World Cup Group F: Belgium and Croatia full of ageing stars looking for a final run

World Cup 2022 team-by-team guide


Manager: Roberto Martinez

World Cup history: 14th appearance. Best result – Third place in 2018

There is a feeling that Belgium’s time has passed. The golden generation are now largely aged 30 and above but in Thibaut Courtois and Kevin De Bruyne they still have two of the best players in the world and are no pushovers. Romelu Lukaku’s injury is a concern with the team reliant on him for goals.

Star man: Kevin De Bruyne. Maybe the best midfielder in the tournament and third in the recent Ballon d’Or standings, the Manchester City man is a fabulous footballer and a chance-creating extraordinaire.



Manager: Walid Regragui

World Cup history: Sixth appearance. Best result – Last 16 in 1986

Morocco will have some hope of matching their best World Cup and reaching the knockout stages in an evenly matched group. The return of Chelsea’s Hakim Ziyech, who had retired from the national team earlier this year but was convinced to come back, gives them more creative qualities.

Star man: Achraf Hakimi. One of the best right-backs in the world, the PSG defender is quick, strong and creative from wide areas.


Manager: John Herdman

World Cup history: Second appearance. Best result – Group Stage in 1986

Canada finally qualified for another World Cup after 36 years of waiting and having topped their Concacaf group, they will go in confident of upsetting the odds. A youthful side, they will have plenty of energy and hope for magic from key player Alphonso Davies.

Star man: Alphonso Davies. One of the most talented players to ever come from Canada, the Bayern Munich left-back will be one of the quickest players in the tournament.


Manager: Zlatko Dalić

World Cup history: Sixth appearance. Best result – Final in 2018

Losing finalists last time out, nobody expects Croatia to repeat the feat. But then nobody expected 2018 Golden Ball winner Luka Modric to be still ruling midfields at 37 for Real Madrid, but here we are. Impressive form heading into the tournament with four straight top division Nations League wins, they will be quietly confident.

Star man: Luka Modric. A five-time Champions League winner with Real Madrid and Ballon d’Or winner in 2018, can Modric inspire Croatia one last time to a deep run in the tournament?

David Gorman

David Gorman

David Gorman is a sports journalist with The Irish Times