FIFA World Cup 2022: Croatia hold Belgium to qualify in round of 16


Kolkata: Belgium got eliminated following a dismal 0-0 draw against Croatia from the World Cup. To go past the group stage, Roberto Martinez’s team needed to defeat the World Cup champions, but they were unable to score.

Romelu Lukaku entered the game when the captain Eden Hazard was benched, and he missed four significant opportunities as Belgium’s disastrous World Cup run came to an end. Croatia advances to the round of 16, but only after finishing in second place in the group behind Morocco, which defeated Canada 2-1 to take first position.

Ivan Perisic’s attempt went over the crossbar in the first 20 seconds as Croatia took control from the opening whistle.

After 14 minutes, Belgium immediately retaliated, but Dries Mertens was unable to reach the goal following a superb through ball from Kevin de Bruyne. After less than a minute, Yannick Carrasco was found to have fouled Andrej Kramaric inside the penalty area, earning Croatia a penalty.

Referee Anthony Taylor was sent to the monitor by the VAR as Luka Modric was getting ready to take the penalty kick, and the judgement was reversed for an offside throughout the buildup.

The remainder of the first half was a tense one, but after the break, the game picked up. Thibaut Courtois of Belgium, who was called upon early on, stopped Croatia on three different occasions.

After coming on in the second half, Lukaku of Inter Milan wasted two great opportunities in quick succession. Lukaku was the quickest to react to a rebound just after the hour mark, and he was able to hit the post from close range with the goalie out of position.

With the goal at his disposal, the striker then headed another simple attempt over the bar. Lukaku’s night was not good as he missed two further opportunities to score as Croatia held off late assaults from Belgium.


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