2022 World Cup Preview: Belgium vs Morocco

Following a narrow victory against an inexperienced Canada team, Belgium will need to put on a convincing effort to defeat a tenacious Morocco.

Canada, who are competing in the World Cup for just the second time, gave the Red Devils a run for their money in their opening encounter. Belgium had to rely on Michy Batshuayi’s goal to get all three points, although the Canadians stretched them from every angle to make them uncomfortable. Thibaut Courtois was the hero, saving Alphonso Davies’ penalty to give the 2018 runners-up all three points.

Morocco’s low-scoring record at the World Cup was maintained when they held Croatia to a scoreless draw in their opening match. Morocco has only scored nine goals in 17 World Cup matches and will seek qualification by earning a point against the 2018 silver medalists. Before preparation for a match versus Canada, the Atlas Lions must first achieve a positive result when they play Belgium.

While a win for Belgium guarantees them a spot in the round of 16, it also makes them the only side in World Cup history to win nine straight group stage games.

The match will come off at the Al Thumama Stadium on November 27 at 13:00GMT.

FORM GUIDE (LAST FIVE MATCHES)

Belgium’s victory over Canada was their first in three matches. The Red Devils have now won three and lost two in their last five matches. Morocco are undefeated in their last five matches. They have won three and drawn two while conceding none in those games.

BELGIUM’S FORM

23 November 2022            Belgium       1-0        Canada              2022 World Cup Group F

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18 November 2022            Egypt           2–1      Belgium              International Friendly

25 September 2022           Netherlands 1–0      Belgium               UEFA Nations League

22 September 2022           Belgium       2–1       Wales                 UEFA Nations League

14 June 2022                    Poland         0–1       Belgium              UEFA Nations League

 

MOROCCO’S FORM

23 November 2022         Morocco        0-0          Croatia            2022 World Cup Group F

17 November 2022          Morocco       3–0         Georgia            Friendly

27 September 2022        Morocco        0–0         Paraguay          Friendly

23 September 2022         Morocco       2–0         Chile                Friendly

13 June 2022                  Liberia         0–2         Morocco            2023 AFCON qualification

 

HEAD TO HEAD

The clash will be the fourth meeting between the two sides. Belgium have won two of the three while Morocco have won one. The only meeting between the two sides at the World up happened in 1994 which Belgium recorded a slender victory.

19 Jun 1994                Belgium             1-0        Morocco               FIFA World Cup

07 Sep 1999               Belgium             4-0        Morocco                International Friendly

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26 Mar 2008               Belgium             1-4        Morocco                International Friendly

 

TEAM NEWS

BELGIUM

This fixture may arrive too early for Romelu Lukaku who is recovering from a thigh injury since October. Also, Thomas Meunier may get the start while Amadou Onana/ Youri Tielemans pairs Axel Witsel behind Kevin De Bruyne who is expected to supply Batshuayi. 

PREDICTED LINEUP

(3-4-2-1): Courtois; Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Dendoncker; Meunier, Onana, Witsel, Carrasco; De Bruyne, E. Hazard; Batshuayi

MOROCCO

Left-back Noussair Mazraoui was stretchered off in Morocco’s draw against Croatia and may be a doubt for the Atlas Lions. Wydad Casablanca full-back Yahia Attiyat-Allah could be on stand by if Noussair is not risked.

PREDICTED LINEUP

(4-3-3): Bounou; Hakimi, Aguerd, Saiss, Mazraoui; Ounahi, Amrabat, Amallah; Ziyech, En-Nesyri, Boufal