Canada-Croatia: the danger of the rule of three | RDS

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DOHA, Qatar – Canada dominated against Belgium. So it should be a piece of cake against Croatia, a lower-ranked side who couldn’t do better than a draw against Morocco. It is not like this?

Unfortunately, that’s not how it works.

Many analyzes have aged poorly and bets have been lost because their authors have fallen into the simplistic trap of the rule of three. It’s a mistake we see all too often among stage managers in combat sports. Boxer A beat Boxer B, Boxer B beat Boxer C, so Boxer A should finish Boxer C.

Each party has its own story. Good plays and past mistakes often become outdated arguments as soon as a new opponent emerges. As of this writing, Saudi Arabia are unable, despite a more than commendable effort, to buy a goal against Poland. Wouldn’t she have been destined for a better fate after her upset win against Argentina?

Brilliant at the underdog role when they came on the scene against the Belgians, the Canadians must now hold their level up to the standards they have just set for themselves. Those who caught them taking a curious look at their latest poster have to prove that their new enthusiasm is justified. Let them not be lightning in the pan.

Not to mention the much more serious problems, dictated by the numbers, with which they are now faced. Despite all the capital of sympathy that their performance against the Red Devils earned them, it brought them nothing more than a big zero in the standings. Another donut, no matter how tasty she is, would mean it’s time to leave the table.

Last week, ahead of his team’s game against Canada, Belgium coach Roberto Martinez made comments Canadian fans wish were not prescient for the future of their favorites.

“In a first game you always advance in a kind of superb illusion, guided by the simple satisfaction of having earned the right to be there. In the second, you start to learn what it really takes to play a World Cup, to play against national teams that you don’t normally have access to. Then, in the third game, reality starts to catch up with you. »

John Herdman pouted when those words were relayed to him earlier this week.

“He is an experienced coach, he is used to this environment, he understands what it takes to get to the final stages of the big competitions, so we can certainly take note of what he says. But we also have experience in big tournaments, enough to recognize that it’s all a matter of mentality. »

“We just had a performance we’re proud of, but it’s important for us to never get complacent,” Herdman continued. We work a lot with statistics to evaluate our performance. The numbers say that our match against Uruguay was a winning performance. The numbers say that our match against Japan was a winning performance. And the numbers say that our match against Belgium was a winning performance. We want to continue in the same line. That is what our players are focusing on today knowing that there is a gap to fill between us and Croatia, which really has a complete team. »

a scary environment

The pride of the Croatian national team is its trio of midfielders, whom Herdman has already called the best in the world.

The best known of the group is veteran Luka Modric, who won the World Cup MVP award and the Ballon d’Or for best player in the world in 2018. The 37-year-old Real Madrid midfielder continues to be feared and respected. in Madrid by their opponents.

The other tentacles of these three monsters are controlled by Marcelo Brozovic, who is designated as the best field player in Serie A with Inter Milan for the 2021-2022 season, and Mateo Kovacic, who evolves to Chelsea in first league. The specialized site Transfermarkt estimates that the market value of the three teammates is 85 million euros.

The three accomplices are deployed in a 4-3-3 that generally allows them to generate a lot of attack on the wings.

“I’m here to give them a bad day,” Canadian midfielder Stephen Eustaquio said. It’s a great experience to play against these guys, but in the end I have to win. »

“Harder than Morocco”

Unlike Belgium, who came to Qatar with unconvincing performances, Croatia had a splendid preparation for this World Cup. Between June and September, in the League of Nations, they accumulated a win and a draw against France, as well as beating Denmark twice.

Coach Zlatko Dalic attributed last week’s 0-0 draw in Morocco to an unfavorable schedule. According to him, his team was not ready for a game at 1 pm, but it will do better on Sunday night.

“It’s going to be a tough match and we’ll have to approach it aggressively,” he said. It will be a bigger test than against Morocco. Canada is confident and we will have to respond accordingly. »

Dalic spoke of the surprises already caused by Saudi Arabia and Japan, in particular, since the start of the World Cup.

“We cannot rely on our past successes. You have to be prepared to face the present moment. »

“Canada surprised us all against Belgium,” admitted midfielder Ivan Perisic. The Belgians found no response to their pressure. It will be important for us to be fast, aggressive and energetic. But we are Croatia. If we play our game, the result should favor us. »

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