How Morocco could scale the Group Stage hurdles
The curtain will fall on Group F of the World Cup today as two inter-related matches are on the card.
Morocco will face already eliminated Canada at the Al Thumama Stadium,in Doha.
Similarly, Croatia and Belgium meet for the first time in a tournament setting to contest a place in the knockout phase of the FIFA World Cup 2022.
Croatia will secure a round-of-16 berth if they avoid defeat, while Belgium can only be sure of progressing with a victory.
If Morocco lose to already-eliminated Canada, it is possible that both these European teams could advance.
With defeats in their opening two FIFA World Cup 2022 matches, Canada are already out, but Morocco, who are second in the group on four points, are well placed to seize one of Group F’s two qualifying berths.
A draw will be enough to see them through as group runners-up – as will a defeat for Belgium against Croatia in the group’s other final fixture – while a win could see them secure top spot.
The countries’ respective captains, Atiba Hutchinson and Romain Saïss, are team-mates at Turkish club Beşiktaş.
Japan’s momentous 2-1 victory over Germany in their opening game was offset by a 1-0 defeat by Costa Rica, and they can only be certain of prolonging their stay at the FIFA World Cup 2022 if they win their final Group E fixture against Spain, who will go through if they avoid defeat and are guaranteed top spot if they win.
This is the first competitive meeting between the teams.
Germany, who have failed to win either of their first two FIFA World Cup group fixtures for the first time, prop up Group E, but if they beat Costa Rica by two or more goals, they can only be eliminated if Japan defeat Spain.
Costa Rica will go through if they beat Germany, or with a draw if Spain beat Japan.