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Kramaric nets brace as Croatia eliminate Canada

Xinhua
28 Nov 2022, 05:30 GMT+10

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Croatia came from behind to beat Canada 4-1 and knocked the latter out of the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

DOHA, Nov. 27 (Xinhua) -- Andrej Kramaric scored twice as Croatia came from behind to beat Canada 4-1 on Sunday, a result that eliminated the Maple Leafs from the 2022 FIFA World Cup knockout stage.

Bayern Munich's Alphonso Davies gave Canada the lead with a second-minute header, before Kramaric and Marko Livaja struck within eight minutes to hand Croatia the lead just before halftime.

Kramaric and Lovro Majer added two late goals as Croatia moved to top of Group F, ahead of Morocco on goal difference. Belgium are third, and Canada are last, having failed to pick up a point from their first two games.

Canada, playing in their first World Cup since 1986, join hosts Qatar as the first teams to be eliminated from the tournament.

Just as they did in their opener against Belgium, Canada began with a burst of energy that caught their opponents off guard.

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Davies gave his team the lead after just 68 seconds when he headed home following Tajon Buchanan's cross from the right wing. It was the fastest goal of the competition so far, beating that of Cody Gakpo, who netted for the Netherlands in the sixth minute of their 1-1 draw with Ecuador.

But Canada's superiority was short lived. Croatia soon wrested back the momentum as Luka Modric and Mateo Kovacic began to dictate play in midfield.

The equalizer came in the 36th minute when Ivan Perisic fed Kramaric, who drilled an unstoppable shot beyond the reach of goalkeeper Milan Borjan.

Croatia were suddenly bursting with confidence and they took the lead on the stroke of halftime following a fine solo run from Josip Juranovic.

The Celtic right-back dribbled forward with intent and was briefly dispossessed by Kamal Miller before nutmegging his opponent with a pass that found Livaja. The Hajduk Split striker took one touch before rifling a low finish into the bottom corner.

Canada were unlucky not to draw level again early in the second half when Jonathan Osorio sent a 20-yard effort just wide of the post.

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But Croatia continued to press and Borjan was forced to make a superb reflex save when Kramaric met an inch-perfect Modric cross with a fizzing first-time strike.

Osorio proved a constant headache for Croatia's defense with his energy and composure on the ball. The Toronto FC midfielder was again the architect as he laid off a deft pass for Jonathan David, whose long-range effort was tipped over the bar by Dominik Livakovic.

Kramaric breached Canada's defense for a second time in the 70th minute, skillfully controlling a Perisic pass and evading his marker before slotting a shot into the far corner.

Canada had Borjan to thank for not conceding again in the closing stages as the Red Star Belgrade player kept out Marcelo Brozovic's effort with his right leg.

Majer put the result beyond doubt with a comfortable finish after being teed up by Mislav Orsic on the counterattack.

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