Croatia vs Canada: Match Preview | FIFA World Cup 2022

By ballprogression
7 Min Read

Canada were hard done by Belgium and eventually lost 1-0 in a thrilling encounter in which Canada had every right to take home the 3 points. A Davies penalty miss proved to be costly in the end as Batshuayi took his chance from a De Bruyne long ball in the 44th minute. 

On the other side of the group, Morocco and Croatia played a game with very few quality chances. Morocco sat deeper more often but Croatia looked sleepy all game long with their biggest chance coming through Vlasic who couldn’t quite pounce on a cross. Morocco have shown they’re here to fight for their place. 

Canada’s coach John Herdman had some interesting comments after their game: “I told them they belong here and we’re going to go and eff – Croatia,” Herdman said with a smile in FIFA’s official post-game pitchside interview. “That’s as simple as it gets.”

Croatian coach Zlatko Dalic said everybody has their own way of communicating. 

“I’m not sure how nice it is to say something like that but it’s his right. I think we need to show on the pitch that we’re better.”

However, Herdman clarified his comments and toned down on Thursday. Media, of course, brought up the subject immediately at the next press conference. 

“Did you really say after last night’s match that you were going to F-word Croatia? And if you did, is that underestimating … Croatia as runner-up of (the) last World Cup?”

Herdman did not back down, but was more diplomatic this time around.

“Great question,” he said. “And yeah, I did. You say those things in an impassioned moment, trying to inspire your team in a huddle. And when you’re asked the question what you said in that huddle, yeah, it was what I said.

“It’s not massively respectively to (the) Croatian people and the Croatian national team. I understand very well where they’re at on the world stage. But in that moment, you’ve taken your men to that next place. You’ve taken your team to that next place — that we’re here to be fearless and to bring everything we’ve got to that game.”

“I mean no disrespect to the Croatian team and Croatian people, but at the end of the day it’s a mindset that Canada’s going to have if we’re going to have three points against one of the top teams in the world. And it’s the mindset that we took to Belgium. We have to. It’s part of ‘New Canada.” (Sportsnet.CA)

This match will mark the first time that Canada and Croatia have ever faced each other in any competition. The teams have never met in a friendly either.

Canada form (all competitions): L W D L W.

Croatia form (all competitions): D W W W W

When & Where?

Date: November 27, 2022.
Time: 16:00 GMT / 11:00 ET / 08:00 PT.
Venue: Khalifa International Stadium; Doha, Qatar.

Team News

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Canada have no injury worries.


West Ham winger Nikola Vlasic had to come off in the last game with an injury concern with the injury thought to be minor. He’s unlikely to take part in this game though.

Tactical Setup

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Canada went with a 3-4-3 against Belgium and they looked great, especially in the first half. The result really doesn’t tell the whole story and Belgium didn’t look like their dominant selves at all. Canada surprised plenty of people, including myself and they can be proud of that game, no matter the result. Guess which of the two is Canada? YEP.

0.76 Expected Goals (xG) 2.61
9 Total shots 22
1 Big chances 3
0 Big chances missed 3

Davies looked dangerous but the team looked like a TEAM. They could cause all types of problems for Croatia if they don’t find a way to keep Davies’ marauding runs at bay. Davies changes positions often too, depending on the game state.


Croatia are likely to keep their original lineup with a 4-3-3 formation. Expect them to look for crossing opportunities again through Sosa especially. Croatia took a while to get into the game with few half chances here and there with a Perisic long shot, Vlasic toe poke into the keeper and a Lovren sliding shot the highlights of their chances. Morocco’s biggest chance of the game came through Mazraoui who tried to head the ball in past Livakovic in an awkward position, injuring himself in the process. 

Croatia came alive any time Modric came deeper to orchestrate while Brozovic looked sluggish and not sharp as usual with a few turnovers in dangerous positions. Perisic was quiet for most of the game, Croatia have to find a way to get him isolated out wide.

Will Croatia shake off the slow start against Canada? They have to up the level if they want to go through, this game is huge for both teams. 

Predicted XIs

Croatia starting 11 (4-3-3): Livakovic; Juranovic, Lovren, Gvardiol, Sosa; Modric, Brozovic, Kovacic; Pasalic, Kramaric, Perisic.

Canada Starting 11 (3-4-3): Borjan; Johnston, Vitoria, Miller; Laryea, Eustaquio, Hutchinson, Davies; Buchanan, David, Hoilett.

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