Croatia vs Belgium player ratings: Romelu Lukaku abysmal as ‘golden generation’ turns to rust

Belgium crashed out of the Qatar World Cup on Thursday after drawing 0-0 with Croatia, while Morocco beat Canada 2-1 elsewhere in Group F.

Belgium had underwhelmed against Canada in their tournament opener but snatched a 1-0 win, before suffering a critical 2-0 defeat by Morocco.

Meanwhile, Croatia had drawn 0-0 with Morocco then breezed past Canada 4-1, putting themselves in a promising position to reach the last 16.

They sealed their spot at Belgium’s expense with a point here, while Morocco qualified top of Group F due to their victory over Canada, who had already been eliminated.

Here’s how the players fared:

Croatia

Dominik Livakovic - 7: Dealt well with aerial balls into his penalty area. Didn’t have too much else to do, really, as Belgium’s best chances resulted in off-target efforts.

Josip Juranovic - 6: Was fortunate that Carrasco was so poor, as the defender allowed the Belgium forward into dangerous positions at times. Did make a crucial block to deny Carrasco in the second half, though.

Dejan Lovren - 6: A decent aerial presence up both ends of the pitch, though one defensive header was flicked straight onto Lukaku (after the ball had gone out of play, thankfully for the centre back – and striker).

Josko Gvardiol - 8: Wasn’t tested too much in the first half, with most of the opposition’s attacks coming down the flanks. Was called upon more after the break and stepped up when necessary, including a crucial challenge in the dying moments.

Borna Sosa - 3: Let Mertens through a couple of times but was let off. Sent a shot well over the Belgium crossbar on the cusp of half time, and miscued multiple crosses in the second half.

Luka Modric - 7: Provided incisive passes around and into the Belgian box, and made some smart interceptions in his own half.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Marcelo Brozovic - 6: Solid when working defensively and largely tidy when attacking.

Mateo Kovacic - 6: Wasn’t involved nearly as often as usual until the second half, when he began to inject himself into the game.

Andrej Kramaric - 6: Had a very promising opening early on but wasn’t decisive enough, and his moment passed. Was replaced on 63 minutes, but had linked play fairly well up to that point.

Marko Livaja - 5: Not very effective in all honesty, other than as a decoy here and there. Was taken off when Kramaric departed.

Ivan Perisic - 6: Almost scored within 10 seconds, flashing a volley across goal from some way out. Always an option out on Croatia’s left flank.

Substitutes

Mario Pasalic - 6.

Bruno Petkovic - 6.

Belgium

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Thibaut Courtois - 7: Didn’t have too much to do until early in the second half, when he kept out Kovacic, Brozovic and Modric in a spell of about five minutes.

Thomas Meunier - 5: Made some well-timed tackles amid a couple of promising moments for Croatia, but was overrun in the second half.

Toby Alderweireld - 5: Had a torrid first few minutes, in which it genuinely looked like Belgium would concede. Was a little sharper thereafter.

Jan Vertonghen - 5: His performance largely followed the trajectory of his centre-back partner’s.

Timothy Castagne - 5: Had mixed success dealing with Croatia’s forwards.

Leander Dendoncker - 4: Cut back a sharp, low cross that Mertens failed to tuck away, but was otherwise ineffective and picked up a yellow card. Made way for Youri Tielemans.

Axel Witsel - 4: His lack of mobility allowed Croatia too much time on the ball in the second half.

Yannick Carrasco - 2: Failed to attack a Mertens cross that might have resulted in a goal at 0-0. Then seemed to give away a penalty with a rash challenge, but VAR reversed the decision due to offside by the tiniest margin. Replaced by Jeremy Doku.

Kevin De Bruyne - 6: Has gotten a bit better with each game, and he set up his teammates well on numerous occasions here; they just failed to do their part.

Kevin De Bruyne during his Belgium side’s World Cup clash with Croatia (Getty Images)
Kevin De Bruyne during his Belgium side’s World Cup clash with Croatia (Getty Images)

Leandro Trossard - 4: Full of intent without translating that into any contributions of note. Made way for Thorgan Hazard just before the hour mark.

Dries Mertens - 3: Might have had an assist if Carrasco had read his cross better. Wasted a decent chance by slinging a first-time shot high and wide, and failed to turn in a good cross from Dendoncker. Replaced at half time.

Substitutes

Romelu Lukaku - 1: Came on for Mertens at the break. Hit the post on the hour mark when he should have scored. Then directed a close-range header over the bar, though the ball had already gone out by the byline. Slow to react to a De Bruyne shot and deflected it wide. Then completely failed to pounce upon a cross with an open goal in the final minutes, chesting it to safety somehow. His first shot on target was when he smashed the bench after the final whistle.

Thorgan Hazard - 5: Energetic but little else in all honesty.

Youri Tielemans - 6: Made an important interception from a Perisic cut-back on 75 minutes.

Jeremy Doku - 5: Failed to make any real impact after coming on.

Eden Hazard - N/A: Was brought on too late to make a difference, though his earlier performances in Qatar hardly suggest that he could have been effective here anyway.