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DOHA, Qatar – Belgium can tremble and Morocco can dream! Punished 2 to 0 by the Atlas Lions, now on favorable waivers for the round of 16, the Red Devils will play their qualification Thursday during a stressful shock against Croatia.
The Moroccans, winners thanks to goals from Sabiri (74th) and Haboukhlal (90+2) now have their destiny in their hands: four days before facing Canada, they total four units and can logically dream of joining the top-16 of the tournament.
Eden Hazard and his teammates, who had already shown great excitement on Monday despite a flattering success against Canada (1-0), are on the ropes, with only three units on the clock. A success could prove mandatory against the Croats, during a breathless duel between two teams in the last four of the 2018 edition.
Imperial on Wednesday against the Canucks, goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois was surprised by a free kick cleverly kicked at the near post by Abdelhamid Sabiri a quarter of an hour from time (73rd).
And the best goalkeeper in the world was again beaten in stoppage time, surprised by a recovery from Zakaria Aboukhlal (90th + 2).
The second nation in the Fifa rankings was also the victim of an attacking breakdown: Romelu Lukaku, spared after a left thigh injury in recent weeks, only entered the game ten minutes from time and did not weigh. on the game.
After their arduous but rewarding three-point inaugural performance, Belgium showed up at the Al Thumana Stadium with a revamped squad, with Carrasco, Dendoncker and Tielemans being sent back to the bench in favor of Castagne, Onana and Thorgan Hazard.
These changes made by Roberto Martinez initially seemed promising, his men dominating the start of the game by depriving their opponents of the ball.
Michy Batshuayi also called on Munir El Kajoui from the 5th minute, the Moroccan goalkeeper established at the last minute due to the withdrawal of the usual goalkeeper Yassine Bounou, yet present on the ground during the national anthems.
Eden Hazard, rather inspired, and his teammates did not however create a few frank situations in the first period (a header from Onana, 17th, and a strike from Meunier two minutes later).
And it was even the Moroccans who for a moment thought they had opened the scoring when a free kick kicked by Hakim Ziyech deceived Courtois in the 45th.
Requested by the VAR, the Mexican referee César Ramos however logically canceled the goal for an offside by Saïss.
This incursion, even sterile, gave confidence to the Maghreb team which played higher after returning from the locker room. Which had the gift of making the game a little more exciting.
Sofiane Boufal, with a wrapped shot that grazed the cage (57th), thus responded to a sequence from Eden Hazard (52nd).
A sign that Romain Saïss and his teammates were gradually taking over the game as the Belgians fell back into the traps of their match on Monday.
With an unfortunate result for some, appetizing for others.