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Croatia vs Belgium betting tips: World Cup preview, predictions, team news and odds

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Match preview

These two claimed silver and bronze medals respectively four years ago, but now, in all likelihood, one will be going home after this match.

Belgium’s position is far more perilous, after they suffered a shock defeat on Sunday.

The Red Devils were generally shambolic throughout, beaten 2-0 by Morocco in front of a partisan crowd at Al-Thumama Stadium

Four days earlier, Roberto Martínez’s men massively underwhelmed but, somehow, edged out Canada 1-0 in their opener.

Now though, Belgium simply must win or they’ll be going home and, based on what they’ve shown so far, a victroy seems unlikely.

For Croatia, a point will see them advance, although they’ll need a win to top the group, if Morocco beat Canada simultaneously.

This then carried into Sunday’s match when, after just 69 seconds, Zlatko Dalić’s team found themselves a goal down against Canada.

By half time though, goals from Andrej Kramarić and Marko Livaja had turned it around, before Kramarić again and Lovro Majer struck in the second 45 to secure the win.

This is just the second time Croatia have scored 4+ at a major tournament, also demolishing Cameroon in 2014.

So, the 2018 runners-up start the night top of the table, but would almost certainly end it third if they’re beaten here.

This’ll be a first-ever tournament meeting of these two nations, but who will be heading home from Ahmad bin Ali Stadium?

Croatia team news

Zlatko Dalić made just one change from game one to game two, with Marko Livaja displacing Nikola Vlašić in attack.

He is expected to name an unchanged line-up here, featuring the imperious midfield trio of Marcelo Brozović, Mateo Kovačić and Luka Modrić.

Modrić is the first man ever to play at a World Cup and European Championships in three different decades.

As for Ivan Perišić, the last World Cup or Euros he didn’t score at is that of 2012, looking to extend that streak here.

Dejan Lovren and Modrić would sit out any potential last 16 tie if booked here.

Predicted XI (4-3-3): Livaković; Juranović, Gvardiol, Lovren, Sosa; Brozović, Kovačić, Modrić; Livaja, Perišić, Kramarić.

Belgium team news

Everton’s Amadou Onana has impressed at this tournament but, having been yellow carded in both games, is serving a suspension.

This’ll see Youri Tielemans rekindle his midfield partnership alongside Axel Witsel.

Romelu Lukaku has played just 256 minutes for Inter this season, and came on in the 81st minute on Sunday but, needs must, he’ll surely start here.

Belgium supporters are calling for captain Eden Hazard to be dropped, with Leandro Trossard given a start, but this seems unlikely.

Yannick Carrasco though could return at wing-back, with Eden’s brother Thorgan, potentially, making way.

Predicted XI (3-4-2-1): Courtois; Castagne, Alderweireld, Vertonghen; Meunier, Witsel, Tielemans, Carrasco; De Bruyne, E Hazard; Lukaku.

Croatia vs Belgium: Head to head statistics

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Group F table:

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Ben Gray

Arsenal fan – follow them over land and sea (and Leicester); sofa Celtic supporter; a bit of a football '"encyclopedia".

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