Qatar World Cup Group F features two semi-finalists from Russia, Belgium and Croatia, plus Canada and Morocco.
Let’s take a quick look at the dates and times these four teams will play each other, their chances of advancing into the knockout stage as well as details on their squads, records and the all-important group table.
World Cup Group F Fixtures & Schedule
Wednesday, November 23 (10:00) – Morocco vs Croatia
Wednesday, November 23 (19:00) – Belgium vs Canada
Sunday, November 27 (13:00) – Belgium vs Morocco
Sunday, November 27 (16:00) – Croatia vs Canada
Thursday, December 1 (15:00) – Croatia vs Belgium
Thursday, December 1 (15:00) – Canada vs Morocco
World Cup Group F: Teams & Preview
Had the 2018 World Cup semi-finals played out differently for Belgium, we’d be looking at a repeat of the grand final from four years ago.
While the Belgians lost to France in their mouth-watering last-four tie, the Croats found themselves on the receiving end of Les Bleus’ wrath in the title decider.
But both teams should at the very least make it out of the group stages in Qatar, with Canada and Morocco unlikely to be a match for the two European high-flyers.
Belgium – Is this the time?
Manager: Roberto Martinez
Star Player: Kevin De Bruyne
Belgium’s ‘Golden Generation,’ which had spent over 760 at the top of the FIFA world rankings, still has no piece of silverware to show for it despite carrying a reputation of a household team.
Maybe surrendering the throne to Brazil is what Roberto Martinez’s side needed to shrug off the pressure and live up to their extravagant potential.
Despite often reaching major international tournaments in an emphatic fashion, De Rode Duivels have got their fans used to seeing them underperforming at the most prominent stages.
Unlike in 2018, when they had Eden Hazard and a star-studded backline at their peak powers, Belgium will now have to turn to Manchester City wizard Kevin De Bruyne to drive the team forward, if not single-handedly.
With Hazard well past his prime and Romelu Lukaku no longer a shadow of the player he was during his first stint at Inter Milan, the 31-year-old playmaker will have to carry all the weight by himself.
That doesn’t change the fact that this could be Belgium’s last opportunity to show they are not kings without a crown.
Croatia – Modric’s last World Cup dance
Manager: Zlatko Dalic
Star Player: Luka Modric
Croatia established themselves as a surprise package in Russia, navigating three nail-biting knockout ties that either went to extra time or penalties.
However, the Blazers cannot be deemed dark horses anymore, with their triumphant 2022/23 Nations League campaign in Group A/1 standing as a testament to their maturity and unparalleled quality.
Following a 2018 showpiece heartbreak, Zlatko Dalic’s men return to the World Cup with their core largely intact, though without Ivan Rakitic and Mario Mandzukic, they’ll look a bit different.
Now more than ever, Croatia will need their long-serving midfield dynamo Luka Modric to show what he is made of as the 2018 Ballon d’Or winner braces himself for one last World Cup dance.
At 37, the Real Madrid maestro is still the beating heart of Dalic’s team, and with Mateo Kovacic and Marcelo Brozovic keeping him company in the engine room, the Blazers should be safe and sound.
Canada – CONCACAF hype train
Manager: John Herdman
Star Player: Alphonso Davies
Canada’s only previous appearance at the World Cup finals dates back to 1986, but Les Rogues have made the wait worthwhile, as they excelled in the CONCACAF qualifying group.
John Herdman’s hype train stormed into the Qatar showpiece as winners of the North American confederation, leaving Mexico, Costa Rica and the United States in the dust.
It’s worth noting that the Canadians netted more and conceded fewer goals than any other nation from the CONCACAF region, suggesting they are more than capable of throwing this group into disarray.
Bayern Munich speed demon Alphonso Davies has much more freedom at the national team, where he plays as a winger, explaining how he’s mustered 12 goals from just 34 international outings.
Morocco – Unknown entity
Manager: Walid Regragui
Star Player: Hakim Ziyech
Morocco performed a managerial change in August, sacking long-serving manager Vahid Halihodzic in favour of relatively inexperienced coach Walid Regragui.
Halihodzic qualified the Atlas Lions for their second successive World Cup finals, but his well-documented fallout with the country’s premier star Hakim Ziyech backfired on him.
Under Regragui’s stewardship, Morocco will welcome their standout winger back to the fold as they bid to reach the knockout phase after three straight group-stage eliminations.
Yet based on Morocco underwhelming form at the Africa Cup of Nations earlier this year, it’s no surprise that their presence has been widely overlooked.
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