Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

Day 4 of FIFA World Cup 2022 sees four matches with the first match between Croatia and Morocco. This will be followed by Germany’s opening match against Japan. Check complete preview and list below…

Morocco vs Croatia

Croatia have won its last five matches and lost once in 16 months. The 2018 runner-up, led by midfield conjuror Luka Modric, will begin their World Cup campaign against Morocco in Group F on Wednesday at the Al Bayt stadium.

Croatia recently won four successive UEFA Nations League fixtures, a run which included an away victory over France, to top a group which also included Denmark and Austria. Zlatko Dalic’s side come into the match as favourite to win it.

Since losing 5-3 to Spain at Euro 2020, Croatia have lost just once in 16 games, a defeat that it avenged by prevailing 3-1 in Austria in its most recent competitive outing.

Morocco meanwhile, head into the tournament on a five-match unbeaten streak.

Timing: The match is at 3.30 pm, Indian time

Germany vs Japan

Meanwhile in Group E, World Cup giant Germany take on Japan at the Khalifa international stadium.

Hansi Flick’s side has not been in the best of its form, winning just two out of its last six games. Japan too, come into the game with a similar kind of form with two wins and two draws in its last six games.

Germany have suffered a setback even before coming into its opener as it lost winger Leroy Sane to a knee injury. The Bayern Munich player though, is expected to be fit for the second game.

Timing: The match is at 6.30 pm, Indian time

Spain vs Costa Rica

A new era is about to start for Spain at the World Cup, with a generation of talented young players taking center stage in its quest to win a second world title.

Spain’s revamped squad, led by back-to-back Golden Boy award winners Pedri and Gavi, will begin being put to the test on Wednesday against an experienced Costa Rica team that is bringing back some of the players that helped it make a surprising run to the quarterfinals eight years ago.

The Costa Ricans hope to repeat the success of the World Cup in Brazil and avoid the debacle of four years ago in Russia, when they didn’t win any matches and were eliminated in the group stage.

Spain also want to avoid a repeat of its campaign in the 2018 tournament, when it was ousted by the hosts in the round of 16 after going through an embarrassing coaching change just days before its debut.

Timing: The match is at 9.30 pm, Indian time

Belgium vs Canada

In Group F, Belgium and Canada will lock horns as they start their tournament campaign at the Ahmed Bin Ali stadium.

For Belgium, this represents the final chance for a lot of their ‘Golden Generation’ to win a major tournament. But the second-ranked Red Devils come into the tie after a disappointing 2-1 friendly loss to Egypt last week.

On the other hand, the Canadians are led by a new generation headed by Alphonso Davies, Jonathan David and Cyle Larin. They finished first in CONCACAF qualifying, a turnaround engineered by coach John Herdman. He coached the Canadian women to bronze medals in the 2012 and 2016 Olympics, then switched to the men in 2018.

Belgium will miss the services of Romelu Lukaku who has been sidelined since August 13 with a thigh injury during Inter Milan’s game against Lecce. While Canada will hope for its captain Alphonso Davies to be fit for this encounter.

Match timing: The match is at 12.30 am, Indian time