How will Group F finish in the 2022 World Cup
Part 6 of a series
With the 2022 World Cup set to begin on Nov. 20, there are teams from each of the eight groups ready to leave their mark on the tournament.
This group leaves plenty of debate to be discussed once Morocco and Croatia’s first match kicks off on Nov. 23.
First Place: Belgium
While they may no longer be in peak form, expect Belgium to win this group.
The Belgians enjoyed a successful run in the 2018 World Cup, winning third place after beating Brazil and England during the knockout stage. Even after losing to Italy in the Euro 2021 quarterfinals, they still had a strong showing to prove themselves as one of the best in Europe.
They maintained their strength throughout the qualifiers, topping their group while going undefeated in eight games.
Thibaut Courtois is Belgium’s undisputed option at goal. The lanky netminder is playing excellent for Real Madrid, including winning last season’s Champions League. Courtois looks to carry that form to his country’s benefit.
Even as Belgium might be on the decline, they should not be underestimated with the offensive firepower they have.
Second Place: Canada
Canada is going to surprise many people heading into the tournament.
They have already done so with their performance in CONCACAF qualifying, taking first place over Mexico and the United States to clinch their first World Cup appearance since 1986.
Canada possesses Milan Borjan, who has plenty of Champions League experience with Red Star Belgrade, commanding the team at goal.
They have a great captain in midfielder Atiba Hutchinson. Holding the most caps for the team with 98 even at 39 years of age, he plays an important role of keeping the team under control while asserting their influence in the game.
Not to mention they have a potent offense. Once rising star Alphonso Davies recovers from his latest injury, he will team up with Cyle Larin and Jonathan David to produce what could be the most dangerous offense in this group.
With the energy and overall talent Canada has, be on the lookout for some thrilling matches with them.
Third Place: Croatia
While Croatia is capable of finishing in the top two of this group, they are just as capable of falling short of that threshold.
The Croatians stunned many people with their excellent performance in the 2018 tournament, going all the way to the final before falling 4-2 to France.
They continued to maintain a strong balance on both sides of the pitch in their qualifiers, topping their group over 2018 hosts Russia. They scored 21 goals and only allowed a group-low 4 goals in 10 games.
Even at age 37, Luka Modric still runs the show as team captain. The 2018 Ballon d’Or winner scored three goals in qualifying, and he is key to their ability to create goalscoring opportunities.
Croatia’s chances of coming out of this group entirely depend on their results against Canada and Morocco, as those two matchups will determine their place in the group standings.
Fourth Place: Morocco
Morocco is a heavy underdog in this group.
The Moroccans finished at the bottom of their group against Portugal, Spain, and Iran in 2018. This is not to say they played poorly, only losing by 1-0 scores in two games while managing a 2-2 draw against a solid Spanish squad.
In qualifying, they dominated all six games in their group, torching opponents with 20 goals and only conceding once during the second round of African qualifiers. In the final round, they convincingly beat Congo DR 5-2 on aggregate to punch their ticket.
The team has an amazing talent in fullback Achraf Hakimi. Playing to the best of his abilities at Paris Saint-Germain, he looks to have himself heavily involved in Morocco’s offense.
While it is not surprising that this team is not expected to come out of the group, do not expect them to go down without a fight.