Croatia Downs Canada 4-1

AL RAYYAN, Qatar — A bit of trash talk meant to inspire Canada instead motivated Croatia.

Canada coach John Herdman had tried to boost his team following a loss to Belgium to open the team’s first World Cup appearance in 36 years — using colourful language that Croatia took exception to.

The 2018 runners-up responded on Sunday with a 4-1 victory over the Canadians, who were eliminated after two matches in Qatar.

“I have to say thank you to the head coach of Canada for the motivation,” said Andrej Kramaric, who scored two goals on Sunday.

Alphonso Davies scored Canada’s first-ever men’s World Cup goal a minute into the match but Marko Livaja and Lovro Majer also scored for Croatia, which lost to France in the final four years ago in Russia and opened with a scoreless draw against Morocco.

Luka Modric, the 37-year-old captain who runs the midfield for Croatia, is still looking for his first goal of the tournament in what is likely his final World Cup. Canada opened the tournament with a 1-0 loss to Belgium.

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