Croatia’s World Cup marketing campaign bought off to a stuttering begin with a 0-0 draw in opposition to a battling Morocco on Wednesday because the 2018 runners-up lacked the punch of the aspect that went so shut in Russia.
Possibilities had been at a premium at Al Bayt Stadium as an excellent Group F contest produced little goalmouth motion, and ended within the third goalless attract 9 video games on the World Cup to date.
There have been glimpses of purpose for each side, with Nikola Vlasic going shut for Croatia on the finish of the primary half whereas Noussair Mazraoui had a header saved for Morocco.
Croatia, who had been overwhelmed by France within the remaining 4 years in the past, will now flip their attentions to their recreation in opposition to Canada on Sunday, when Morocco will face Belgium.
Croatia’s finest moments predictably hinged on Luka Modric, who was given the liberty of the park, floating effortlessly from again to entrance, with soccer’s conventional midfield roles seeming to not apply to Croatia’s captain.
One minute he was patrolling in entrance of his again 4, the subsequent hanging off the shoulder of Andrej Kramaric up entrance, however at all times trying to open up the north Africans, whether or not he was hovering at proper again or looking additional ahead.
But this Croatia efficiency lacked the lower and thrust of the workforce 4 years in the past, which additionally boasted the abilities of the now-retired Mario Mandzukic up entrance and midfielder Ivan Rakitic, who has referred to as time on his worldwide profession.
Morocco seemed principally to Hakim Ziyech for inspiration and the Chelsea winger, recalled to the squad following coach Walid Regragui’s appointment, was their most harmful attacking outlet within the early levels, though his good work lacked an finish product.
Whereas the encounter was low on motion it was a minimum of excessive on depth, as each side battled for midfield supremacy, however the first half ended with neither purpose actually threatened till the closing moments when Vlasic’s low effort was saved by Yassine Bounou.
Borna Sosa’s cross to the close to submit discovered Vlasic, who poked out a leg to steer it in the direction of purpose, however he couldn’t beat Bounou.
There was extra motion within the first 5 minutes of the second half when Morocco had raucous appeals for a penalty waved away after Sofiane Boufal’s shot appeared to hit Dejan Lovren’s arm, seconds earlier than Mazraoui’s header was saved by Dominik Livakovic.
Moments later, Lovren’s effort on the slide on the different finish was blocked by Sofyan Amrabat, however that was about nearly as good because it bought for Croatia till centre again Josko Gvardiol’s header went large within the eightieth minute.
Morocco had been maybe the higher aspect within the second half, however for all their efforts their solely different probability of observe was Achraf Hakimi’s swerving shot from distance that was punched away by Livakovic.
The 2 sides will seemingly be proud of some extent from a match during which there actually was nothing to separate them, with each having seven makes an attempt at purpose and simply two heading in the right direction.