Belgium’s ‘Golden Generation’ suffered a bitter end to their World Cup dreams as Croatia qualified to the last-16 round.
Croatia held Belgium to a goalless draw in their World Cup clash on Thursday. The Red Devils weren’t able to convert their chances against Croatia’s solid defence.
Croatia are in the knock-out stage!
The Belgians started off as the better side, trying to build their rhythm toward the winning goal.
However, Croatia repulsed most of their attacks successfully, looking for counter-attacking chances in the process.
Dries Mertens came the closest to scoring for Belgium, but his shot in the 14th minute went wide.
The situation nearly became worse for Belgium when the referee awarded Croatia a penalty later in the first half. However, a VAR convinced him to overturn his initial ruling.
Croatia also started the second period by looking for a breakthrough. However, crucial saves from Thibaut Courtois kept Belgium in the tournament.
The Red Devils increased the pressure on Croatia’s backline significantly after the hour-mark. But that only resulted in a host of missed opportunities by Romelu Lukaku.
The draw sent Croatia to the next round as the Group F runner-ups. Elsewhere in the group, Morocco completed their fantastic group-stage run by beating Canada 2-1.
Croatia: Livakovic (7); Juranovic (7), Lovren (6), Gvardiol (8), Sosa (7); Modric (8), Brozovic (7), Kovacic (6); Kramaric (6), Perisic (7), Livaja (6).
Bench: Majer (-), Petkovic (7), Pasalic, (6).
Belgium: Courtois (8); Alderweireld (7), Vertonghen (7), Meunier (7); Castagne (7), Witsel (6), Dendoncker (7); Carrasco (6), De Bruyne (7), Trossard (6), Mertens (6).
Bench: Lukaku (4), E. Hazard (5), T. Hazard (7), Tielemans (6).