Croatia vs Canada 4-1: Kramaric Brace Sends Canadians Home

Croatia taught Canada a lesson in matchday 2 of the World Cup Group F as Luka Modric and co put four goals past the North Americans.

Canada thus bid farewell to the competition after two games only, despite a courageous display against Belgium and a lightning fast goal from Alphonso Davies tonight that gave them a sweet albeit short illusion.

Zlatko Dalic’s Croatia took 25 minutes to organize themselves but, as soon as they found their momentum, they got control of the match and never let it go, punishing the North Americans more than they deserved. Andrej Kramaric bagged a brace, while Marko Livaja also shone upfront. Lovro Majer’s final goal came during added time, when Canada had just dropped the ball.

Today’s hammering of Canada put the Vatreni in a favorable position ahead of matchday 3 as they will need just one point against Belgium to secure their qualification to the knockout stage.

By looking at the scorecard, the game might look like it was a walk in the park for Croatia, but their start was shocking: with two minutes on the clock, Tajon Buchanan crossed the ball in from the right and Bayern Munich’s Davies headed the ball home as the Croatian backline was caught by surprise. 

It was the first goal ever scored in a World Cup by Canada, whose only previous participation in the tournament dated back to 1986.

At that point, Dalic’s side might have easily lost their concentration but their reaction was calm and composed. Croatia slowly built up their play and eventually the gap in the skills became evident and led to the Croats turning the tides in the first half already. The Vatreni‘s backbone is the same that lost in the Final four years ago but that’s still enough to make a difference against a Canadian side that appeared tenacious but still green.

After they had a goal disallowed for offside, Croatia found their equalizer with a sharp left foot shot from Kramaric, well served by Ivan Perisic in the occasion. On 44 minutes, former Serie A man Livaja made it two from a Josip Juranovic assist.     

The Canada coach John Herdman made some changes after the restart as he showed he still believed in a comeback. Initially, it seemed to work as substitute Jonathan Osorio drilled the ball a few inches wide of the net, while Jonathan David called goalie Dominik Livakovic to action, forcing him to push his conclusion above the crossbar. 

Canada’s goalkeeper Milan Borjan also had some work to do but could only delay the inevitable. His answer to a Kramaric shot was fantastic and frustrated a beautiful team effort powered by Marcelo Brozovic and Modric.

Croatia made it three on 70 minutes as Perisic worked the ball on the left flank and crossed it for Kramaric, who drove it into the far corner of the goal after dribbling past one opponent.   

The North Americans did not give up and kept looking at least for a second goal but received a severe punishment during stoppage time, when a gigantic blunder from Kamal Miller ignited Croatia’s fast break and Majer’s final goal. 



November 27, 2022 – FIFA World Cup Group F

SCORERS: 2′ Davies (Ca), 36′ Kramaric (Cr), 44′ Livaja (Cr), 70′ Kramaric (Cr), 94′ Majer

CROATIA (4-3-3): Livakovic; Juranovic, Lovren, Gvardiol, Sosa; Modric (86′ Majer), Brozovic, Kovacic (86′ Pasalic); Kramaric (73′ Vlasic), Livaja (60′ Petkovic), Perisic (86′ Orsic) (Ivusic, Grbic, Barisic, Budimir, Erlic, Jakic, Stanisic, Sucic, Sutalo) Coach: Dalic
CANADA (4-4-2): Borjan; Johnston, Vitoria, Miller, Laryea (62′ Hoilett); Buchanan, Hutchinson (73′ Adekugbe), Eustaquio (46′ Koné), Davies; Larin (46′ Osorio), David (73′ Cavallini) (Pantemis, St Clair, Cornelius, Fraser, Kaye, Millar, Piette, Ugbo, Waterman, Wotherspoon) Coach: Herdman
REFEREE: Mr. Matonte Cabrera (Uruguay)
NOTES: Yellow Cards: Lovren, Modric (Cr), Buchanan, Miller (Ca); Added Time: 1st Half 5′, 2nd Half 6′
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