Croatia couldn’t overcome a disciplined Morocco and the 2018 finalists were forced to draw their 2022 World Cup Group F match.
Luka Modric and Ivan Perisic both shot over the bar, while Nikola Vlasic saved the day in the first period with a fine effort.
Youssefen-Nesyri couldn’t get his head around a Hakim Ziyech cross to Morocco. Achraf Hakimi, who took a thunderous shot following the break, was stopped by Domink Livakovic, Croatian keeper.
Sofiane Boufal had also his penalty claim thrown out when his shot seemed to have hit a Croatian defender’s hand as he turned his face away from it.
Morocco, which has only two victories in six World Cups to its credit, will be happy to score a point before facing group favourites Belgium on Sunday.
Croatia faces Canada the same day. They must win this match before taking on Belgium in their last group game.
Morocco (3-4-3, left to right): Bono (GK) — 5. Aguerd, 3. Mazraoui (Attiat Allah-59), 2. Hakimi — 15. Amallah, 8. Ounahi (Sabiri-81), 4. Amrabat 6. Saiss — 17. Boufal (Ezzalzouli-65), 19. En-Nesyri (Hamdallah-81), 7. Ziyech.
Croatia (4-1-4-1 in right to left) Livakovic (GK), — 22. Juranovic, 6. Lovren, 19. Sosa, 20. Gvardiol — Modric — 13. Vlasic (15. Pasalic-46), 8. Kovacic (Majer 79), 11. Brozovic, 4. Perisic (Orsic89) — 9. Kramaric (Livaja 70).
MORE: FuboTV offers a free trial to all U.S. matches.
Live updates and highlights of the 2022 World Cup: Morocco vs. Croatia
If you are in the USA, watch this:
FULL-TIME: Morocco 0-0 Croatia
Nope. That’s it. One point. Fair result. This is the third World Cup goalless draw, and I have been there for every one of them. Apologies folks. We can do better.
95th minute: I’m not sure which side has the motivation to win this one.
90th minute: We will have six more minutes. This World Cup has been modest by our standards.
89th minute: Croatia’s final change as Mislav Orsic replaces Ivan Perisic.
81st minute: Two more modifications for Morocco. Abderrazak Hamdallah, Abdelhamid Sabiri are on for Youssefen-Nesyri. They can inspire a late winner to the Atlas Lions.
80th minute: Luka Modric’s free kick to the far post lands the head of Josko Garudiol. However, he was climbing over the defender.
78th minute: Surprisingly, this is the first booking of the game. Sofyan Amrabat from Morocco takes out Luka Modric and deceives him with a beautiful first touch.
73rd minute: Morocco Abde Ezzalzouli is the first to show signs of danger. He quickly flies to the area’s edge and then loses control of the ball, trying to make space for a shot. Chance lost.
71st minute: Lovely free-kick by Luka Modric into the heart box of Morocco, but a defender takes a kick to it just in the right time.
70th minute: Marko Livaja has started for Croatia, Andrej Karmaric is following.
65th minute: Morocco makes a change. Abde Ezzalzouli is on the front row for Soufiane Boufal.
64th minute: What a great hit by Achraf Hakimi He rolls a free kick to him, and the fullback from Morocco gives it a right clatter at 25 yards with his right foot. It’s too close for Domink Livakovic, and the Croatian keeper is able beat it away.
If you are in the USA, watch this:
61:01 min: Dangerous moment in Croatia’s history as Achraf hakimi crosses the line again and sends in an impressive cross that somehow escapes everyone in the penalty box.
59th minute: Noussair Mazraoui, the Morocco fullback, has been hobbling for a few minutes. Yahia Attiat Islam will replace him.
54th minute: Morocco’s keeper Yassine Bonneo shows courage, putting himself amongst the studs in an attempt to win the ball in a cramped penalty area.
52nd minute: After being hemmed in by Morocco’s high press, Croatia breaks out. Josip Juranovic, a marauding marauder, makes a beautiful cross to the farpost that almost finds Ivan Perisic.
51st minute: Morocco’s Soufiane Bouffal is screaming for a penalty. Is it possible that his shot struck a Croatian player in the hand, as he turned his face away from it? It is unlikely that the referee will look at it so we continue.
50th minute: Morocco’s fullback Noussair Mazzaoui has a chance. He dives in low to the post and lands a header that Domink Livakovic, Croatia’s keeper, flies away.
47 minutes: Mario Pasalic, who is taking over from Nikola Vlasic at the right flank, is now on for Croatia.
46 minutes: We are all ready to go again, but we need to remember that Morocco is missing one player. Sofyan Amrabat emerges sheepishly from the dressing room and joins the action.
HALF-TIME: Morocco 0-0 Croatia
Except for the late Croatian flurry, there was not much else to get the pulse racing during that first half.
Morocco’s only chance was lost when Youssef El-Nesyri couldn’t grasp a Hakim Ziyech cross. Croatia, however, came closest to a rising long-range effort by Ivan Perisic until those late chances for Luka Modric and Nikola Vlasic. Let’s all hope for the best after the break.
45th minute+2: Another chance for Croatia as Luka Modric, following up Nikola Vlasic’s blocked shot with a rising left foot drive that narrowly misses the goal line, ends the half with another chance for Croatia.
If you are in the USA, watch this:
45 minutes: Ivan Perisic, Borna Sosa and Nikola Vlasic combine for some late action in the Morocco penalty zone. A shot from close range by Nikola Vlasic forces Yassine Bono to save.
40 minutes: Achraf Haimi attempts to do a one-two in the Croatian penalty area, but Azzedine Ounahi loses control. Morocco have a free kick in a dangerous position, but Hakim Ziyech fails again to clear the first defender.
33rd minute: The Croatian midfield trio Marcelo Brozovic, Mateo Kovacic, and Luka Modric have 316 international caps between their names. Their instinctive understanding of each other’s position on the pitch is evident. They are being kept under control by Morocco so far.
27th minute: It is fair to say that Morocco has the largest support in the stadium.
If you are in the USA, watch this:
23rd minute: Morocco appears more likely right now, but there are no clear-cut chances. As Yousef En Nesyri tries to score, Dejan Lovren blocks the shot.
20th minute: Morocco receives a free kick in a central location at the Croatia penalty area’s edge. Hakim Ziyech, however, can’t find the wall using his left-foot efforts.
18th minute: Morocco has a chance after Hakim Ziyech’s lovely ball, but Youssef El-Nesyri is unable to get his head around it, right in front.
16th minute: Poor pass by Selim Amallah directly into the path Ivan Perisic. He takes aim from a long distance but his left foot effort is always narrowly missed.
If you are in Canada, watch this:
12th minute: The first sign of Achraf Hakimi’s attacking abilities as a fullback in Morocco. PSG defender Beats his opponent down the right flank, and gets a decent ball in. However, it is deflected off by a defender and into the arms Domink Livakovic, Croatian keeper. It’s better from the Atlas Lions, though.
6th minute: Romain Saiss, Morocco’s Romain, must be alert to move in ahead Ofrej Kramaric to concede a corner. Luka Modric locates Josko Gvardiol’s head from the set-piece but Morocco wins it.
4th minute: There are a lot of whistles coming from the vocal Moroccan contingent as Croatia tries to build patience from the back during these early stages. There are cheers when Ivan Perisic touches the ball.
1st Min: Morocco kick off in search of their first World Cup win since 1998.
5 minutes before kickoff: The Al Bayt Stadium glows in the bright sun as teams line up to sing the anthems. We will be on the field in a matter of minutes…
10 minutes before kickoff: Croatia, 2018 finalists and ranked 12th worldwide, will be the favourites in this encounter. They have faced African opposition twice in World Cups before, defeating Cameroon 4-1 in 2014 and Nigeria 22-0 in 2018.
Morocco will play in the 17th World Cup finals, after having played in five tournaments. With five draws and nine losses, they have only two wins. Four years ago, the Atlas Lions were bottom of their group. They lost 1-0 to Iran and Portugal, before drawing 2-2 with Spain.
20 minutes before kickoff: There are plenty of Morocco fans in the house. They’re promising some loud noise!
30 minutes before kickoff: The opening Group F match is being held at Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor. This World Cup’s second-largest stadium has a capacity of approximately 60,000. It hosted the opening match between Qatar and Ecuador. It will host England v USA on Friday 25th November, among other group games.
We now have the Morocco team. Youssefen-Nesyri, Sevilla’s captain, is now fit and begins at the front. He joins Chelsea’s Hakim Ziyech, and Soufiane Boufal who plays in France with Angers.
1hr before kickoff: The Croatian team is out. Josip Juranovic and Borna Sosa will all be starting in defense alongside Dejan Lovren, while Marcelo Brozovic from Inter Milan is playing midfield alongside Luka Modric und Mateo Kovacic.
1.5 hours from kickoff: Belgium is expected to lead the group. Morocco and Croatia are aware that a win today would make a big difference in their chances of reaching the group stage.
We have looked at the odds and compared how the bookmakers rate Croatia’s chances to advance.
Two hours before kickoff: The first ever competitive match between Croatian and Moroccan players is just two hours away.
Concerns about Croatia’s goals are a concern. With three goals each, Mario Mandzukic (Ivan Perisic) was Croatia’s top goal-scorer.
Perisic has now retired from the national team. Perisic, while still expected to play a key role for Croatia, has now turned 33 and taken on a slightly defensive role at Tottenham Hotspur. However, his seniority doesn’t seem to be an issue for one of his Croatian teammates.
Morocco is also stronger than they are in front of the goal. Their star players are better suited for roles in defence and midfield.
They will be relying on Hamdallah, a 31-year-old who has scored four goals in six games in the Saudi Professional League.
2.5 hours from kickoff: We are getting closer!
Ziyech, Modric are both great to watch. Will we be able to see one of their delightful moments tonight?
Only 3 hours until kickoff: There are still three hours!
Two international retirees have returned to Morocco to compete in the second consecutive World Cup finals.
After each annoucing their retirement, Ziyech as well as Abderrazak Hamdallah both returned to the Moroccan football set-up. Bayern Munich Defender Noussair Mazzaoui refused to play for Vahid Halohodzic, but accepted Walid Regragui’s request.
Morocco’s success will depend on a harmonious relationship between head coach and playing group.
3.5 hours until kickoff: We know the main man in Croatia, but which players are likely to change the game for Morocco?
Achraf Hakimi, the 22nd-ranked nation’s most prominent player on the team sheet, is probably the best known. Since his AUD $90million switch from Inter to Paris Saint-Germain in 2021, he has been a part of four goals. Another high-profile member of the squad is Chelsea’s Hakim Zyech.
Premier League viewers will recognize Sofiane Boufal, and Romain Saiss, who play for Southampton and Wolverhampton Wanderers before moving on to other parts of Europe.
4 hours from kickoff: Only four hours until Russia’s 2018 tournament winner takes the field.
The World Cups offer a platform for true talismans to lead their national teams throughout the tournament. Croatia’s golden boy can lead them to the final stages in Qatar.
Kickoff is approximately 4.5 hours away
Modric’s men win would bring Croatia’s current winning streak up to six. It’s hard to ask for better form at the World Cup.
Morocco is in good shape, having won their last five matches without defeat. This includes wins over South Africa and Chile.
Who will take their form to the greatest stage?
5 hours before kickoff: Welcome to The Sporting News’ live coverage from the Group F opener between Morocco & Croatia. We will all be watching to see if Morocco can upset Luka Modric and Co.
Lineups for Morocco vs. Croatia, team news
Morocco will be without Tarik Tissoudali, Amine Harit, and Ez Abde for this match. However, Youssef El-Nesyri, who is back in full strength, starts at the front with Hakim Ziyech supporting. Last time, they used a 3-4-5-3 system but might opt for a more defensive one today.
Morocco (3-4-3, left to right): Bono (GK) — 5. Aguerd, 3. Mazraoui, 2. Hakimi — 15. Amallah, 8. Ounahi, 4. Amrabat 6. Saiss — 17. Boufal, 19. En-Nesyri, 7. Ziyech.
Croatia has been spared injury so far, with Marcelo Brozovic as well Domagoj Vida being able to shake off any concerns. Brozovic will start in the midfield alongside Luka Modric, Mateo Kovacic and Mateo Kovacic.
Croatia (4-1-4-1, left to right): 1. Livakovic (GK), — 22. Juranovic, 6. Lovren, 19. Sosa, 20. Gvardiol — Modric — 13. Vlasic, 8. Kovacic, 11. Brozovic, 4. Perisic — 9. Kramaric.