Modric misses clear chance for Croatia; Canada debuts against Belgium

Saudi Arabia shocked the world Tuesday, beating Lionel Messi and Argentina 2-1 in Group C of the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Could another upset be brewing?

Returning to the World Cup for the first time in 36 years, Canada’s first task is a tall one against the likes of Kevin De Bruyne and Belgium. Croatia, the runners-up from the 2018 World Cup, is also in action, kicking off the morning against Morocco. Germany vs. Japan and Spain vs. Costa Rica round out the middle of Day 4.

Croatia’s Luka Modric, center, celebrates after scoring his side’s second goal during the Euro 2020 soccer championship group D match between Croatia and Scotland at the Hampden Park Stadium in Glasgow, Tuesday, June 22, 2021.(Robert Perry/Pool via AP))

Modric skies final attempt of the half

WIth a clear chance from a throw in, the ball fell to the lethal left foot of Modric. The midfielder had a direct shot on goal about 25 yards out, but his shot soared over the crossbar. He new he bottle a golden chance. The teams go into halftime scoreless.

The first half was evenly match, with plenty of intensity in the middle of the field, but the final product was missing from both sides. Croatia had a small edge on possession with 59% and the only shot on target.

Big save from Moroccan goalkeeper

The most threatening chance for either team came in stoppage time of the first half. For Croatia, Ivan Perisic started the attack. Borna Sosa crossed to Nikola Vlasic, but goalkeeper Yassine Bounou got in the way. Great save from the keeper in one of the first times he was truly called upon.

Strong Croatian midfield

In the kickoff of Group F play, Croatia begins its quest to build on that 2018 run when the country made it to the World Cup final but lost 4-2 to France.

Though a small country, Croatia has plenty of representation in soccer’s biggest leagues — especially in the midfield. Mateo Kovacic plays for Chelsea, Marcelo Brozovic starts for Inter Milan in Italy and Luka Modric is considered one of the greatest midfielders currently in the game. In 2018, he was the first player since 2007 not named Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo to win the Ballon D’or, an award for the best soccer player in the world.

Story continues

Meanwhile, Morocco makes its sixth tournament appearance, having only made it past the group stage once in 1986. Morocco is typically strong in the build up to the World Cup, but struggles once it’s there.

Don’t miss a game of the 2022 World Cup with USA TODAY Sports tracker

Want to watch every game of the U.S. men’s national team’s return, see what’s likely Lionel Messi’s last go with Argentina and Cristiano Ronaldo with Portugal or witness France’s title-defense run? Add matches to your calendar and keep up to date with the latest tournament news.

Morocco vs. Croatia — 5 a.m. 

Time: Wednesday, Nov. 23 at 5 a.m. ET

Stadium: Al Bayt Stadium

How to watch: FOX and Telemundo or stream on fuboTV and Peacock (Spanish)

Germany vs. Japan — 8 a.m.

Time: Wednesday, Nov. 23 at 8 a.m. ET

Stadium: Khalifa International Stadium

How to watch: FOX and Telemundo or stream on fuboTV and Peacock (Spanish)

Spain vs. Costa Rica — 11 a.m.

Time: Tuesday, Nov. 22 at 11 a.m. ET

Stadium: Al Thumama Stadium

How to watch: FOX and Telemundo or stream on fuboTV and Peacock (Spanish)

Belgium vs. Canada — 2 p.m.

Time:  Wednesday, Nov. 23 at 2 p.m. ET

Stadium: Ahmed bin Ali Stadium

How to watch: FOX and Telemundo or stream on fuboTV and Peacock (Spanish)

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Canada makes 2022 World Cup debut, while Croatia-Morocco open Day 4


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