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World Cup 2022: Belgium out after a draw against Croatia, Morocco celebrates history


Belgium's stars disappointed at the World Cup. This is also due to the missed chances of star striker Romelu Lukaku. Alongside Croatia, Morocco is in the round of 16 for the first time in 36 years.

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Croatian superstar Luka Modrić (right) in a duel with Timothy Castagne


IMAGO/Grigory Sysoev / IMAGO/SNA

Morocco and Croatia have reached the round of 16 of the World Cup.

The Moroccans secured their first promotion since 1986 with a 2-1 (1-2) win over Canada.

Croatia handed a goalless, but never boring draw against the consistently disappointing Belgians in the group stage.

The Croatians meet the group winners of the German group, Morocco the second.

For Belgium, the situation before the group finals was clear: they had to win to have a realistic chance of reaching the round of 16.

Admittedly, a progression could not have been ruled out even with a draw, but Morocco would have had to lose significantly in the parallel game.

The game in the Ahmad bin Ali stadium was mainly made by the Croatians, who had a better system and scored a dangerous goal for the first time after just eight seconds through Ivan Perišić.

And the Belgians were still lucky: in the 18th minute, referee Anthony Taylor took back a penalty because the semi-automatic offside detection system had recognized an offside position.

The tight decision caused discussions not only among the Croatians, but also on social media.

The Belgians' most interesting scene up to that point took place meaningfully before the start of the second half: Romelu Lukaku came on as a substitute, having entered the World Cup with a thigh injury.

And with Lukaku it was a different, more open game: The star striker failed twice in a promising position, once from about seven meters on the right inner post (60th minute), once he headed over the empty goal (62nd).

In the end he didn't get the ball over the line from three yards in front of the empty goal (90').

Croatia also remained dangerous, but could not get past the world's best goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois.

However, this result was enough for the Croatians to move into the round of 16 as runners-up in their group.

Morocco got off to a flying start against the already-eliminated Canada, helped by disastrous mistakes in the Canadian defence: centre-back Steven Vitória played a poor back pass which forced goalkeeper Milan Borjan to come out.

He lost the overview and played flat out in the middle instead of clearing wide.

Hakim Ziyech took advantage of the error with a chip from 40 meters (5th).

Less than 20 minutes later, the Moroccans followed up when right-back Achraf Hakimi threw a volley at striker Youssef En-Nesyri.

The striker was faster than his opponent Kamal Miller and scored with a low shot into the near corner to make it 2-0 (23rd).

Before half-time, Canada drew level when Morocco's Nayef Aguerd deflected a cross into his own goal.

Keeper Bono could only get the ball with his fingertips (40th).

Morocco celebrated the supposed 3-1 shortly afterwards, but En-Nesyri's volley was not valid due to a previous offside position (45+3).

In the second half, Canada's captain Atiba Hutchinson missed the equalizer with a header into the crossbar (72').


Source: spiegel

All sports articles on 2022-12-01

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