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Can Morocco cause a World Cup upset against Belgium?

Morocco will have been encouraged by the Red Devils’ mediocre performance against Canada on Wednesday.

  • Who: Belgium vs Morocco, Group F
  • Where: Al Thumama Stadium, Doha
  • When: Sunday at 4:00 PM (1:00 PM GMT)
  • Head to Head: Belgium 2, Morocco 1
  • Rankings: Belgium 2, Morocco 22

The Atlas Lions take on the Red Devils at Al Thumama Stadium in Doha on Sunday in what is an important group stage game.

Leading up to the tournament, Belgium were the clear favorites in this game, but their lukewarm performance against Canada on Wednesday will have given Moroccan fans real hope that their team could cause a World Cup riot.

Belgium struggled to contain a dynamic, well-organized Canadian team, who earned at least a point out of the game, but ultimately failed to finish with a 1–0 defeat.

Despite being ranked second in the world by FIFA, the Red Devils have been in erratic form of late, taking a huge 6-1 win against Poland in the Nations League, only to lose 4-1 to the Netherlands in the next match.

How shiny is Belgium’s ‘golden generation’?

There are suggestions that this is the last hurray for Belgium’s golden generation. The age of players such as Real Madrid’s Eden Hazard is starting to show on the pitch during club and country campaigns.

This game could give a well-practiced, passionate Moroccan team a real chance to beat an increasingly inconsistent Belgian side.

The Atlas Lions’ first game against Croatia was a restrained affair that ended in a nil-nil draw. However, there were flashes of brilliance from Chelsea’s Hakim Ziyech and PSG’s Achraf Hakimi. The latter is doubtful for Sunday’s game after a thigh injury against Croatia.

Morocco Vs Croatia, Group C, 2022 Fifa World Cup, 23 November, Qatar [Showkat Shafi/ Al Jazeera]
Morocco drew 0-0 in their opening match against 2018 World Cup finalist Croatia [Showkat Shafi/ Al Jazeera]

A number of players of the Moroccan squad were born in Belgium, including Selim Amallah, who will probably start on the left wing.

Lukaku probably won’t start

Romelu Lukaku is expected to start on the bench for Belgium after recovering from a thigh injury that has limited his appearances for Inter Milan this season. Michy Batshuayi will lead the Red Devils after scoring the winner against Canada.

Noussair Mazraoui of Bayern Munich joins Hakimi on the injury list for Morocco after being stretched against Croatia.

Head To Head

Belgium beat Morocco 1–0 at the 1994 World Cup, the only time they have ever met at the tournament.

Canada and Croatia, the two other teams in Group F, will play against each other on Sunday.

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Jacky

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