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Croatia dish out World Cup lesson to send Canada packing

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Croatia came from behind to knock Canada out of the World Cup with a 4-1 victory in their Group F clash.

Alphonso Davies opened the scoring for Canada after just two minutes – with their first-ever World Cup goal at the fifth attempt – but two goals from Andrej Kramaric either side of a Marko Livaja effort turned the game on its head. Substitute Lovro Majer then added a late fourth.

It left Canada pointless and heading home already ahead of their final group game against Morocco, with their first venture in the tournament since the 1986 edition in Mexico being brought to a premature end.

For Croatia, the win kept them top of the group. A point in their final game against Belgium on Thursday will be enough to see them progress.

Canada’s big moment finally came after two minutes. Davies had seen a penalty saved in their opening defeat against Belgium, but he wasn’t to be denied again as he rose in the box to power home a header from Tajon Buchanan’s cross – notching the fastest goal of the World Cup so far.

There were question marks over Croatia’s energy levels after their draw against Morocco, but they showed all their experience to turn the game around before the break.

First it was Kramaric on 37 minutes, who latched onto a smart reverse pass from Ivan Perisic before finding the far corner from a tight angle. Then it was Livaja just before the break, as he picked up a pass from Josip Juranovic before driving a low pinpoint finish inside the near post from the edge of the box.

On 70 minutes, Kramaric scored again to put the result beyond doubt, bringing down a cross from Perisic with a fine touch, before sending a low effort into the bottom corner.

And in stoppage-time the icing was added firmly to the cake for Croatia as a mistake from Kamal Miller allowed Mislav Orsic a free run on goal, before he squared for Majer to roll the ball into an empty net.

The result puts Croatia top of Group F on goal difference ahead of Morocco, who beat Belgium 2-0 earlier in the day. Both of those sides are on four points, with Belgium on three.

Canada are bottom of the group without a point and cannot progress.