2018 runners-up Croatia at the hands of Morocco
Croatia, runners-up four years ago, began their World Cup campaign with a goalless draw against a well-drilled Morocco at the Al Bayt Stadium.
Just four players from their 2018 final defeat to France started this game and they lacked an attacking spark throughout, but they came closest thanks to Nikola Vlasic’s effort.
Morocco were impressive but did not create clear chances.
Belgium play Canada in the other Group F match at 19:00 GMT on Wednesday.
Croatia, ranked 12th in the world by FIFA, dominated possession as expected but were unable to create chances or break down Morocco, who have lost just two of their last 40 games in three years.
The best chance in a game with just two shots on goal per side came in first-half stoppage time when Vlasic deflected a cross from the left at goal, but the midfielder, on loan from Torino from West Ham, to be denied by the right foot of Yassine Bounou, who stretched out to close the angle.
22nd-ranked Morocco went closest when Noussair Mazraoui followed up on a deflected shot and saw his header deflected wide.
Paris St-Germain full-back Achraf Hakimi also tested Dominik Livakovic, but the Croatia goalkeeper dealt with his fall and easily turned away a 35-yard strike.
It was a game played largely in the middle third of the pitch, with both sides potentially doomed to lose and damage their chances of progressing to the knockout stages of a group that also contains Belgium and Canada.
The goalless draw is the third of this World Cup, following Denmark’s opener against Tunisia and Poland against Mexico on Tuesday. There was just one in the entire 2018 tournament in Russia.
Croatia play Canada next Sunday (16:00 GMT), while Morocco face Belgium on the same day (13:00).
Player of the match
Template number2Player NameHakimi
Template number7Player NameZiyech
Template number3Player NameMazraoui
Template number19Player NameEn-Nesyri
Template number6Player Namecome out
Template number4Player NameS Amrabat
Template number5Player Namewait
Template number25Player NameAttiat-Allah
Template number9Player NameHamdallah
Template number11Player Nameknow
Template number15Player NameAmalah
Template number16Player NameEzzalzouli
Template number8Player NameOunahi
Template number17Player NameBuffalo
Template number1Player Namebonus
Template number10Player NameModric
Template number4Player NamePerisic
Template number22Player NameJuranovic
Template number8Player NameKovacic
Template number9Player NameKramaric
Template number20Player NameGuardiola
Template number11Player NameBrozovic
Template number1Player NameLivakovic
Template number13Player NameVlasic
Template number6Player NameLovren
Template number19Player NameSosa
Template number15Player NamePasalic
Template number7Player Namemajor
Template number18Player NameOrsic
Template number14Player NameLivaja
- 6come out
- 3MazraouiReplaced byAttiat-Allahat 60′minutes
- 8OunahiReplaced byknowat 82′minutes
- 4S AmrabatBooked at 78 minutes
- 19En-NesyriReplaced byHamdallahat 81′minutes
- 17BuffaloReplaced byEzzalzouliat 65′minutes
- 18The Yamiq
- 23The Khanouss
- 8KovacicReplaced bymajorat 79′minutes
- 13VlasicReplaced byPasalicat 45′minutes
- 9KramaricReplaced byLivajaat 71′minutes
- 4PerisicReplaced byOrsicat 90′minutes
- Fernando Rapallini
End of match, Morocco 0, Croatia 0.
End of second half, 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.
Change, Croatia. Mislav Orsic replaces Ivan Perisic
Josip Juranovic (Croatia) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Yahya Attiat-Allah (Morocco).
Change, Morocco Abdelhamid Sabiri replaces Azzedine Ounahi.
Change, Morocco Abderrazak Hamdallah replaces Youssef En-Nesyri.
Foul by Josko Gvardiol (Croatia).
Achraf Hakimi (Morocco) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Hand of Selim Amallah (Morocco).
Change, Croatia. Lovro Majer replaces Mateo Kovacic
Sofyan Amrabat (Morocco) has been shown a yellow card for dangerous play.
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