Home » Morocco Vs Croatia – World Cup 2022: Live Score, Team News And Updates

Morocco Vs Croatia – World Cup 2022: Live Score, Team News And Updates

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11:36

Sofyan Amrabat – Morocco

Call that the live commentator’s curse.

Just as we say what a good job he is doing he cynically clips down Luka Modric, who had done well to drop the shoulder and give him the slip.

Blatant foul, definite yellow.

11:35

76min: It’s been a very tough morning and early afternoon in Qatar for Chelsea and Croatia’s Mateo Kovacic.

He’s not been able to put his stamp on the game at all. Sofyan Amrabat has done a good job swarming that midfield but Kovacic in particular has been quiet.

Croatia are growing into Morocco territory more and more now. Feels very similar to Tunisia vs Denmark yesterday…

11:31

73min: Croatia whipping in crosses like they’ve still got Mario Mandzukic up top.

Ah, the 2018 nostalgia.

Resultant corner from that Pasalic save comes to nothing.

11:30

71min: The newly-introduced Ezzalzouli brings down Josip Juranovic for a free-kick as Croatia freshen it up with Andrej Kramaric going off in place of Marko Livaja.

It’s dealt with exceptionally well to get clear from Morocco but that was a fabulous ball in from Modric and Pasalic wasn’t far away with his header, either.

11:24

MOROCCO SUB

Sofiane Boufal OFF

Abde Ezzalzouli ON

11:23

65min: Morocco have a free-kick 35 yards out and both Hakimi and Ziyech are in deep deliberation about it.

And WHAT A STRIKE it is! Ziyech knocks it off short and Hakimi winds up his right foot to rifle one at goal. It’s got a lot of venom in it but it’s parried well by Dominik Livakovic.

11:22

63min: A real joy to see Achraf Hakimi motoring through the gears down the right and Croatia cannot live with him for pure pace.

His cross goes behind a couple in the box, though, and Croatia get away with it.

Morocco much the better team here, even with that enforced change at left back.

11:19

MOROCCO SUB (61mins)

Noussair Mazraoui OFF

Yahia Attiyat Allah ON

11:18

Noussair Mazraoui is down and has signalled he’s got to go off… he cannot play any further part for Morocco which is a shame for them.

He’s looked very lively down the left-hand side.

Mazraoui is leaving on a stretcher, too.

11:17

59min: It’s been a strange game this from Luka Modric.

His talent is unquestionable and his age has hardly held him back for Real Madrid – but he’s looked a tad out of sorts so far. Some loose passes – a collector’s item with him – and he hasn’t found his own strike from distance either.

Croatia can go as far as he takes them, you feel, and more will be expected in the last 30 minutes.

11:15

Fabulous – and crucial – save to keep it 0-0

11:12

HUGE SAVE!

53min: Modric’s corner is whipped in but Yassine Boumou is very brave, drives into a crowd to punch clear after a flick on from Ivan Perisic at the near post, only to the feet of Dejan Lovren, who sees his stabbed effort frantically cleared.

Morocco look in such control and yet Croatia have that final third quality – it’s finely poised.

11:10

51min: I’ll tell you one thing, these Morocco fans haven’t taken a moment of silence so far, great noise.

On the pitch Croatia have got their hands full. The Morocco press is working brilliantly so far and Croatia are struggling to break the lines and get out.

Sofiane Boufal has taken a speculative aim and he is screaming for HANDBALL on Dejan Lovren.

Ref looks back at him with some disdain.

11:06

We are now getting a very rogue tale of how former Wales striker John Hartson has lots of family from Newfoundland and he could have declared for Canada.

Anyway, still 0-0 a few minutes into the second half.

11:04

Sofyan Amrabat was a no-show so it was 11 v 10…. anyway he’s out now, and we’re off!

11:03

BACK UNDERWAY!

Well, so we thought but no…

11:02

CROATIA SUB

Nikola Vlasic OFF

Mario Pasalic ON

The Atalanta star is on – surely he can offer more out wide?

10:56

HALF-TIME VERDICT

Nigel De Jong: It was not the greatest from both sides, but especially Croatia. They were the runner-up in 2018 but they didn’t know what to do with Morocco’s pressing.

Their energy, their commitment and what I’ve seen in that right side, Croatia are struggling with Hakimi and Ziyech.

Overall, it’s more likely for Morocco to score that first goal.

Hal Robson-Kanu: Morocco have stifled Croatia but the chances have fallen to Croatia. A little bit of quality in key areas… it’s mistakes from Morocco. Does the first goal come from a mistake?

Joe Cole: Dreadful in terms of quality from both teams. The manager has clearly identified the need to stop Brozovic, Modric, Kovacic and there is good intensity in there. Their plan will be to nick the ball, stop the three in there playing, and go. For me, that’s the most important part of the game. Whoever comes out on top in that midfield will win the game.

10:49

HT: 0-0

Not a classic – yet.

10:48

Not-so-vintage Modric

47min: Croatia have suddenly woken up and as Vlasic’s shot is blocked in the area, the ball breaks to Luka Modric on the edge of the area and his left-footed shot sails over the bar uncharacteristically.

That’s the last action of the half, though.

10:46

HUGE SAVE!

45min: Croatia FINALLY come alive and it takes a reflex save from a couple of yards out from Yassine Bounou.

LaLiga’s best goalkeeper last season reacts quickly to prevent a sliding Vlasic from converting a cross fizzed in from the left.

It’s a great ball in by Sosa in fairness but credit to the goalkeeper. The first effort on target and he’s repelled it.

10:42

‘You’re JOKING?!’

42min: Now Hakim Ziyech is fuming with the officials, this time aiming a verbal tirade at the linesman after he is bundled over in the corner by Marcelo Brozovic. No foul.

‘You’re joking, right?’ Ziyech fumes.

‘You are JOKING.’

10:40

40min: Achraf Hakimi is furious at the referee that Luka Modric hasn’t been booked for a blatant pull-back.

Lots of leniency showed to the one-time Ballon d’Or winner so far.

10:39

39min: It’s funny that John Hartson, on commentary for ITV, is already worried about his ‘loads of goals’ claim before the match.

It’s been a solid defence v a solid defence so far.

Smacks of a game that both sides desperately do not want to lose.

I’ll also say it again – Nikola Vlasic and Ivan Perisic have been next to non-existent so far. Just means Croatia have nothing to help it stick up top.

10:36

More FOULS than shots

36min: Croatia committing more fouls (4) than shots so far (1) says it all. Still time for this to become a thriller, though

10:34

Closest Croatia have come…

And even then, it was always rising over the bar… Perisic and Vlasic, the wingers either side of striker Andrej Kramaric need to fix up sharpish

10:30

30min: Croatia are still yet to seriously sting the gloves of Morocco goalkeeper Yassine Bounou and that has to be cause for concern.

They haven’t dominated that midfield battle quite as they would have envisaged when they were looking at the messages of support on the beach at their hotel this morning.

Morocco don’t look overawed – at all – and it is just a lack of final ball that is hurting them currently.

Croatia cannot continue like this with Kramaric so isolated on his own up top.

10:25

26min: First real test of Dejan Lovren’s defending there and he’s fortunate Youssef En-Nesyri can’t do more with a ball over the top.

The Sevilla man keeps himself on side, takes a ball over the top down on his left knee but is shepherded away from goal and away from danger.

Morocco have made the better start, but as Tunisia showed yesterday against Denmark, you need to back it up with a goal.

10:22

Nothing to separate the sides

22 minutes in and we’re still at 0-0… both sides can sense how crucial this match is in the make-up of the group

10:21

21min: Ziyech smacks it into the wall… so much for all that build-up! Croatia hack it clear before breaking through Andrej Kramaric.

The Hoffenheim forward is pretty isolated so far but he does well here and helps a move that wins a corner. From one end to the other in no time.

10:19

20min: Very rash challenge from Luka Modric leads to protestations from Croatia’s players.

Bluntly, it’s a definite free-kick on the edge of the area as Achraf Hakimi beats Modric to the ball. The follow through is definitely a foul.

And this is in Hakim Ziyech range… he’s picked up the ball.

10:17

PERISIC!

17min: Huge chance for Ivan Perisic! That’s not far over the bar at all.

It’s sloppy play from Selim Amallah, who gives the ball away in a central area, 35 yards from goal.

But an eager Perisic rifles a shot over the bar from distance. Best chance of the game so far. It’s livening up slowly but surely.

10:14

15min: Both sides have done a good job so far of nullifying attacks but there’s Hakim Ziyech’s first bit of space to crack a shot off.

It’s a tame one, in all honesty, and an easy save and gather at the near post of Dominik Livakovic.

Nip-and-tuck, as we suspected.

10:11

11min: A long ball from Luka Modric to Nikola Vlasic almost sets him free down the right of the box but Morocco do brilliantly to shepherd it out of play.

Morocco’s defence has plenty of pedigree – Achraf Hakimi could make an argument to be the best full-back in the world – and this won’t be a walk-in-the-park for Croatia.

It’s just a shame there are so many empty seats…

10:08

8min: Morocco have struggled to bring their forward players into the game so far but a word on Sofyan Amrabat, who has been pin-point so far shielding their back-line.

He’s got a big job on his hands as the cover for the centre backs but his interceptions are providing foundations to build counter-attacks on.

If the early exchanges have showed us anything, Amrabat is as key to this game-plan as Ziyech is.

10:05

5min: How these Croatia players can hear themselves think is anyone’s guess as every touch is greeted by a chorus of whistles from the travelling Morocco fans.

Croatia will expect to dominate the early possession and it’s played out as such so far, without any serious attempts made on Yassine Bounou’s goal.

Morocco captain Romain Saiss was sharp just then to nip in ahead of striker Andrej Kramaric to prevent a one-v-one. Corner.

10:02

2min: Croatia in white with red checks while Morocco are in their typical red shirts and green shorts.

Still empty seats being filled but it’s wildly noisy thanks to these Morocco fans.

Morocco look quite happy to let Dejan Lovren have the ball at the back and encourage him to drive forward. The Africans see him as a weak link as they eye their first World Cup win since 1998.

10:00

MATCH UNDERWAY

09:58

More cardboard heads at football please

I can’t get enough of them.

Kick-off seconds away now.

09:55

Morocco fans are loud and proud with their national anthem as they massively outnumber Croatia’s supporters.

Goosebump-stuff.

09:52

Players in the tunnel… not long to wait now for the first of four matches on Wednesday

09:50

Group F is there for the taking!

With Belgium and Canada to play later, there is a real sense among all four teams in Group F that they can qualify.

Both Morocco and Canada will certainly believe they can navigate into the knockout stages and so today’s first group match is of crucial importance.

That could make it nip and tuck to start but a goal will likely open this one up.

We saw two 0-0s yesterday but let’s hope we get much more drama this morning.

09:42

Concern growing over starting Dejan Lovren

Aleksandar Holiga, editor of Croatian channel Telesport, has told BBC Radio 5 Live why there is concern over ex-Liverpool defender Dejan Lovren starting

‘Well, for one thing, it’s Lovren. You’ll remember him at Liverpool. He has seemed very frustrated and worried recently. He has a friend, who is a journalist, who criticised him and said he thought he should retire – that never happened.

‘He gets things in his head. I don’t think him being in that psychological mind is good for Croatia.’

A window of opportunity for Morocco’s attackers to get in his head and exploit, perhaps…

09:35

Kick-off is fast approaching

09:31

Lots of pressure on Ziyech’s shoulders

It’s undeniable that Morocco are heavily reliant on the magic of Hakim Ziyech and today will be no different.

‘Our players will need the best of Hakim Ziyech,’ boss Walid Regragui said this week.

‘When Hakim has this confidence, he is one of the top players in the world. We need him with his quality and he will give everything.

‘It’s going to be a very difficult match, we will adapt and play our hearts out. We will show great motivation and respect for the opponents.

‘Of course, Croatia are favourites in this game – they played in the final of the last World Cup and have the Golden Ball player in Luka Modric.

‘What’s important is we play Morocco’s football with a positive attitude, give everything and afterwards we have no regrets.’

09:20

Any guesses who this man is following today…

As far as face painting goes, good level of commitment from this Croatia fan!

09:13

Cristiano Ronaldo still dominating the news agenda

ITV’s pundits are debating what is next for Cristiano Ronaldo after his Manchester United contract was terminated with immediate effect.

Safe to say the pundits have different views on what comes next.

Nigel de Jong: ‘It’s time for him to look at broader options. If I was in his position I’d go to [Sporting] Lisbon, become majority owner or become player-manager.’

Joe Cole: ‘I feel like the fire still burns for him. You ask him the question now, if Portugal win the World Cup and he wins five or six goals, a return to Real Madrid could open up.’

09:05

TACTICAL BREAKDOWN

It looks like Morocco will line up in a tried and tested 4-2-3-1 system, with Hakim Ziyech on the right and ex-Southampton attacker Sofiane Boufal off the left.

Sevilla striker Youssef En-Nesyri will lead the line.

For Croatia, it’s a very recognisable midfield trio of Luka Modric, Mateo Kovacic and Marcelo Brozovic.

Tottenham’s Ivan Perisic, who has been used as a wing-back in North London, starts on the left of a front three.

09:01

Morocco’s Red Wall

Plenty of Moroccan pride in the bowels of the Al-Bayt Stadium this morning.

Wall to wall RED for the fans that have made the trip from North Africa.

08:50

TEAM NEWS IS IN

MOROCCO XI: Bounou, Hakimi, Saiss, Aguerd, Mazraoui, Ounahi,

Amrabat, Ziyech, Amallah, Boufal, En-Nesyri.

Subs: Hamdallah, Zaroury, Sabiri, Mohamedi, Chair, Aboukhlal, Ezzalzouli,

El Yamiq, Dari, Cheddira, Tagnaouti, El Khannous, Benoun, Attiyat Allah, Jabrane.

CROATIA XI: Livakovic, Juranovic, Lovren, Gvardiol, Sosa, Modric,

Brozovic, Kovacic, Vlasic, Kramaric, Perisic.

Subs: Stanisic, Barisic, Erlic, Majer, Grbic, Livaja, Pasalic, Petkovic, Budimir, Orsic, Vida, Ivusic, Sutalo, Sucic, Jakic.

08:45

Croatia are IN THE BUILDING

The 2018 runners-up have arrived… team news to come imminently!

08:40

Capacity: 60,000 Distance from Doha city centre: 27 miles Designer: Dar Al-Handasah Games: Eight, including the opening match

One of the larger stadiums, the Al Bayt will stage matches right through to the semi-finals of the competition.

The arena is designed to represent Arab hospitality with the structure looking like a traditional Arab tent known as ‘bayt al sha’ar’.

Because temperatures in Qatar can top 30C even in November, it will also have a retractable roof to keep out the heat.

It is the furthest stadium from Doha but fans not wanting to leave can stay in its plush five-star hotel and shopping centre, which will be opened in the venue.

FULL STADIUM GUIDE BELOW.

08:30

TEAM NEWS IN 30 MINUTES

08:26

Tough one to call

Sun is out and the pitch is currently being soaked with the hose.

It’s an interesting dynamic for this one, with Morocco making their sixth appearance at the World Cup, only to not have not progressed past the group stage since 1986.

Then there is Croatia, also making their sixth World Cup appearance. It’s been more of a mixed bag for them with three group stage exits or at least two semi-final berths in the last five.

08:17

Party on the Metro!

Morocco fans are enjoying themselves as they head to the Al-Bayt Stadium this morning… the question is whether they will still be smiling at the final whistle

08:09

It’s the question on everybody’s lips… just who is going to win the World Cup?

SofaScore, who will be providing detailed statistical data for fans to view on Sportsmail and their own website throughout the tournament, have launched the Pick’Em game, where fans can predict the outcome of every single group and knockout game in Qatar.

You have until the end of the group stages – that is until Friday, December 2 when Cameroon play Portugal and Serbia take on Switzerland – to Pick’Em so there’s no time to waste to lock in your selections.

MAKE YOUR SELECTIONS BY CLICKING BELOW.

08:02

‘We need to put 2018 aside and focus on what’s ahead,’ insists Modric

Much of the talk around Croatia is can they repeat the trick and get to the final again?

Everything clicked four years ago and it was at England’s expense in the semi-final that Croatia profited.

But Luka Modric wants the slate wiped clean and nostalgia not to take over.

‘What we’ve been through in 2018 in Russia is unforgettable and indelible in my mind,’ Modric said.

‘Others can continue speaking about it but we need to put it aside and focus on what’s ahead.

‘Many players at the 2018 World Cup in Russia are not here, we have new players, new quality young players with fresh blood and energy.

‘This is a new tournament and we have to look at it that way.’

07:54

Dressing room ready!

07:46

SQUADS EXAMINED

So, we’re still a bit away from team news – expect that closer to 9am – but both managers are not short on options from their squads.

MOROCCO:

Goalkeepers: Yassine Bounou, Munir El Kajoui, Ahmed Reda Tagnaouti

Defenders: Anas Zniti, Achraf Hakimi, Noussair Mazraoui, Ganza Ek Niyssaiyu, Romain Saiss, Achraf Dari, Badr Benoun, Yahia Attiyat Allah, Jawad El Yamiq, Samy Mmaee

Midfielders: Younes Belhanda, Sofyan Amrabat, Azzedine Ounahi, Abdelhamid Sabiri, Ilias Chair, Selim Amallah, Yahya Jabrane, Amine Harit

Forwards: Hakim Ziyech, Munir El Haddadi, Zakaria Aboukhlal, Ayoub El Kaabi, Walid Cheddira, Soufiane Rahimi, Sofiane Boufal, Youssef En-Nesyri, Ryan Mmaee, Abde Ezzalzouli

CROATIA

Goalkeepers: Dominik Livakovic, Ivica Ivusic, Ivo Grbic.

Defenders: Domagoj Vida, Dejan Lovren, Borna Barisic, Josip Juranovic, Josko Gvardiol, Borna Sosa, Josip Stanisic, Martin Erlic, Josip Sutalo.

Midfielders: Luka Modric, Mateo Kovacic, Marcelo Brozovic, Mario Pasalic, Nikola Vlasic, Lovro Majer, Kristijan Jakic, Luka Sucic.

Forwards: Ivan Perisic, Andrej Kramaric, Bruno Petkovic, Mislav Orsic, Ante Budimir, Marko Livaja.

07:37

HOW THE WORLD CUP HAS GONE SO FAR

GROUP A

QATAR 0-2 ECUADOR

SENEGAL 0-2 HOLLAND

GROUP B

ENGLAND 6-2 IRAN

USA 1-1 WALES

GROUP C

ARGENTINA 1-2 SAUDI ARABIA

MEXICO 0-0 POLAND

GROUP D

DENMARK 0-0 TUNISIA

FRANCE 4-1 AUSTRALIA

07:27

Calm before the storm

Eerily quiet at the Al-Bayt stadium… that will change in a couple of hours, though

07:21

It’s certainly not orthodox, changing coach three months before the start of a World Cup.

Many teams dedicate much of their four-year cycle to devising a plan to succeed at this tournament and yet Morocco have ripped up the rulebook of convention for Qatar.

FULL BACKGROUNDER ON MOROCCO HERE.

07:10

It’s a question Sportsmail’s MATT BARLOW was asked and, well, there was only one way to find out.

READ HOW HE GOT ON HERE.

07:02

WEDNESDAY’S WORLD CUP SCHEDULE

So, events are starting with Morocco and Croatia, but what else is on the agenda today?

10:00AM – Morocco v Croatia

1:00PM – Germany v Japan

4:00PM – Spain v Costa Rica

7:00PM – Belgium v Canada

06:49

Saudi Arabia’s stunning upset of Argentina on Tuesday is serving as fuel for Morocco, revealed boss Walid Regragui.

Lionel Messi and Co were stunned in their Group C opener in what has gone down as one of the best upsets in World Cup history.

Now Morocco want their own moment in the spotlight.

‘What is the reality of football as we know it?’ Regragui told a pre-match news conference.

‘I watched the Saudi Arabia game earlier – 31% possession and they had three shots on target, but they won against Argentina, against the best player in history.

‘This shakes things up on the international stage because football actually belongs to everyone.’

FULL SAUDI ARABIA REPORT BELOW.

06:38

Underestimate Croatia at your peril.

Despite their relatively young history at the World Cup, Croatia have made a habit of impressing on the grand stage.

During their inaugural competition in 1998, Croatia surprisingly sealed third place after narrowly crashing out to tournament winners France in the semi-finals.

The question now is can ageing stars like Luka Modric, now 37, put together one last hurrah on the biggest of stages?

READ THE FULL PIECE BY CLICKING BELOW.

06:25

Room with a view!

There’s just under four hours until kick-off in this Group F opener and it appears Croatia’s players are still enjoying their rooms with a beach view.

Time to get their game faces on – rather than flip-flops – though…

06:18

Hakim Ziyech marked Morocco’s final pre-World Cup friendly with a wonder-strike as he scored from behind the half-way line against Georgia.

The Chelsea wide-player was brought in from the cold this September by recently appointed coach Walid Regragui after a falling out with previous incumbent Vahid Halilhodzic.

Fans are now hoping his pre-tournament form can spill over into the opener against Croatia as Morocco look to cause the latest upset in Qatar.

READ MORE BY CLICKING BELOW.

06:09

Have we seen these two face off before?

Yes and no.

Not at a World Cup, no, this is a first.

Their only previous time these two locked horns was in the Hassan II Trophy – a friendly tournament – in December 1996, played in Casablanca, Morocco.

Morocco more than held their own in a game that ended 2-2.

While Croatia won 7-6 on penalties it is a match remembered more so for the three red cards that were shown.

More of the same today…?

06:03

Bring on Group F!

Good morning and welcome to live coverage of the Group F opener between Morocco and Croatia.

The football has come thick and fast so far and there have been a number of upsets and shock results in the first round of games.

Croatia will hope to avoid one of those this morning at the Al Bayt Stadium, in Al Khor, as they target a run that can see them go one better than losing in the 2018 final to France.