Canada v Morocco
As quickly as it began, Canada’s first World Cup in 36 years is coming to an end on Thursday night in Qatar, after back-to-back defeats saw them become the second team to be eliminated from the 2022 World Cup.
The long-time absentees will finish their World Cup on Thursday against Morocco, who arrive on the back of a historic 2-0 win against Belgium, only their third ever win at the World Cup, Morocco will go into the last match of the group-stage full of confidence. But Group F is far from decided yet ahead of the final matchday.
Considering how well Canada played in its opening loss to Belgium, followed by a few spells against Croatia, they will be keen on finishing the tournament on a high. After all, to come away from another World Cup without a single point would be disappointing.
But as Morocco have proven through two games, they’ll be just as tricky as the other two opponents Canada have faced. Both sides are similar in that they have organized defences, speed out wide and a lot of youth.
For Morocco, at least one point against Canada and they progress regardless of what happens in the other bout. While the draw against the former finalists was quite dull, they increasingly showcased their attacking capabilities against Belgium, especially on attacking set-pieces where they put the ball in the back of the net twice.
Walid Regragui’s side have arguably been one of the tournament’s surprises packages so far, especially considering the calibre of opponents they have taken points off. Now it’s about doing the job and the coach reiterated in the pre-match presser that Canada cannot be underestimated, playing for their very first World Cup points.
In terms of personnel, goalkeeper Yassine Bounou is back in full training after needing replacement just before kick-off against Belgium. He started to feel unwell during national anthems but has recovered and should start between the sticks.
Achraf Hakimi had to come off for the second time, again due pain in his thigh. It will be interesting to see whether or not he’s rested against Canada. Apart from that, we should expect to see many of the same faces, who have done incredibly well until this stage.
Amrabat is incredibly important to the Moroccan national team, playing as a number 6 in Regragui’s 4-3-3. This puts a lot of defensive responsibility on his shoulders, often covering for the two other midfielders higher up the pitch.
In Serie A this season he has accumulated seven yellow cards so far, which is more than any other player in the league. This comes from a large number of fouls, averaging almost 2 a match domestically. He was also booked in the World Cup opener and has made two and three fouls respectively in Qatar.
Against the quick attackers of Canada, you would expect Amrabat to have plenty to do off the ball and though he will try to avoid another booking, it’s very likely that he pushes the referee to at least give him a warning.
Redemption, thy name is Alphonso Davies.
Although the result didn’t go Canada’s way, Davies showed why he’s so adept at recovering from potentially crippling moments by scoring Canada’s first World Cup goal in history.
Davies would’ve had at least two goal involvements at the World Cup if not for the saved penalty, plus he registered three key passes versus Belgium so he’s clearly active enough.
Given how involved he’s been in Canada’s attack through two games, it’s practically a foregone conclusion that if the Canadians score, Davies will be involved one way or another. He’s had a shot on target in both his outings so far, I’m backing him to make it three from three.
Another player who has been lively for Canada is Tajon Buchanan.
Buchanan might not grab the headlines that Davies does, but he’s become just as vital a piece as David.
That includes the end product. Buchanan has averaged more than two shots per 90 minutes when he starts for Canada, so it’s a fair assumption that the 23-year-old will register at least that many attempts versus Morocco.
It’ll be tough given Morocco’s stingy defence at the World Cup thus far, but that may not stop Buchanan from having a speculative hit from distance.
Written by an Andy verified content writer
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