Croatia came from behind to knock Canada out of the World Cup with a 4-1 victory in
their Group F clash.
Alphonso Davies opened the scoring for Canada after just two minutes – with their
first-ever World Cup goal at the fifth attempt – but two goals from Andrej Kramaric
either side of a Marko Livaja effort turned the game on its head. Substitute Lovro
Majer then added a late fourth.
It left Canada pointless and heading home already ahead of their final group game
against Morocco, with their first venture in the tournament since the 1986 edition in
Mexico being brought to a premature end.
For Croatia, it left them top of the group, knowing now that a point in their final
game against Belgium on Thursday will be enough to see them progress.
Canada’s big moment finally came after two minutes. Davies had seen a penalty saved
in their opening defeat against Belgium, but he wasn’t to be denied again as he rose
in the box to power home a header from Tajon Buchanan’s cross – notching the
fastest goal of the World Cup so far.
There were question marks over Croatia’s energy levels after their draw against
Morocco, but they showed all their experience to turn the game around before the
First it was Kramaric on 37 minutes, who latched onto a smart reverse pass from Ivan
Perisic before finding the far corner from a tight angle. Then it was Livaja just before
the break, as he picked up a pass from Josip Juranovic before driving a low pinpoint
finish inside the near post from the edge of the box.
On 70 minutes, Kramaric scored again to put the result beyond doubt, bringing down
a cross from Perisic with a fine touch, before sending a low effort into the bottom
And in stoppage-time the icing was added firmly to the cake for Croatia as a mistake
from Kamal Miller allowed Mislav Orsic a free run on goal, before he squared for
Majer to roll the ball into an empty net.
Kramaric will take the headlines for his brace yet it was Mateo Kovacic’s energy and
endeavour that dragged Croatia back into this game. Early on it looked as if they
wouldn’t be able to live with the legs of Canada, but his ball-winning efforts and
driving runs turned the game in his side’s favour.
Outshone for so long for his country in a midfield alongside Luka Modric and the
now-retired Ivan Rakitic, it was a superb display.