Today our focus switches to Group F, a group that has the potential to be the group of death. Although Group E is considered the group to provide all the jaw-dropping scenarios, you can’t deny this set of four teams consisting of Belgium, Croatia, Morocco and Canada.
Belgium and Croatia are emerging powerhouses of European Football and the latter were the beaten finalists last term. Belgium, on the other hand, have a star-studded squad and can surprise anybody on their day. Along with them are Morocco and Canada- both hoping to make a mark on the grand stage of football and not shy of locking horns with the elite.
Today we will name five players in this who must be in your watchlist during the matches.
Achraf Hakimi (Morocco) (Club: PSG)
Since his move to PSG, Achraf Hakimi has been a revelation. The right-back is versatile and loaded with attributes. He can play in the midfield as well if required and his passing ability, dynamism and pace can be a real menace for other teams. The 24-year-old has scored 3 goals for PSG this season and will be hoping to replicate his attacking prowess in Qatar as well. Along with that, he is defensively sound, wins aerial duels regularly with his frame and cut the offensive passes on the wing. A player who can dribble, create chances with long balls and cross and an astute defender – Hakimi deserves to be someone to have an eye on.
Luka Modric (Croatia) (Club: Real Madrid)
Luka Modric is unequivocally regarded as the heart of the Croatian team. The crafty midfielder is like a fine wine, which gets better as it gets older. He will be operating from midfield and controlling the pace, and the whole mechanism of the Croatian approach in the matches. Modric, 37, is coming to the World Cup with a decent form for Real Madrid and will be pivotal in his country’s hopes. His leadership skill will also be important for the many young players in the squad, and if Croatia does well in this tournament, Modric is going to be at the nucleus of that.
Jonathan David (Canada) (Club: Lille)
Canada have returned to the biggest stage after a long gap. Their new generation has talents galore with the likes of Alphonso Davies, Tajon Buchanan, Ismael Kone, perhaps the biggest responsibility is on the legs on Lille’s Jonathan David.
Since his Canada debut in 2018, David has racked up 22 goals in 35 matches. He has scored 37 goals in the last two and half seasons in France and is destined to make a bigger move in the coming windows. A prolific striker with pace, the ability to take accurate shots and flair, David is regarded as the most important figure in this team and will be their man up front. More than 60% of his shots remain on target, beware of that defenders!
Kevin De Bruyne (Belgium) (Club: Manchester City)
Kevin De Bruyne has been underwhelming in the World Cup so far for Belgium. He has only 2 goals in 10 WC appearances from 2014 and this is the time to set the records straight. He is going to be the buzz of Belgium going forward. A player who has everything – passing, dribbling, creating chances, vision, a lethal shot – if the Manchester City star is in his zone, it can canter for the other teams. But will he be reaching his lofty potential in the grandest stage? That remains a huge question. With the likes of Romelu Lukaku and Michy Batshuayi in their squad, finishing off chances won’t be a big issue. He has 9 assists for Man City before the start of the World Cup and anything like that, Belgium will be unstoppable.
Leandro Trossard (Belgium) (Club: Brighton)
This name may come as a surprise to many. But someone following Premier League may just differ. Leandro Trossard can be the dark horse of this Belgium side. Trossard is mainly a forward who can be equipped as a number 10, on the left wing. That’s not it. He can play as a striker, at the left side of midfield, and if required, as a left-back!
So, with this level of versatility, Trossard becomes automatically a player to keep an eye on. With Eden Hazard going through a thin patch, we may see Trossard playing on the left hand side. He is a tricky customer who has excellent dribbling skills and technique, coupled with rapid pace and the ability to either pick a pass or take a shot. The 27-year-old will be playing his first World Cup this year.
Some more names on whom you must keep tabs-
Hakim Ziyech (Morocco), Jeremy Doku (Belgium), Mislav Orsic (Croatia), Josko Gvardiol (Croatia), Alphonso Davies (Canada), Youri Tielemans (Belgium)