Andrej Kramaric scored a fine brace as Croatia overturned an early deficit to eliminate Canada from the World Cup at the Khalifa International stadium on Sunday evening.
Alphonso Davies gave the North American nation a dream start with a thumping header from Tajon Buchanan’s cross from the right wing with only 68 seconds played.
Croatia turn it around
However, Croatia calmed their nerves and grew into the game dominating possession with Kramaric restoring parity in the 36th minute following Ivan Perisic’s fine left wing cross. The Hoffenheim midfielder earlier had a goal called off through offside.
Right on the stroke of half time, Marko Livaja gave the 2018 World Cup runners up a deserved lead with a thumping strike on the edge of the penalty box. Canada looked second best on the pitch and Davies’ opener was a thing of the past.
Both teams had chances to score after the break but the gulf in class was clear between the two sides. It was no surprise that the Croats had the lion share of the ball making the Canadians work extremely hard off the ball.
Kramaric scored his second of the night in the 70th minute, once again after being fed by Perisic. It was the 31-year-old last contribution of the game being replaced by Torino midfielder Nikola Vlasic.
Lovro Majer completed the rout in the 94th minute after Canadian defender Kamal Miller fluffed his lines. Substitute Mislav Orsic got hold off the loose ball and with only the goalkeeper to beat played it on the path of Majer who slotted home with aplomb.
Pre-match controversy answered
Much of the pre match talk centered around Canada head coach John Herdman’s controversial statement after their 1-0 loss to Belgium in their opening game, “I told them (players) they belong here. And we’re going to go and f*ck Croatia. That’s as simple as it gets.”
The Croatian media outlet ‘24 Sata’ responded saying, “You have a big tongue but do you have the balls?”
Croatia currently top Group F on goal difference with 4 points, the same as Morocco who stunned Belgium 2-0 earlier in the day.
The Croats will face Belgium in their final group game on Thursday, the latter who need a win to qualify for the knockout stages.
Photo credit: IMAGO / Pro Sports Images
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