The 2022 FIFA World Cup is just around the corner as the action in Qatar is set to get underway on November 20. Group F looks like a lock for Belgium on paper, as they are by far the highest ranked country in the group at No. 2. However, Croatia come in as the defending runners-up after losing to France in the 2018 World Cup final.
Let’s take a closer look at Group F before their opening day on November 23, which will see Morocco vs. Croatia and Belgium vs. Canada.
Things haven’t always gone well for Belgium, despite sitting as the No. 1-ranked team in the world for quite a while. They’ve almost always been near the top of the rankings and have been considered one of the best teams in the world, but are still searching for their first World Cup trophy. They came close in 2018, when they finished third place by beating England 2-0 after a 1-0 loss to the eventual winners France in the semifinal. It’s their best-ever finish, and coach Roberto Martinez will look to take that a step further this year.
The Belgian squad has no shortage of stars on their team, including Romelu Lukaku, Kevin De Bruyne, Eden Hazard, Thibaut Courtois and Yannick Carrasco to name a few. Lukaku has 68 goals in 102 caps as he became the country’s all-time leading scorer back in 2017, and he’ll hope to lead his country to their first World Cup title in 2022.
The Canadians qualified for their second-ever World Cup after coming close many times in CONCACAF qualifying cycles. Their first appearance came in 1986, where they didn’t win a game or score a single goal and made an early group stage exit. Armed with arguably their best squad to date, coach John Herdman will look to lead his side to success as they hope to advance out of the group stage. Their most well-known star player, Alphonso Davies, is a young phenom who got his start in MLS and quickly made the leap overseas where he’s become a staple as a left back in the Bayern Munich starting lineup. While he plays more of an attacking role in the Canadian squad, he has 12 goals in 34 games for the national team and is just 22 years old heading into his first-ever World Cup.
Davies will be joined by the talents of strikers Cyle Larin and Jonathan David as their attacking line has plenty of experience playing in top flight European leagues. While they’re the least favored to win the group, don’t sleep on this Canadian side who look more poised than ever to make some waves on the world stage regardless of their No. 41 world ranking.
Ranked No. 22 in the world, Morocco is making their second consecutive appearance at the World Cup. After missing out for 20 years, they made their return to the tournament in 2018, but made a swift exit in the group stage after going 0-1-2 in Group B. Morocco is led by Chelsea star Hakim Ziyech, who has scored 17 goals through 42 games for the Atlas Lions. They’ll also feature Achraf Hakimi, Noussair Mazraoui and captain Roain Saiss as they have plenty of talent who play in top flight European leagues. After going through a coaching change earlier this year, Walid Regragui will call the shots as they look to advance out of the group stage for just the second time in history.
Croatia will look to make another deep run after surprising the world by making it all the way to the final in 2018. Of course, they famously lost to Kylian Mbappe and the rest of the France squad in a 4-2 heartbreaker, but it further cemented the Croatians as one of the world’s elite teams. It was the first time since 1998 that they advanced past the group stage, and Zlatko Dalic’s side will look to do it again in 2022. They’re led by 37-year-old Real Madrid star Luka Modric, who is almost certainly playing his final World Cup as he’ll be 41 when the next one comes around. He’s joined in the midfield by Mateo Kovacic and Marcelo Brozovic while their forwards consist of Ivan Perisic and Andrej Kramaric, who both add plenty of firepower for the Croatians.
Ranked No. 12 in the world, they’re favored to advance from the group along with Belgium, while sitting not too far behind the Red Devils to win the group as well.
Odds to win Group F on DraftKings Sportsbook
Group F Schedule
Wednesday, November 23:
Belgium vs. Canada, 2 p.m. ET
Morocco vs. Croatia, 5 a.m. ET
Sunday, November 27
Belgium vs. Morocco, 8 a.m. ET
Canada vs. Croatia, 11 a.m. ET
Thursday, December 1
Belgium vs. Croatia, 10 a.m. ET
Canada vs. Morocco, 10 a.m. ET