After an encouraging performance in a 1-0 loss to Belgium, the Canadians were undone by Croatia's ruthlessness in a 4-1 loss. Morocco, meanwhile, flipped the group on its head with a stunning 2-0 upset over Belgium ahead of the third and final matchday.
Canada vs Morocco odds
Canada vs Morocco picks and predictions
Despite the loss, few teams were more impressive in their group-stage opener than Canada. The fresh-faced World Cup underdogs looked like a high-level modern side, pressing Belgium high, creating attacks from the half-spaces, and playing vertically.
Yet, little seeds of naivety showed through in moments of Belgium breaking Canada's press and bombing forward through a wide-open midfield. Those seeds sprouted to be towering redwoods against Croatia, as the 2018 runners-up killed Canada with ruthless efficiency. Croatia's world-class midfield trio was feared to be something Canada couldn't match and that couldn't have played out in a worse fashion.
However, no such fears are at play against a Moroccan team that finds such a large amount of its joy from the flanks. The Atlas Lions aren't dissimilar to Canada in that way — a youthful, dynamic side that doesn't play off opponents, despite their relatively modest standing, empowering the great talent they have in the wide areas.
That played out in Morocco's 2-0 win over Belgium which, while not as impressive as Canada's performance against the group favorites, resembled it. And that is the reality in which this game is occurring.
These aren't teams that have a gulf in ability or experience. One took the game to Belgium, were unlucky not to win, and then came undone against an experienced Croatia team. The other took the game to Belgium, won 2-0, and remained compact against Croatia and didn't allow space for their midfield to exploit.
Naivety got the better of Canada in their ill-fated second game but that doesn't change what is an evenly-matched third and final game against Morocco. With a point enough for the Atlas Lions to get through to the Round of 16, they'll head to the knockouts as Canada head home with their first World Cup point.
My best bet: Draw (+230 at PointsBet)
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Canada vs Morocco side analysis
As outlined above, I think a draw is the most likely outcome between Canada and Morocco but a case could be made for any result.
Though it would be a departure from the character shown over the last three years, Canada could be crestfallen by the crushing nature in which they were eliminated. Alternatively, fringe players could be rewarded with game time in what is a meaningless game, rendering Canada considerably less competitive than they would be otherwise.
However, as they have at nearly every pivotal moment, they could be buoyed by a great disappointment. With so much attacking talent and elite physicality, a freed Canada team could be tremendously dangerous going forward and playing with abandon.
There's uncertainty ahead of this meeting but on balance, these are two equal sides.
Canada vs Morocco Over/Under analysis
Styles make fights and the styles of these two sides would suggest we're in for an expansive, back-and-forth game in which both sides are direct in their attacks. Though I don't have a play on the 2.5-goal total (Over +105 / Under -135), I do like both teams to score (-110) in the total goals market.
Playing front-footed is at the heart of this Canada team and, with nothing to lose, we can expect them to push forward without fear. Not only will that leave them open at the back but could force Morocco into more direct play as well, not wanting to have their progression hopes potentially spoiled with a loss.
Canada vs Morocco game info
|Location:||Al Thumama Stadium, Doha, Qatar|
|Date:||Thursday, December 1, 2022|
|Time:||10:00 a.m. ET|
Canada vs Morocco key injuries