Canada's Return To The World Cup After A 36-year Absence And Other Highlights From Day Four In Qatar
This includes Kevin De Bruyne of Belgium and Luka Modric of Croatia. Meanwhile, Canadian soccer fans are getting close to the end of a long wait as their national team will be competing in the tournament for the first time in more than three decades.
Many of the sport's rising stars have already made their mark on the competition, including Cody Gakpo for the Netherlands, Timothy Weah scoring for the United States Men's National Team, and Jude Bellingham scoring for England.
On that same day as well, a large number of up-and-coming artists, including Germany's Jamal Musiala and Spain's Pedri, as well as a host of other young talents, will demonstrate their abilities.
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But in the first match of the day, which will take place at the Al Bayt Stadium, it will be all about experience as Croatia takes on Morocco. Croatia was a finalist in the 2018 World Cup, and Morocco is one of the older teams competing in the tournament.
The crafty trio of Modri, Mateo Kovai, and Marcelo Brozovi will try their best to take control of the match against a Morocco team led by Walid Regragui, who was just recently promoted to the position of head coach.
With their speed and movement, Chelsea star Hakim Ziyech, dynamic fullback Achraf Hakimi, and Noussair Mazraoui could create problems for an aging Croatian team.
Group E kicks off at the Khalifa International Stadium with a match between the defending champion Germany and Japan.
Although Germany's national team has had its share of highs and lows since it won the World Cup in Brazil eight years ago, the team that will represent Germany in Qatar is loaded with talent, the majority of which comes from the German giant club Bayern Munich.
And considering that former Bayern coach Hansi Flick is now in charge, it probably shouldn't come as a surprise that players like Leroy Sané, Serge Gnabry, and Leon Goretzka have been performing so well as of late.
Musiala, who has become a mainstay in the Bayern team this season, has the potential to be Germany's leading man in Qatar and is therefore a strong candidate to be the country's breakout player.
Germany will compete against the Japan team which features many players whose names are well-known to fans all over the world. Japan is a well-organized team with a number of well-established players, including Takehiro Tomiyasu of Arsenal and Kaoru Mitoma of Brighton, among others. Ritsu Dan of Frieburg and Takehiro Tomiyasu of Arsenal are two examples.
Due to the fact that Spain, the team that won the World Cup in 2010, is in the same group as both of these teams, and Spain plays Costa Rica later on Wednesday at the Al Thumama Stadium, it will be extremely important for both teams to earn three points.
A number of difficult years have passed for Spain since it won the World Cup in South Africa, and the nation will go into the upcoming tournament in Qatar relying on a combination of players from younger generations and more seasoned veterans.
Pedri, who is 19 years old, Gavi, who is 18 years old, and Sergio Busquets, who is 34 years old, are the most likely candidates to start in the team's midfield as Luis Enrique's men look to advance one step further than the semifinals they reached at the European Championships in 2017.
This will be the final opportunity for some of Costa Rica's all-time great players to compete for their country. Bryan Ruiz, who is 37 years old and the team captain, will be in charge of the squad, and experienced players Celso Borges and Keylor Navas may be playing in their last World Cup.
The final match takes place at the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium, with Belgium taking on Canada.
Belgium's campaign in Qatar, like Costa Rica's, is seen as the last chance for the country's so-called "golden generation."
Thibaut Courtois, Toby Alderweireld, Jan Vertonghen, Axel Witsel, De Bruyne, Eden Hazard, and Dries Mertens are all in their thirties and could be playing in their final World Cup. Striker Romelu Lukaku is expected to miss Belgium's first two group matches due to a hamstring injury.
Given the talent at its disposal, Belgium's results in major tournaments have been disappointing, with the 2016 shock defeat to Wales in the quarterfinals of the European Championships a particular disappointment.
So, with one last chance at glory, Belgium takes the field against the Canada team making its second World Cup appearance.
When Canada qualified for the World Cup earlier this year, it ended a 36-year drought. And, with the exuberance and excellence of Alphonso Davies and Jonathan David in attack, they could pose a threat to any team.
Midfielder Jonathan Osorio believes his team can surprise Belgium in its first game. Osorio said,
We want to show that we are a football nation, that we can compete with the best in the world. We want to surprise people because I think people still see us as underdogs. It’s the World Cup, they should just be happy to be here. But that’s not our mentality.
- Jonathan Osorio