2018 runners-up Croatia held by Morocco

2 months ago 21

Croatia, runners-up four years ago, started their World Cup campaign with a goalless draw against a well-drilled Morocco at Al Bayt Stadium.

Only four players from their final defeat by France in 2018 started this game and they lacked an attacking spark throughout, but came closest through Nikola Vlasic's toe-poked effort.

Morocco were impressive, but failed to create clear-cut opportunities.

Belgium play Canada in the other Group F game at 19:00 GMT on Wednesday.

Reaction to Croatia v Morocco

Croatia, who are 12th in Fifa's world rankings, dominated possession as expected, but they were unable to create opportunities or break down Morocco, who have only lost two of their past 40 games across three years.

The best chance of a match that had only two shots on target from each side came in first-half stoppage time, when a left-wing cross was diverted towards goal by Vlasic, but the midfielder on loan at Torino from West Ham was denied by the right leg of Yassine Bounou, who spread himself to close down the angle.

Morocco, who are ranked 22nd, came closest when Noussair Mazraoui followed in a deflected shot and saw a back-post header saved.

Paris St-Germain full-back Achraf Hakimi also tested Dominik Livakovic, but the Croatia keeper dealt with his dipping, swerving 35-yard strike with ease.

It was a game largely played in the middle third of the pitch, with both sides potentially wary of losing and damaging their chances of progressing to the knockout stages from a group that also contains Belgium and Canada.

The goalless draw is the third of this World Cup, after Denmark's opener against Tunisia and Poland v Mexico on Tuesday. There was only one in the entire 2018 tournament in Russia.

Croatia will play Canada in their next match on Sunday (16:00 GMT kick-off), while Morocco face Belgium on the same day (13:00).

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Morocco

Squad number1Player nameBono

Squad number2Player nameHakimi

Squad number5Player nameAguerd

Squad number6Player nameSaïss

Squad number3Player nameMazraoui

Squad number8Player nameOunahi

Squad number4Player nameS Amrabat

Squad number15Player nameAmallah

Squad number7Player nameZiyech

Squad number19Player nameEn-Nesyri

Squad number17Player nameBoufal

Squad number9Player nameHamdallah

Squad number11Player nameSabiri

Squad number16Player nameEzzalzouli

Squad number25Player nameAttiat-Allah

Croatia

Squad number1Player nameLivakovic

Squad number22Player nameJuranovic

Squad number6Player nameLovren

Squad number20Player nameGvardiol

Squad number19Player nameSosa

Squad number10Player nameModric

Squad number11Player nameBrozovic

Squad number8Player nameKovacic

Squad number13Player nameVlasic

Squad number9Player nameKramaric

Squad number4Player namePerisic

Squad number7Player nameMajer

Squad number14Player nameLivaja

Squad number15Player namePasalic

Squad number18Player nameOrsic

Line-ups

Morocco

Formation 4-3-3

1Bono2Hakimi5Aguerd6Saïss3MazraouiSubstituted forAttiat-Allahat 60'minutes8OunahiSubstituted forSabiriat 82'minutes4S AmrabatBooked at 78mins15Amallah7Ziyech19En-NesyriSubstituted forHamdallahat 81'minutes17BoufalSubstituted forEzzalzouliat 65'minutes

Substitutes

9Hamdallah10Zaroury11Sabiri12Mohamedi13Chair14Aboukhlal16Ezzalzouli18El Yamiq20Dari21Cheddira22Tagnaouti23El Khannouss24Benoun25Attiat-Allah26Jabrane

Croatia

Formation 4-3-3

1Livakovic22Juranovic6Lovren20Gvardiol19Sosa10Modric11Brozovic8KovacicSubstituted forMajerat 79'minutes13VlasicSubstituted forPasalicat 45'minutes9KramaricSubstituted forLivajaat 71'minutes4PerisicSubstituted forOrsicat 90'minutes

Substitutes

2Stanisic3Barisic5Erlic7Majer12Grbic14Livaja15Pasalic16Petkovic17Budimir18Orsic21Vida23Ivusic24Sutalo25Sucic26Jakic

Referee:Fernando Rapallini

Attendance:59,407

Live Text

Match ends, Morocco 0, Croatia 0.

Second Half ends, Morocco 0, Croatia 0.

Marko Livaja (Croatia) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Selim Amallah (Morocco).

Marcelo Brozovic (Croatia) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Abdessamad Ezzalzouli (Morocco).

Luka Modric (Croatia) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Hakim Ziyech (Morocco).

Foul by Borna Sosa (Croatia).

Hakim Ziyech (Morocco) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Substitution, Croatia. Mislav Orsic replaces Ivan Perisic.

Josip Juranovic (Croatia) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Yahya Attiat-Allah (Morocco).

Substitution, Morocco. Abdelhamid Sabiri replaces Azzedine Ounahi.

Substitution, Morocco. Abderrazak Hamdallah replaces Youssef En-Nesyri.

Foul by Josko Gvardiol (Croatia).

Achraf Hakimi (Morocco) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Hand ball by Selim Amallah (Morocco).

Substitution, Croatia. Lovro Majer replaces Mateo Kovacic.

Sofyan Amrabat (Morocco) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

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