After a fascinating and pretty unexpected Day 3 of the 2022 World Cup that saw giant Argentina losing 2-1 to minnow Saudi Arabia and underdogs Tunisia drawing to Denmark, we now head into Day 4 of the biggest competition in the world.
Morocco vs Croatia
Time: 5 am ET
Location: Lusail Stadium — Lusail, Qatar
FIFA World Ranking: 22 vs 12
Croatia kicks off their campaign with a tough fixture against AFCON quarter-finalists Morocco who are a difficult team to break down. The finalists of WC 2018 will most likely have most of the ball possession, but the magical Luka Modric may find it difficult to connect with the attacking options around him to unlock the Moroccan defense. This side possesses some insanely talented players like Romain Saïss, Achraf Hakimi and Hakim Ziyech, and manager Walid Regragui’s men are undefeated in seven too.
Prediction: 0 – 0
Germany vs Japan
Time: 8 am ET
Location: Education City Stadium — Al Rayyan, Qatar
FIFA World Ranking: 11 vs 24
The Germans are a force to be reckoned with, and may be going under the radar given their latest performances and results. However, let’s not forget they possess a world-class manager in Hansi Flick, who has been part of a German side that lifted the WC trophy previously, and he won the treble with Bayern too. The Germans do lack an out-and-out lethal striker and are a bit unstable at the backline, but they do have talented and pacey players such as the young Jamal Musiala who can be a key player for them this campaign. Plus, their previous exit in the group stages in 2018 will motivate them in this World Cup. But with two wins in their previous eight, Japan will certainly have their say on this. This Japanese team has lost only three of its previous 17 fixtures in all competitions, so they have something going on their side too.
Prediction: 2 – 1
Spain vs Costa Rica
Time: 11 am ET
Location: Stadium 974 — Doha, Qatar
FIFA World Ranking: 7 vs 31
Another team that is not grabbing many headlines is the almighty Spain, who reached the Euro 2020 semi-finals but lost to eventual winners Italy in penalties. Luis Enrique certainly has a good idea of what he wants from the players who are playing regularly for him by now, so this seems like a game of possession. Spain should have chances as Costa Rica do find it difficult to cope with pressure against the big sides. However, the Central Americans have conceded 2+ goals only twice in their previous 14 fixtures, so they do have a pretty solid backline. I’m not sure if it will be enough to contain the Spanish players for 90 minutes plus extra added time though.
Prediction: 3 – 0
Belgium vs Canada
Time: 2 pm ET
Location: Al Wakrah Sports Club — Al Wakrah, Qatar
FIFA World Ranking: 2 vs 41
The golden generation of Belgium is certainly fading away, but they do stand second in the FIFA rankings and it’s now time for them to prove a point in this WC campaign. Similar to Croatia’s Luka Modric narrative, Belgium’s hope really depends on Manchester City’s playmaker Kevin de Bruyne. KDB’s national side lacks the attacking firepower that is available to him in England, however. Canada has some quality players this time around with Bayern Munich star Alphonso Davies and Lille striker Jonathan David, but that might not be enough to handle this Belgium side.
Prediction: 2 – 0
What are your predictions for Day 4? Do you fancy any upsets? Please let us know your thoughts in the comments below!