Canada vs Morocco Prediction
1st December 2022
18:00 Qatar Time/15:00 GMT
Al Thumama Stadium, Doha
World Cup Head-to-Head Record
Canada vs Morocco Prediction Overview
Canada vs Morocco in the final round of matches in Group F sees an already-eliminated Canadian side face off against Morocco, who have several possibilities to qualify for the round of 16. Canada will feel somewhat disappointed that their attacking endeavours failed to yield a positive result during their opening two matches. They can consider themselves to have been incredibly unfortunate against Belgium as the consensus was that they were the better of the two sides. However, that 1-0 defeat coupled with a heavy 4-1 defeat to Croatia where they were somewhat naive in how open they were against a very competent team, means that one of the tournament’s most exciting teams will not feature in the knockout rounds.
Morocco will be delighted with their tournament so far, having earned a 0-0 draw against Croatia that in no way flattered them before despatching a star-studded yet ageing Belgium team 2-0 during which they made the very most of their limited possession and took the game to the Belgians at every opportunity. Morocco’s ambition with the ball was in stark contrast to the largely sterile possession of Belgium, and the Moroccans will be hoping to capitalise upon Canada’s attacking ambitions here. Canada will hope to have something to show for the tournament besides nice words and will be fully motivated to go out with a bang here.
Injuries and Suspensions
Might not play: Eustaquio (Canada)
Will not play:
Canada vs Morocco Prediction Analysis
With so much on the line for Morocco, we don’t anticipate too many changes to their starting XI, if any. Morocco were impressive almost to a man against Belgium, and there don’t appear to be any necessary tactical changes regarding personnel. We think that Canada will revert to three central defenders here as they will want to avoid another shower of goals conceded here. Reverting to a back four could be construed as a tactical error on Herdman’s part, as Canada carried plenty of threat when playing with a back five against Belgium. This probably necessitates Junior Hoilett’s return to the starting XI in place of Cyle Larin, who unfortunately was completely ineffectual against the Croatians.
Classic Defence vs Counter
Morocco’s counter-attacking mentality has suited them well thus far, and against a Canadian side that is committed to playing on the front foot, we don’t expect anything to change here. Canada will be looking to play in the manner they’re accustomed to, and that’s a high-pressing, direct game that relies on a high work rate, pressing and counter-pressing, quick transitions and an emphasis on carrying or passing/crossing the ball into dangerous areas directly to catch their opponents off-guard.
Morocco will adopt an if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it approach, and they have proven to be exceptionally stubborn opponents in defence. So far, they’ve managed to limit their opponents to a handful of opportunities and they perhaps won’t be leaving the Canadians with as much room as they enjoyed at times against Belgium and Croatia. Therefore, we expect Canada to enjoy more possession, upwards of 60%, but from the Moroccan viewpoint, it won’t matter. Morocco are also highly adept at getting the ball wide and forward quickly through their highly talented wing backs are wide men.
Both sides are highly dangerous from wide positions and we can expect that the pitch will be stretched to its fullest with two sets of wing-backs overlapping and looking to both create overloads and cut inside at every opportunity. For the Canadians, Alphonso Davies, traditionally used as a wing-back at club level is more of an inside-forward and attacking midfielder at times who is given licence to roam, but Canada also have the impressive Tajon Buchanan, Richie Laryea and Junior Hoillet at their disposal and therefore Morocco will have their hands full as Canada’s previous opponents did. Perhaps a minor criticism of the Canadians would be their decision-making at times in the final third, and with even less space likely to be on offer here Canada will certainly have to improve in this regard.
Morocco have also proven to be very dangerous on both flanks, with Achraf Hakimi performing what is at times a similar role to Alphonso Davies for Canada in the respect that he often cuts inside to join attacks through the middle. A rejuvenated Hakim Ziyech joins the PSG man on the right-hand side and, despite not finding the net yet following a harsh VAR decision against Beligum, provided an assist during Morocco’s impressive 2-0 victory and looked impressive throughout. On the left flank, Noussair Mazraoui and Sofiane Boufal’s presence ensures that Canada will have to be diligent when it comes to the wide threat on both flanks at all times.
Canada are under no pressure here whatsoever, other than perhaps the pressure to have their impressive performances count for something. In the cold light of day and in years to come, if they lose all three group games then the memories of their attacking endeavours may amount to nought. We expect the Canadians to play on the front foot here with nothing to lose, as they look to gain their first point(s) of this World Cup.
Morocco will be conscious of the need to balance a cautious approach with providing a constant threat of their own, just as they managed to do successfully in their opening group games. This time, however, there’s an expectation that they will be able to see off Canada and qualify for the round of 16. If Belgium defeat Croatia to top the group, Morocco will require just a point to go through but they won’t want to leave anything to chance here. An overly cautious approach could see them falling behind and they’ll be keen to ensure that they control their destiny.
Canada Key Players
There’s no reason to think that Bayern Munich man Alphonso Davies won’t be crucial again to Canada’s attacking ambitions. Planting an impressive header past Croatia’s Dominik Livakovic and generally terrorising the Croatian back-line, Canada will perhaps hope that Davies’ decision-making in the final third will be a little better this time around but perhaps that is overly harsh – a testament to the kind of performances people are coming to expect from the talented wing-back. Playing in a far more advanced role for his country compared to his wing-back role at Bayern, the Moroccans will already know all about him.
Assuming that Eustaquio has managed to shake off his hamstring niggle, the FC Porto man has been impressive throughout the tournament and his energetic midfield performances could prove to be a factor here as the centre of midfield is expected to open up owing to the considerable strengths of both teams in wide positions. Morocco also possess a significant counterattacking threat and alongside the dependable veteran Atiba Hutchinson, the Canadians will be hoping that their central midfield duo can control the middle of the park.
Morocco Key Players
Finding some timely form following a difficult period for club side Chelsea, Ziyech was fantastic against Belgium, proving to be a constant menace to the ageing Belgian backline. Ziyech may again find himself with plenty of space to work with as Canada will probably again play on the front foot to come out of the tournament with some reward. Ziyech will have plenty of support from right wing-back Hakimi and should be able to use the wide double-threat to his advantage here.
Most of Morocco’s good attacking work flows through the channels, and we expect this game to be no different in that respect. Hakimi also has a unique advantage as a wing-back, as he can cut inside and operate as an auxiliary attacking midfielder similarly to Manchester City star Joao Cancelo. This gives Morocco extra versatility in their attacking approach and with this game extremely likely to be stretched with plenty of space available in the middle, Hakimi can cut inside and find considerable joy there.
Canada vs Morocco Prediction
Canada will play with freedom, again, but it won’t matter to the Moroccans, who are primed to hurt their opponents on the counter in the same way as they did against the Belgians. We expect that Canada will again find the net, but the open nature of their game will lead to Morocco creating plenty of chances on the counter and also through overloads in wide areas. It’s unlikely that Morocco will find themselves overawed by the occasion, and we’re expecting a high-quality affair that ultimately will end in Morocco’s favour.