Croatia vs Belgium predictions: Croats can send "Golden Generation" packing
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Alex Jack
Spotlight
Zlatko Dalic's Croatia look to be building nicely in Qatar
Zlatko Dalic's Croatia look to be building nicely in Qatar

- Croatia and Morocco both sit on four points in Group F, with Belgium down in third with three points
- Croats unbeaten in their last eight games
- Recommended bet: Croatia to win

Billed as one of the dark horses ahead of the World Cup, Belgium find themselves in real danger of dropping out of the tournament in the group stages ahead of Thursday's showdown with Croatia.

The Croats, despite reaching the final of the last World Cup in 2018, have been happy to go under the radar and have a side capable of sending Belgium's stars back to their clubs early.

Croatia started the tournament in underwhelming fashion with a goalless draw against Morocco but managed to go through the gears to secure a 4-1 win over Canada last time out.

As for Belgium, Roberto Martinez's side were fortunate to come away from Al Rayyan with a 1-0 win over the Canadians in their opener, before suffering a 2-0 defeat to Morocco at Al Thumama Stadium.

Team news

Following that impressive win over Canada, Croatia boss Zlatko Dalic is unlikely to make too many changes for Thursday's encounter at Ahmad bin Ali Stadium.

Captain and key playmaker Luka Modric will have to err on the side of caution as he's just one yellow card away from suspension ahead of a potential knockout stage appearance.

Meanwhile, Belgium will have to do without Amadou Onana, who has been ruled out with a suspension and is likely to be replaced by Leicester City's Youri Tielemans in midfield alongside Axel Witsel.

Martinez will have a decision to make up front, with Romelu Lukaku still not fully fit despite featuring as a substitute against Morocco.

Michy Batshuayi has made a positive start to the tournament and Lukaku will have to dislodge the in-form Fenerbahce striker to get in the starting XI.

The stats

Croatia are the form side going into this encounter, having gone on an eight-match unbeaten run ahead of their clash with the Red Devils.

Belgium are looking to secure what would be a third consecutive victory over Croatia, having come out on top in their meetings last year and in 2013.

Belgium secured a 2-1 win nine years ago and a 1-0 win over the Croats in 2021. All three Belgium goals were scored by Lukaku.

Prediction

Belgium's hopes could hinge on the fitness of Romelu Lukaku
Belgium's hopes could hinge on the fitness of Romelu Lukaku

Lukaku has been key to Belgium's most recent successes against Croatia but after his latest thigh injury, it's a big ask for the Inter Milan loan star to get up to speed.

Many of Belgium's individual stars are yet to deliver in Qatar and they have looked disjointed in their first two outings of the tournament.

Croatia, on the other hand, have looked like a well-organised unit that will be tough for the Red Devils to break down.

With that under consideration, the 8/5 with LiveScore Bet for a Croatia win offers good value, in a result that would see arguably the end of Belgium's Golden Generation.

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World CupBelgiumCroatia
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