The gulf in the FIFA Rankings between Croatia in 12th and 41st-ranked Canada might indicate a comfortable outing for the Croats, but the opening round of fixtures suggests otherwise. Although Les Rouges drew a blank against Belgium, they had more touches inside their opponent’s box than Spain did in their 7-0 rout of Costa Rica. Canada’s star man Alphonso Davies saw his penalty saved, and nine of their team registered a shot. Croatia probably shaded their goalless draw with Morocco and can expect to have plenty of the ball in this game, having enjoyed 65% possession on Matchday 1.
There is likely to be a clash of styles between Canada’s dynamic, athletic side, set out in a 3-4-2-1 formation, and the more technically gifted Blazers, who are likely to employ a 4-3-3 set-up. Three of Croatia’s five World Cups have ended at the Group Stage, but the other two saw them finish as runners-up and in third place. A win in the first-ever meeting between these two nations would virtually guarantee them safe passage from the group, while their opponents will be looking to record a first-ever World Cup goal.