Belgium will play their second World Cup group stage game this Sunday when they face Morocco at the Al Thumama Stadium.
Venue: Al Thumama Stadium (Doha)
Belgium have won their last eight group-stage games at the World Cup.
They have not conceded before the 25th minute in any of their last 16 internationals (W8, D3, L5).
Belgium have kept just two clean sheets in their last eight games.
Morocco are unbeaten in their last eight games (W5, D3).
They have not conceded a goal in their last five games.
World Cup trivia: Morocco became the first African team to top a World Cup group when they did so in 1986.
Head to head
Morocco have one win and two losses in three meetings against Belgium.
Latest performances in all competitions
Belgium dug their heels deep to grind out a narrow 1-0 win over Canada last time out at the Ahmed bin Ali Stadium and will be looking to make it two wins in a row when they take on North African side Morocco.
The Belgians started the game against the Canadians on the back foot, with the energy and intensity of a young Canadian team causing Roberto Martinez’s side all sorts of problems. Chiefly of all was Bayern Munich star Alphonso Davies who cut through the Belgian team like a knife through butter on numerous occasions.
After bombarding the Belgian defence with a barrage of attacks, Canada got presented with an opportunity to take the lead from the penalty spot following a foul on Taejon Buchanan. However, Alphonso Davies failed to beat Thibaut Courtois from the resulting spot-kick.
However, the save by Thibaut Courtois did little to spur his teammates on as they continued to allow John Henderson’s boys too much freedom to come at them as they searched for a goal.
Belgium were lucky to have two controversial referee decisions go in their favour, as Canada had two legitimate penalty calls waved away by referee Janny Sikazwe, who refused to review the incident with the VAR as the halftime whistle approached.
Despite being on the back foot for most of the first half, the Red Devils broke the deadlock courtesy of a Michy Batshuayi strike just before the halftime break.
The second half continued similarly as Canada pushed for an equaliser; however, the damage had already been done, with Thibaut Courtois also coming up with a string of neat saves to keep the Belgian team ahead.
Belgium come into this game in the first position in Group F following the draw between Croatia and Morocco. Head coach Roberto Martinez will be keen to see his side pick up another win when they take on Morocco at the Al Thumama Stadium on Sunday afternoon to remain top of Group F and maintain their 100 per cent record.
Possible Belgium starting line-up
Thibaut Courtois, Toby Alderweireld, Leander Dendoncker, Jan Vertonghen, Timothy Castagne, Youri Tielemans, Axel Witsel, Yannick Ferrera-Carrasco, Kevin De Bruyne, Eden Hazard, Michy Batshuayi.
Romelu was only ever going to be available for the third game (against Croatia) and we will carry on with that, but he is ahead of where he should be…
He has trained twice now with the group and the signs are very good. We have to see how he reacts today at training. I don’t expect him to be involved (against Morocco), he is still not 100% at this time.Roberto Martinez on Romelu Lukaku
Conversely, Morocco opened up their 2022 World Cup account with a draw against Croatia.
There were just a handful of attempts on target from both teams in a match played in searing desert heat despite the best efforts of the air-conditioned Al Bayt Stadium, 50km north of Doha.
The Atlas Lions were guilty of a slow and unentertaining display in the opening minutes, with both sides settling for a cautious approach rather than going all out in search of a win.
However, both teams started to open up as the game progressed, with both defences staying sharp to snuff out any potential danger, with the first half ending in a 0-0 draw.
Both teams continued to search for the breakthrough as the second half returned, but again, the defensive organisation of both sides proved infallible on the day.
Morocco have proved to be one of the most difficult sides to beat in world football of late and have now lost just two of their last 41 games across three years. Head coach Hoalid Regragui will be keen to see his side convert their chances this time while still maintaining their defensive organisation when they take on Group F favourites Belgium.
Morocco face a daunting task coming up against Roberto Martinez’s second-ranked team in the world. Still, encouraged by their encouraging performance against Croatia and the potentiality of taking the top spot with a win, The Atlas Lions will be out to give it their best when they lock horns at the Al Thumama Stadium.
Possible Morocco starting line-up
Yassine Bounou, Achraf Hakimi, Nayef Aguerd, Romain Saiss, Yahia Attiat-Allah, Azzedine Ounahi, Sofyan Amrabat, Selim Amallah, Hakim Ziyech, Youssef En-Nesyri, Sofiane Boufal.
Doubtful: Noussair Mazraoui
For any dual national… they have a special emotion and that’s a positive energy and you have to draw on that..
But it is a match that we need to win (irrespective) of who we are playing. We have to focus on that.
We know that this is a special match for them, but we have to put that into context. You cannot get too emotional because that could lead you to make mistakes. And that could be very expensive for us.
Belgium are favourites, they have outstanding players and an excellent coach… They have great players even on the bench. They have experience… it will be a tough game…Morocco boss Walid Regragui on match against Belgium
|Belgium to win
|Morocco to win
Belgium 0-0 Morocco