World Cup 2022, Croatia-Belgium 0-0: Lukaku and teammates eliminated

The Inter striker enters the second half, hits the post and devours two more goals. Dalic’s team in the round of 16 from second: there is the surprise Japan

The Belgium it doesn’t go beyond that 0-0 against the Croatia in the last match of Group F and is eliminated by World Cup 2022. In a very balanced match full of opportunities, the biggest one happens on the right of Lukakuwho entered the second half: the Inter striker, however, fully hits the empty net polethen he devours two more goals and the challenge no longer unlocks. The Red Devils say goodbye to the competition, the reigning runners-up instead qualify as runners-up and will face the surprising Japan, who beat Spain 2-1.

The pride of Martinez’s boys actually emerges only in the second half of a match from inside or outside, too little to deserve a place among the top 16 in the world. DeBruyne it lights up only occasionally Mertens And Trossard they are rarely seen and Lukaku betrays by devouring opportunities in bursts. He had also thought about keeping Belgium alive until the end Courtois, decisive in at least three situations in denying Croatia the goal that would have closed the accounts early. Dalic’s team shows off all its qualities, especially in the middle of the pitch, but never finds the right opportunity to break through and in the end settles for a draw.

The Morocco’s lightning advantage over Canada forces both teams to play without sparing each other and in the 13th minute the Diavoli Rossi have a huge chance with Mertenswho opens the pot too much on De Bruyne’s assist and shoot the stars from great position. A few minutes later, then, a episode from Var: Taylor whistles the penalty for a foul by Carrasco on Kramaric in the area, but shortly after is called to the monitor. In fact, the semi-automatic offside detects a millimeter offside of Lovren at the start of the action and the English referee judges the active position, canceling the penalty. The Croatian maneuver is extremely fluid and effective, while Belgium lights up only in gusts, but in the 42nd minute they have another good opportunity, with a Dendoncker lunge not exploited to the fullest by Mertens. All things considered, a lively first half ended 0-0.

At the beginning of the second half Martinez immediately throws himself into the fray Lukaku, instead of Mertens, to play for everything. The Nerazzurri immediately had a good header opportunity, but the most sensational one happened on the right foot of Kovacic in the 50th minute, deflected for a corner by a great reflection of Courtois. The Real goalkeeper repeats himself twice more, first up Brozovichthen up Modricbut in the 60th minute it was Belgium’s turn to despair: De Bruyne’s pocket for Carrascoa close shot blocked by Juranovic that ends up between the feet of Lukaku. The right foot with a sure shot and an empty net from the Inter striker though it prints in full on the pole. It’s not over, why Big Rom has two more sensational chances in the finalebut in both cases it is not reactive enough to throw the ball in from a few steps e at the triple whistle she can only explode in tears.


Croatia (4-3-3): Livakovic 6; Juranovic 6.5, Lovren 6.5, Gvardiol 7.5, Sosa 6.5; Modric 6.5, Brozovic 6.5, Kovacic 6.5 (45’+2 st Majer sv); Livaja 5.5 (19′ st Petkovic 6.5), Kramaric 6 (19′ st Pasalic 5.5), Perisic 6. ct: Dalic 6
Belgium (4-3-3): Courtois 6.5; Meunier 6 (43′ st E. Hazard free), Alderweireld 6, Vertonghen 6, Chestnuts 5.5; Witsel 5.5, Dendoncker 6 (27′ st Tielemans 6), De Bruyne 6; Carrasco 5.5 (27′ st Doku 6.5), Mertens 5 (1′ st Lukaku 5), Trossard 5 (13′ st T. Hazard 5). ct: Martinez 5
Referee: Taylor (England)
Ammonite yourself: Dendoncker (B)
Note: recovery 4’+4′

– Belgium missed out on qualifying for the knockout stages of the World Cup for the first time since 1998.
– Belgium have only scored once in this World Cup – in their 19 previous World Cup and European Championship participations, only in the 1930 World Cup had they scored fewer.
– Croatia have lost just one of their last 19 matches in all competitions (W12, D6).
– Belgium failed to score in back-to-back World Cup matches for the first time since 1982.
– Thibaut Courtois played his 100th match for Belgium, becoming the first goalkeeper to reach this milestone for Belgium and the seventh overall.
– Belgium have fielded the second oldest starting XI (31 years and 95 days) in a World Cup match in the 21st century, after Australia against Germany in 2010 (31 years and 118 days).
– The Croatia-Belgium first half saw the most shots without a shot on target at the World Cup (nine) since Croatia-Nigeria in 2018 (12).
– The first shot on target of the match came in the 49th minute thanks to Romelu Lukaku, with the 13th total conclusion of the match.

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About David Martin

David Martin is the lead editor for Spark Chronicles. David has been working as a freelance journalist.

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