Belgium gave everything to qualify in the second half of the game with Croatia, which ended in a goalless draw. The outcome removes the “red devils” from the World Cup.
The different moods experienced, these days, by Croatia and Belgium were evident in the starting eleven. If Zlatko Dalic didn’t change the Croatian possession machine, Roberto Martínez made four changes to a boiling Belgian team, which was coming from a crushing defeat against Morocco (2-0).
Starting the game prolonged that feeling. A little unnatural to their usual style, Croatia began to press hard, trying to provoke an error in an opponent who, not infrequently, seemed to be playing on hot coals.
At 15 minutes, Belgium froze. Kramaric was brought down in the area by Carrasco, but the penalty would end up reversed by a millimetric offside by Lovren, removed from the ruler and square by VAR.
The moment as if it called the two teams to earth, who postponed any and all risks for a much more lively second half.
Lukaku was released at half-time by Roberto Martínez, and his impact was soon felt. In the 48th minute, Inter Milan’s striker was very close to the goal, as in the 60th minute, when he hit the post, and in the 62nd minute, when, with the goal at his mercy, he headed over.
In between, Courtois experienced a minute of distress, stopping Kovacic and Modric’s shots with conviction, in the 54th minute.
In the last few minutes, Lukaku’s mistake in finishing came up again. In the 90th minute, the striker had the Belgian qualification on his chest, but, from close range, made a pass into the hands of Livakovic. Shortly afterwards, he saw Gvardiol take the “bread out of his mouth”, in a bid in the small Croatian area.
The 0-0 removes Belgium from the World Cup, while Croatia qualifies in second place, behind Morocco, who beat Canada 2-1.