Belgium labored through their opening game of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar but mustered enough to overcome a dominant Canada on Match Day 1 in Group F. With three points after the opening game, Belgium top the group and will be looking to secure their place in the next round when they take on Morocco, who are joint second with Croatia on one point. Belgium, regarded one of the favorites to win the World Cup due to their spread of talent, had to rely on Thibaut Courtois’s brilliance in the 1-0 win over Canada as he made key saves, including stopping an early Alphonso Davies penalty. While they were outclassed, their experience enabled them to hold on for three points, with the all important goal scored by the increasingly reliable Michy Batshuayi. This was Batshuayi’s third goal in five matches and he will come into this game as a man in focus, especially given Romelu Lukaku could still be unavailable. The win over Canada was also Belgium’s only second clean sheet in 10 competitive matches, which raises concern about their defensive solidity. However, there’s no question about their ability in attack, having failed to score in just one of the last 10 competitive games.
Morocco have the chance to cause one of the big shocks at the 2022 World Cup. They had their moments against Croatia and they failed to make use of them as they drew 0-0. That was just an extension of how good they are defensively, and on the counter, as taking on the 2018 World Cup finalists and getting a point is never a mean feat. The North African nation comes into this game with five straight clean sheets and a run of six matches unbeaten. Five times in their last 10 matches, Morocco have scored two or more goals so they aren’t really badly off in attack and their strategy of working through the flanks mostly pays off. In competitive action they have registered six wins in the last 10 matches, and conceded more than a goal only twice in that run. Four of Morocco’s last five matches have produced under 2.5 goals.
Morocco haven’t scored in two of their last three matches and will hope that changes starting in this game. They’ve however registered clean sheets in their last five matches, though they haven’t been in a lot of high scoring games. Belgium, with all their prowess, have lately struggled in attack and here they will find another very defensive side. The two sides’ numbers in attack and defence point us to the likelihood of seeing under 2.5 goals in this game.
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