World Cup: Croatia-Belgium Preview

By Aydin Reyhan
Presse Sports-USA TODAY Sports

The first time that Croatia and Belgium faced off brought about a one-all draw from Brussels. That WC Qualifier made us wonder if Belgium tied their toughest opponent at home, would they be able to win their group? The answer to that is a simple yes.

That game was the only draw that the Belgians played out while they won the rest of their qualifiers thus far – they are 7-0-1. Now, they sit five points ahead of second-placed Croatia at 22 points. If they manage a draw in Zagreb, they will win the group with a single match to spare.

The Belgians were hoping to receive a positive answer from a rising 18-year-old winger, Adnan Januzaj, to accept their invitation to join their international ranks. However, he decided to decline the invitation due to his request for more time to ponder which country his heart has the desire to play for.

Besides him, the Belgians are stacked and together they are playing some of their best soccer ever. Eden Hazard, Marouane Fellaini and Romelu Lukaku can hit this team to victory.

At the other end, the Croatians should be led by midfielder Ivan Rakitic who is playing some of most inspired soccer in Spain with Sevilla. There, he masterminded an overall performance against Barcelona which proved that he has what it takes to lead a team by motivating himself and others around him.

Croatia may have to settle for second, but the last time this happened they destroyed Turkey 3-0 in the play-off series to reach the EURO 2012 Group Stage. This team plays smart and strong soccer which will make them extremely difficult to defeat.

Prediction: Croatia 2, Belgium 2 — These sides will both create chance,s and while we think the home side is winning, the visitors will find an equalizer with some minutes to spare to guarantee leadership of the group.

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