How qualified – Won UEFA Group E
Best performance – SFs 2018
Goalkeepers: Thibaut Courtois, Simon Mignolet, Koen Casteels
Defenders: Jan Vertonghen, Toby Alderweireld, Leander Dendoncker, Zeno Debast, Arthur Theate, Wout Faes
Midfielders: Hans Vanaken, Axel Witsel, Youri Tielemans, Amadou Onana, Kevin De Bruyne, Yannick Carrasco, Thorgan Hazard, Timothy Castagne, Thomas Meunier
Forwards: Romelu Lukaku, Michy Batshuayi, Lois Openda, Charles De Ketelaere, Eden Hazard, Jeremy Doku, Dries Mertens, Leandro Trossard
How qualified – 1st in CONCACAF
Best performance – Group Stage 1986
Goalkeepers: James Pantemis, Milan Borjan, Dayne St. Clair
Defenders: Samuel Adekugbe, Joel Waterman, Alistair Johnston, Richie Laryea, Kamal Miller, Steven Vitoria, Derek Cornelius
Midfielders: Liam Fraser, Ismael Kone, Mark-Anthony Kaye, David Wotherspoon, Jonathan Osorio, Atiba Hutchinson, Stephen Eustaquio, Samuel Piette
Forwards: Tajon Buchanan, Liam Millar, Lucas Cavallini, Ike Ugbo, Junior Hoilett, Jonathan David, Cyle Larin, Alphonso Davies
How qualified – Won CAF play-off
Best performance – Last 16 1986
Goalkeepers: Bono, Munir El Kajoui, Ahmed Tagnaouti
Defenders: Nayef Aguerd, Yahia Attiyat Allah, Badr Benoun, Achraf Dari, Jawad El Yamiq, Achraf Hakimi, Noussair Mazraoui, Romain Saiss
Midfielders: Sofyan Amrabat, Selim Amallah, Bilal El Khannous, Yahya Jabrane, Azzedine Ounahi, Abdelhamid Sabiri
Forwards: Zakaria Aboukhlal, Sofiane Boufal, Ilias Chair, Walid Cheddira, Youssef En-Nesyri, Abde Ezzalzouli, Abderrazak Hamdallah, Amine Harit, Hakim Ziyech
How qualified – Won UEFA Group H
Best performance – Final 2018
Goalkeepers: Dominik Livakovic, Ivica Ivusic, Ivo Grbic
Defenders: Domagoj Vida, Dejan Lovren, Borna Barisic, Josip Juranovic, Josko Gvardiol, Borna Sosa, Josip Stanisic, Martin Erlic, Josip Sutalo
Midfielders: Luka Modric, Mateo Kovacic, Marcelo Brozovic, Mario Pasalic, Nikola Vlasic, Lovro Majer, Kristijan Jakic, Luka Sucic
Forwards: Ivan Perisic, Andrej Kramaric, Bruno Petkovic, Mislav Orsic, Ante Budimir, Marko Livaja
Wednesday 23 November
Morocco vs Croatia – 10am – ITV
Belgium vs Canada – 7pm – BBC
Sunday 27 November
Belgium vs Morocco – 1pm – BBC
Croatia vs Canada – 4pm – BBC
Thursday 1 December
Canada vs Morocco – 4pm – BBC
Croatia vs Belgium – 4pm – BBC
Group F is headlined by two teams who made it to the semi-final and beyond in Russia four years ago. The top seeds in the group are Belgium whose golden generation head to Qatar potentially together for the final time as they bid to finally land major silverware for their nation. Croatia actually went one better than Belgium in Russia when they lost out to France in the final. They will be looking to come out of this group and go on another deep run. Canada are appearing at the finals for the first time in 36 years and they will be eager to show their best stuff on the big stage. This is close to a home World Cup for Morocco who could love to make it out of the group phase for the first time since 1986.
I’m all about Croatia in this group. They might have lost a few players to retirement since 2018 but they arrive here in good touch having qualified for the semi-finals of the Nations League and have won their last five matches in all competitions. They cruised through their qualifying group and will know if they can win this group the draw could open up for them. Belgium are the obvious dangers but they are an aging side who look no better than a year ago in the Euros when they were taken out by Italy in the quarter final. I’ve a hunch that Canada could be a surprise package in this group because they are young and vibrant and don’t have a lot to lose while Morocco might well be the home team but for me Croatia are the ones to beat in this section.
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There is one bet I like from the teams here as well. It is a short priced one but one I think will win nevertheless. It comes in the form of the Canada team goals where the 2.5 goal line looks a little on the low side to me. I fancy they could well score in all three matches and if they do that then they will cover this line with a fair bit in hand. It isn’t beyond the realms of possibility that they take what are three aging defences to the cleaners, at least in terms of chances created.
This is a very young and vibrant Canada side, one which for me is the best in the CONCACAF region right now and the one which has the potential to be the most progressive as they head towards co-hosting the tournament in four years. In the likes of Alphonso Davies, Jonathan David and Lucas Cavallini they have a trio of exciting attacking talents and there are others besides that. Canada haven’t been to the big dance for a while so they can go under the radar and find their way to three goals before their tournament comes to an end.
Back Croatia to win Group F for a 2/10 stake at 3.25 with Boylesports
Back them here:
Back Canada – Over 2.5 tournament goals for a 3/10 stake at 1.67 with Bet365