens, Trossard and Carrasco all come into the final third as Eden Hazard, Thorgan Hazard and Batshuayi make way. Amadou Onana misses out due to suspension.
Croatia are unchanged from their win over Canada last time out. Livaja and Kramaric continue to lead the line supported by Perisic in the final third. The midfield trio of Modric, Brozovic and Kovacic will look to control proceedings against De Bruyne and company.
BELGIUM SUBS: Arthur Theate, Wout Faes, Youri Tielemans, Romelu Lukaku, Eden Hazard, Simon Mignolet, Koen Casteels, Thorgan Hazard, Hans Vanaken, Charles de Ketelaere, Michy Batshuayi, Lois Openda, Jeremy Doku, Zeno Debast.
BELGIUM (3-4-3): Thibaut Courtois; Leander Dendoncker, Toby Alderweireld, Jan Vertonghen; Thomas Meunier, Kevin De Bruyne, Axel Witsel, Timothy Castagne; Leandro Trossard, Yannick Carrasco, Dries Mertens.
CROATIA SUBS: Josip Stanisic, Borna Barisic, Martin Erlic, Lovro Majer, Ivo Grbic, Nikola Vlasic, Mario Pasalic, Bruno Petkovic, Ante Budimir, Mislav Orsic, Domagoj Vida, Ivica Ivusic, Josip Sutalo, Luka Sucic, Kristijan Jakic.
CROATIA (4-3-3): Dominik Livakovic; Josip Juranovic, Dejan Lovren, Josko Gvardiol, Borna Sosa; Luka Modric, Marcelo Brozovic, Mateo Kovacic; Andrej Kramaric, Marko Livaja, Ivan Perisic.
Belgium have found themselves in difficulty in their bid to qualify for the round of 16 after losing to Morocco in their last outing. Roberto Martinez's side suffered a 2-0 defeat as goals from Romain Saiss and Zakaria Aboukhlal delivered the three points for Morocco. Belgium have to win to advance to the next round of the competition, or draw and hope that Canada beat Morocco in the other Group F match today, and even that might not be enough. It's going to be a tense occasion for Martinez and his team.
Croatia have a straightforward path to the round of 16 by simply avoiding defeat against Belgium today. Croatia defeated Canada in their last outing with an emphatic 4-1 victory after trailing in the second minute to Alphonso Davies' strike. Zlatko Dalic's men need to operate at that level once more to see off the threat of the Red Devils and book their place in the next phase of the tournament.
Hello and welcome to the live commentary of the World Cup Group F match between Croatia and Belgium at the Ahmed bin Ali Stadium.