The Canadian men’s national team saw its World Cup hopes dashed on Sunday, as they fell 4-1 to Croatia in a heartbreaking second Group F match. Neither manager produced many lineup surprises; Canada boss John Herdman made just one change from the 1-0 loss to Belgium as Cyle Larin entered in place of Junior Hoilett. For Croatia, Marko Livaja got the start in place of Nikola Vlasić. The match started in ideal fashion for Canada, who scored their first ever men’s World Cup goal in just the second minute. Tajon Buchanan brought the ball down in transition on the right flank and played a perfect cross into the box, where Alphonso Davies was able to head it into the net to make it 1-0. Canada continued to press in the minutes following their opener, but Croatia managed to grow into the game as the first half progressed. They thought they’d found their equalizer around the half-hour mark with an effort that was ruled to be offside, but shortly after they did indeed level the score. Andrej Kramarić found some space behind Canada’s defence and slotted past Milan Borjan to make it 1-1 in the 36th minute. After scoring, Croatia continued to have the upper hand and not long after their first goal they found the net again, as Livaja scored with a strong low hit from the top of the box just moments before halftime. With his side trailing at the break, Herdman went to his bench to bring Jonathan Osorio and Ismaël Koné in for the last 45 minutes. The Canadians improved in the early second half, with a number of chances around the box that they couldn’t quite convert. Herdman added Junior Hoilett to the mix around the hour mark in place of Richie Laryea, in an effort to find the equalizer Canada desperately needed. Unfortunately, however, Canada would be beaten in transition once again. In the 70th minute, Croatia managed to get up the pitch quickly and a cross came in to Kramarić, who made no mistake with a good strike within the box to put his side up by two. In the dying moments, Croatia rubbed further salt in Canada’s wounds as Kamal Miller was dispossessed in his own half and Mislav Oršić went in on goal all alone, laying it off for Lovro Majer for a fairly simple finish to make it 4-1. Canada ultimately wouldn’t be able to find the net again, as Croatia held on for the win. Because of Morocco’s win over Belgium earlier on Sunday, the defeat means Canada are no longer able to advance from their group. They will, nonetheless, finish up their World Cup campaign on Thursday against Morocco.


LINEUPS Croatia: Livaković; Sosa, Gvardiol, Lovren, Juranović; Kovacić (Majer 85’), Modrić (Pašalić 85’), Brozović; Perišić (Oršić 85’), Kramarić (Vlašić 72’), Livaja (Petković 60’) Canada: Borjan; Miller, Vitória, Johnston; Laryea (Hoilett 62’), Eustáquio (Osorio 45’), Hutchinson (Adekugbe 73’), Buchanan; Davies, David (Cavallini 73’), Larin (Koné 45’) GOALS 2’ — Alphonso Davies (Canada) 36’ — Andrej Kramarić (Croatia) 44’ — Marko Livaja (Croatia) 70’ — Andrej Kramarić (Croatia) 90+4’ — Lovro Majer (Croatia) DISCIPLINE 52’ — Yellow: Tajon Buchanan (Canada) 56’ — Yellow: Dejan Lovren (Croatia) 85’ — Yellow: Kamal Miller (Canada) 85’ — Yellow: Luka Modrić (Croatia)

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