Croatia vs Canada predictions: Maple Leafs can make history
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Daniel Childs
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John Herdman will feel hard done by after Canada's opening loss but they can make amends against Croatia on Sunday
John Herdman will feel hard done by after Canada's opening loss but they can make amends against Croatia on Sunday

- Canada outshot Belgium 21-9 in what was an unlucky 1-0 loss in their opener 
- Croatia struggled to create much against Morocco and managed just six shots in total 
- Recommended bet: Tie or Canada Double Chance

Group F looks like being one of the most evenly contested after Canada suffered an unfortunate 1-0 loss to Belgium and Croatia were held to a 0-0 draw by Morocco.

The stakes will be high in Al Rayyan with Croatia aiming to pick up their first victory while Canada are hoping to avoid a defeat which would end their hopes of reaching the knockout rounds.

Team news

Attacking midfielder Nikola Vlasic came off at half-time in the draw with Morocco but he has returned to full training and is likely to stay in the starting line-up.

Croatia lacked an attacking spark on Wednesday so head coach Zlatko Dalic could reassess his options. 

One of those would be to hand a bigger role to Dinamo Zagreb attacker Mislav Orsic, who has netted eight times in 15 Croatian top-flight matches this season.

Canada manager John Herdman has not reported any fresh injuries and is unlikely to make wholesale changes to the team which competed so well against Belgium.

Alphonso Davies shook off a pre-tournament hamstring strain to play the whole game and should continue.

The stats

Croatia's 0-0 draw against Morocco ended a run of five straight victories. However, they are unbeaten in seven since a 3-0 Nations League reverse at home to Austria in June.

It was the first time that the Croatians had been blanked in a World Cup game since a goalless draw with Japan in 2006. 

In between Croatia had scored in 11 consecutive World Cup matches.

Canada's loss to Belgium means they have yet to score any goals or register any points at a World Cup finals.

Their loss-to-nil sequence stands at four after defeats to France (0-1), Hungary (0-2) and USSR (0-2) at Mexico 1986.

Prediction

Luka Modric is still Croatia's main man but is now 37 years of age
Luka Modric is still Croatia's main man but is now 37 years of age

Canada were unlucky to lose against Belgium in their opening game and can keep their round-of-16 qualification hopes alive by taking at least a point against Croatia.

In terms of World Cup pedigree, there is a massive gulf between Canada, who have never secured any World Cup points, and Croatia, who were semi-finalists in 1998 and finalists in 2018.

But the Canadians are not overawed and they were largely dominant against the Belgians, winning the shot count 21 to nine.

Critics might argue that Canada simply lacked the quality where it really mattered but that seems to be a harsh and simplistic assessment.

Lille forward Jonathan David has shown his ability by scoring goals regularly in the French league and there was an encouraging World Cup debut from Club Brugge's pacy attacker Tajon Buchanan, who has featured four times in this season's Champions League.

Alphonso Davies's penalty miss was a bad moment but he was facing a world class goalkeeper, Thibaut Courtois, and may fare better if he gets a sight of goal against the Croatians.

Canada are likely to play with freedom and energy and that could pose a few problems for Croatia, who are relying on several players now into their thirties.

Luka Modric remains a class act but Croatia mustered just five shots against Morocco and, if they fail to improve, they could be on the wrong end of a shock result.

Whether Canada have the killer instinct to secure all three points would be the question so playing it safe with the Tie or Canada double chance, available at 8/11 with LiveScore Bet, is certainly worth consideration.

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