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FT: Croatia 4-1 Canada - Game thread, preview, how to watch

With their tournament on the line, Canada eyes their first-ever World Cup goal and first-ever win at a World Cup

Two legendary veteran midfielders for their countries: Luka Modrić of Croatia (left) and Atiba Hutchinson of Canada (right).
Modrić via Visionhaus/Getty Images & Hutchinson via Mike Hewitt - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images

FT Canada is elimiated. But we get a first-ever goal to celebrate. Final score 4-1.

90+4’ GOAL CROATIA! Lovro Majer finds the back of the net after a quick counter-attack!

90+3’ Canada knocking on the door, but Croatia refusing to answer.

90’ Six minutes of added time.

85’ CROATIA SUBSTITUTIONS Mislav Orsic in for Ivan Perisic, Mario Pasalic replaces Luka Modric and Lovro Majer is in for Mateo Kovacic.

85’ Yellow cards issued to both Kamal Miller and Luka Modric.

82’ We belong.

79’ Milan Borjan keeping the hope alive for Canada at the moment.

75’ All of Canada right now:

72’ CANADA SUBSTITUTION Sam Adekugbe comes in for Atiba Hutchinson.

72’ CROATIA SUBSTITUTION Nikola Vlasic comes in for Andrej Kramaric.

72’ CANADA SUBSTITUTION Lucas Cavallini replaces Jonathan David, who was rather quiet in the second half.

70’ :(

69’ GOAL CROATIA An excellent cross from Ivan Perisic finds Andrej Kramaric in the box who finds the back of the net!

66’ The CBC coming in HOT!

65’ Waiting for Canada to go full hold-my-poutine.

63’ Canada needs to make more of the free kick situations.

62’ CANADA SUBSTITUTION Junior Hoilett comes in for Richie Laryea. Good game from Laryea all around.

61’ CROATIA SUBSTITUTION Bruno Petkovic in for Marko Livaja.

57’ Is that a tampon in Hutchinson’s nose??

56’ Croatia’s Dejan Lovren shown a yellow card.

56’ Excellent chance from Jonathan David has his shot saved by the Croatian keeper.

54’ Milan Borjan with a tremendous save to deny Andrej Kramaric! Canada leaning heavily on their experienced keeper.

52’ Tajon Buchanan is shown a yellow card for his tackle.

49’ Jonathan Osorio makes his presence known as he rifles a shot which unluckily swerves inches past the left post. Oso close!

45’ CANADA SUBSTITUTION: Jonathan Osorio and Ismaël Koné in for Stephen Eustaquio and Cyle Larin.

45’ Second half underway. Let’s go Canada!

HT - After an early lead with Davies scoring the first-ever goal for Canada at the World Cup, Canada trail Croatia 2-1 at the half. Leave your thoughts in the comments!

45+5’ Someone bring Borjan his sweatpants!

45+2’ Canada’s midfield looking very vulnerable.

45’ MOOD

44’ GOAL CROATIA! Marko Livaja gives Croatia a 2-1 lead with a clear shot on goal.

42’ David needs to get on the ball more. Croatia’s midfield is pushing Hutchinson farther back.

41’ Game is halted for a brief minute as Stephen Eustaquio picks up a knock letting the physio come in. It may be a minor injury but looks like he is able to continue.

38’ Canada’s right side is being eaten up by Ivan Perisic. Johnston getting back and doing everything he can to prevent an attack is leading to more space in between Canada’s defence.

37’ GOAL CROATIA! Andrej Kramaric equalizes and we have a tie game!

35’ Marko Livaja drills a shot towards the Canadian goal, but Borjan pulls off an easy save.

33’ Tajon Buchanan, not only can he attack, he can also defend, too!

32’ Davies swings in a free kick, but is unable to find any teammates in the box. But Davies has been on FIRE today.

29’ There’s more goals to come for sure. End to end stuff with questionable defending from both sides.

25’ Andrej Kramaric puts the ball in the back of the net, but the goal is ruled offside. Canada has to tighten up at the back.

22’ Croatia’s Marko Livaja comes close to scoring, but directed his shot straight at the Canadian goalkeeper.

20’ Poor defending leads to a Davies counter-attack, but he is unable to get a cross in to his teammates.

17’ Perišić steals the ball in Canada’s box and goes down easily, ref blows for a foul against the Croatian.

15’ Canada playing excellent football thus far. Cyle Larin with another opportunity in the box but one of the Croatian defenders clears it away.

13’ - FACTS.

10’ - Love this.

9’ - Cyle Larin tries to get on the end of a ball, but is flagged offside. Excellent chance.

7’ - Still trying to grasp in this moment we now live in. Alphonso Davies = national hero. Wow.

4’- Canada continuing to attack.

2’ - GOAL! CANADA Alphonso Davies knocks in a header!! OMG! First goal for the Canadian men’s national team at a World Cup!

1’ - Here we go!

10:56 am EST - OH CANADA! I get chills every time they play this on the world stage.

10:50 am EST - Ready to make history. Let’s go Canada!

10:46 am EST - A part of our Canadian heritage.

10:41 am EST - Canadian anthem outside the stadium in Doha. We’ve come a long way.

10:16 am EST - DONEIL HENRY SIGHTING! Looks like he’ll stand with Herdman along the sidelines today.

9:50 am EST - Hutchinson makes his 100th appearance for his country!

9:45 am EST - CANADA’s starting XI is HERE! Only one change: Cyle Larin in for Junior Hoilett.

9:38 am EST - Canada cannot afford to lose today.

9:35 am EST - The stage is set. Canada’s biggest game to date.


Starting XIs

CANADA:

CROATIA:


Match Preview via Adam Palermo

The Canadian men’s national team has never not lost at the FIFA World Cup. Four matches, four losses. Six goals conceded, zero scored. Sunday’s match against Croatia can change all of that. It has to if Canada are to live to fight another day in Group F.

After a disappointing loss to Belgium in which Canada was the better of the two sides for large portions of the match, the Canucks must now avoid defeat if they are to have any hope of advancing out of their group.

No matter the result of Sunday’s other Group F encounter between Belgium and Morocco, if Canada lose to Croatia they will be mathematically eliminated from competing in the knockout stage before they even take the pitch against the Atlas Lions on December 1st.

Canada head coach John Herdman has stolen almost all of the headlines in advance of kickoff after his fiery post match interview, and the response from the Croatian media.

Perhaps it’s all part of the plan à la José Mourinho. Or perhaps the massive occasion got the better of Canada’s usually calculated leader. Regardless, Les Rouges need to turn a positive performance against Belgium into a positive result against Croatia.

Herdman noted that he has a “full roster to choose from” in his pre-match media availability on Saturday, maybe a subtle hint that there could be some changes to the lineup.

Canada’s typical 3-4-2-1 matched up well against Belgium’s back three, but Croatia poses a different shape and challenge.

Though the personnel has changed, the system remains the same from Croatia’s run to the 2018 World Cup final. Zlatko Dalić almost always lines up the Vatreni with four defenders and a three-man midfield, looking to dominate time on the ball and utilize the strength of their midfield to pass their way through the opposition. Expect to see the trio of Marcelo Brozović, Mateo Kovačić and Luka Modrić in the middle of the park at the Khalifa International Stadium.

Croatia’s recent form highlights the fact that they are a side which attacks efficiently and defends resolutely. The Balkan nation hasn’t conceded more than one goal in a match in their last seven outings, with four clean sheets along the way. That run includes two wins against Denmark, as well as a win and a draw against the French. Joško Gvardiol, one of the best young defenders in the game, will likely start alongside the veteran Dejan Lovren in the heart of the Croatian defence.

The attacking output has been more of a worry for Croatia, especially following their goalless draw with Morocco. Croatia held most of the possession and sprayed passes around endlessly, but couldn’t finish their limited chances.

There are some question marks surrounding who Dalić should start at striker. Andrej Kramarić struggled against Morocco, with the Hoffenheim forward having scored just once in his last six international appearances. It wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see Bruno Petkovic get the nod up top as he can excel with his back to goal.

After taking the game to Belgium, it will be interesting to see Canada’s game plan in this next match. Croatia will demand to be on the ball more than the Belgians did, but in need of a result, Herdman may push his side to press high up the pitch once more.

A change in shape could be in the offing for Canada if Herdman feels the need to match the four defender formation of Croatia. The system seen against Belgium may change to a classic 4-4-2. Sam Adekugbe could step in at left-back, with Cyle Larin playing from the start beside Jonathan David as Canada aims for their first-ever World Cup goal.

Herdman rarely selects three central midfielders and a World Cup match doesn’t seem like the time to tinker too much with tactics. Stephen Eustáquio may have to be a bit more conservative as he keeps tabs on Luka Modrić. Alphonso Davies and Tajon Buchanan should be given plenty of freedom to get high up the wings.

One matchup to look out for will be Alistair Johnston versus Ivan Perisic on Canada’s right. Croatia lack a natural winger on their right, so much of their attacking play goes through the Spurs wide man. His speed and craft will need to be accounted for. Johnston was solid against Belgium and the Celtic-linked defender will need to be alert once again.

Sunday’s match kicks off at 11a.m. ET and can be watched on TSN.


Match Details

Oponent: Croatia

Kickoff time: 11:00 am EST

Watch: TSN/CTV

Stadium: Khalifa International Stadium (Doha)