FIFA World Cup: Croatia, Morocco gain R16 qualification; Belgium ousted
Croatia and Morocco have made it to the round of 16 from Group F at the FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar. Croatia held Belgium to a 0-0 draw and finished second in the group. Morocco beat Canada 2-1 to finish first. Belgium, who won the bronze medal in 2018 Russia, finished third in Group F to bow out. Here's more.
Standings and points in Group F
Croatia managed two draws and a win to finish with five points from three games. Morocco claimed the top position after winning two matches and drawing one. Morocco, who beat Belgium earlier, finished with seven points from three matches. Meanwhile, Belgium started their WC campaign with a win but lost their second match before claiming a draw. Canada failed to open their account (L3).
Key numbers for Morocco's goal-scorers Ziyech and En-Nesyri
Playing his 46th match for Morocco, Chelsea winger Hakim Ziyech scored versus Canada to claim his maiden World Cup goal. He now has 19 goals in all competitions for Morocco. Sevilla forward Youssef En-Nesyri scored his 16th goal for Morocco, having played his 53rd match. He now has two World Cup goals, having scored back in the 2018 World Cup as well.
Courtois makes his 100th appearance for Belgium
Belgium goalie Thibaut Courtois made his 100th appearance for Belgium. He is now the first keeper to script this milestone for the Belgian side, besides being the seventh player overall. He also made his 15th appearance for Belgium at the FIFA World Cup.
Key team records of Group F
Morocco have never lost to Canada in any of their four meetings across competitions to date (W3 D1). Canada have now lost all of their six FIFA World Cup matches, matching El Salvador's record (6). For the second successive edition, Croatia have managed to reach the knockout stage, having been eliminated in the group stage on three occasions before this.
Belgium put on a sorry show versus Croatia
Belgium were the second-best side throughout and wasted several chances, especially in the 2nd half. Croatia earned a penalty in the first half but VAR ruled out the same in dubious circumstances as it stayed 0-0 at half-time. Belgium could have scored in the 2nd half, but Romelu Lukaku was wasteful in front of goal. Belgium clocked 16 attempts, including three shots on target.
Morocco show their steel
Morocco finished top of the group rather deservedly, showing character and steel once again. After a mix-up at the back, Canada saw Ziyech score the opener in the 4th minute. Achraf Hakimi's through ball from the right flank saw En-Nesyri score the 2nd minutes later. Canada pulled one goal back ahead of half-time. In the second half, Canada failed to offer anything significant.