Morocco 0-0 Croatia: Inevitable goalless draws keep coming as Group F rivals settle for point

News Desk
Croatia vs Morocco

Group F rivals Morocco and Croatia settled for a point as their World Cup opener was the third goalless in the past 24 hours.

The 2018 World Cup finalists dominated the ball but they lacked a cutting edge in a drab 0-0 draw.

Nikola Vlasic came close to scoring for Croatia in the first half before Noussair Mazraoui and Achraf Hakimi threatened for Morocco after the restart.

The result leaves both sides with hope of reaching the knockout stages – albeit with plenty to do – in a group also containing Belgium and Canada.

Croatia’s starting XI contained five players who were involved in their 4-2 World Cup final defeat to France in Russia, including influential captain Luka Modric.

Manager Zlatko Dalic also remained from that match in Moscow and saw his side struggle to create in a tight, uninspiring opening period largely devoid of clear openings.

Tottenham’s Ivan Perisic lashed narrowly over from distance, while Chelsea forward Hakim Ziyech wastefully fired a well-positioned free-kick straight into the wall at the other end.

Croatia saved their best first-half attempts for added time.

Morocco goalkeeper Yassine Bounou was finally tested when he repelled a close-range poke from Vlasic with a thigh, before Modric smashed over just before the whistle.

Walid Regragui only took charge of the Atlas Lions three months before the tournament and was yet to see his new side concede a goal.

They remained resilient at the back after the restart and also improved from an attacking perspective, with Bayern Munich full-back Mazraoui, who was later stretchered off injured, seeing a header pushed away by Dominik Livakovic.

Paris St Germain defender Hakimi then had a superb long-range effort denied by Croatia keeper Livakovic after being teed up by Ziyech at a free-kick before the contest faded away into the third goalless draw in the competition’s last four games.

Croatia continue their campaign against Canada on Sunday afternoon, with Morocco facing Belgium earlier that day.

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