Wednesday, 23 November 2022

Croatia and Morocco Ends Without Goals in 2022 World Cup Opener at Al Bayt Stadium

November 23, 2022 - Croatia opened their 2022 World Cup campaign at Al Bayt Stadium against Morocco on Wednesday. 

After an incredible run in 2018, where they finished as World Cup finalists, Croatia opened their 2022 World Cup campaign four years later. Croatia and Morocco met on Wednesday at Al Bayt Stadium in Qatar to kick things off. Croatia is in Group F, with Canada and Belgium up next in their group. 

Dalić and Modrić spoke to the media on Tuesday before the match. Dalić revealed he is satisfied with preparations, although lasting only a week as players gathered in the middle of the club season. Even with the short time together, Dalić said that Croatia is ready for the 2022 World Cup. 

TCN is on the ground in Qatar following Croatia in the group stage of the tournament. It was a balmy 27 degrees Celsius at Al Bayt Stadium, located north of Doha in Al Khor, Qatar. 

The starting lineups for today’s match are as follows:

Morocco: Bono - Hakimi, Aguer, Saiss, Mazraoui - Amrabat, Amallah, Ounahi - Boufal, Ziyech, El-Nesyri

Croatia: Livaković - Juranović, Lovren, Gvardiol, Sosa - Modrić, Brozović, Kovačić - Vlašić, Kramarić, Perišić

Match report

Croatia possessed well in the first minute of the match and played out for a Morocco goal kick. There were howls from the Morocco fans in the stands every time Croatia touched the ball. 

Croatia's first corner came in the 5th minute of the match. Modric and Kovacic played it short, with Luka sending the ball into the box. Morocco ultimately cleared the ball, but it went back into Croatia's possession. 

Morocco had their first dangerous attack in the 7th minute. Croatia's defense cleared it and took back the ball. 

Another slight scare for Croatia happened in the 10th minute when Kovacic lost the ball in Croatia's half. Gvardiol was there to clear it out for a Morocco throw-in.

Hakimi shot in the 13th minute, but it deflected off Croatia's defense and into Livakovic's hands. 

Modric crossed the ball into the penalty area a minute later, with no one in front of the goal to receive it. 

Perisic capitalized on a nearly fatal Morocco mistake, shooting from about 30 meters out with the ball gliding just over the crossbar. 

Ziyech nailed a dangerous ball into the penalty area in the next Morocco attack, but it went out for a goal kick. 

Luka fouled Hakimi right outside the box in the 19th minute. The ref called for a Morocco free kick, which was, fortunately, drilled into Croatia's wall. 

Kramaric had a brilliant attack in the next play and sent the ball back into the center, which went out for Croatia's second corner. 

Morocco had another dangerous play in the 25th minute when En-Nesyri was found in the penalty area. Croatia was holding more possession of the ball, but Morocco was getting more chances at goal.

The stadium exploded into Morocco fan chats often, making this feel like a true home atmosphere for them. 

Brozovic had an impressive attack from the midfield and played Vlasic on the right wing, who had his back turned to the play.  

Another dangerous free kick for Morocco came in the 40th minute, outside the box on the right. Brozovic chested the ball to Modric, and it was ultimately cleared out for a throw-in. 

The match halted in the 42nd minute when Vlasic dropped onto the pitch, complaining of calf pain. After the medics came to assist him, Vlasic decided he could go on.  

Croatia's best chance came when a Perisic and Sosa combo found Vlasic at the top of the box in the first minute of stoppage time, resulting in a brilliant save by the Morocco keeper. Vlasic and Modric both had chances to end the first half.

The match ended 0:0 at halftime. 

The second half started with one sub for Croatia - Pasalic replaced Vlasic. There were no subs for the Morocco team. 

There were no real dangerous attacks in the first five minutes of the second half, and then things started getting interesting. 

Noussair Mazraoui headed the ball into Livakovic's hand. In the next attack, Modric played Juranovic, who crossed into the box. The ball went out for a Croatia corner. Morocco's keeper Bono brilliantly stopped Croatia from scoring, and the match stopped before Morocco could capitalize on a counter-attack as Bono and Mazraoui both called for medical assistance. Both players continued. 

Modric tried playing a long ball into the box in the 58th minute, but no teammates were to be found. Mazraoui was finally subbed off for Atiat-Allah. 

Morocco was awarded a free kick outside the box in the 63rd minute. Hakimi stepped up to take this one which was nailed at Livaovic's goal. Livi punched the shot out for a Morocco throw in. 

Morocco subbed off Boufal for Ezzazouli in the 65th minute. 

Luka intercepted the ball from the Morocco defense in the 66th minute. He and Kramaric tried moving into the box but were denied by the Morocco defense. 

Croatia held possession for the next few minutes, calmly passing around in an effort to tire out the Morocco side.

Kramaric was subbed off for Livaja in the 71st minute. 

Juranovic was fouled on the right wing for a free kick, Luak sent it in, and the ball was played out for a Croatia corner. The cross found Livaja, who chipped back into the box for another Croatia corner. The play ended in the hands of Bono. 

The commentator announced 59,407 fans in the stands for the game. 

Amrabat clipped Modric's back heel for a yellow card. 

Kovacic was subbed off for Majer in the 79th minute. A Morocco handball in Croatia's favor was called for a free kick near the right sideline moments later. Luka sent the ball into the box, which found Gvardiol's head, and went out for a goal kick. 

Morocco's coach entered fresh legs in the 81st minute in hopes of getting a goal. The Morocco fans grew even louder.

Juranovic was founded when running up the line for a Croatia free kick in the 87th minute. 

Perisic was subbed off for Orsic in the 90th minute. Six minutes of stoppage time were added to the end of the match. 

The match ended without goals (0-0). 

Croatia plays Canada next on Sunday, November 27. 

To follow the latest sports news in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page

Tuesday, 22 November 2022

"We're Ready": Zlatko Dalić Satisfied ahead of Croatia's First World Cup Match

November 22, 2022 -  Croatia meets Morocco in their first match of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar on Wednesday. Coach Zlatko Dalić and captain Luka Modrić addressed the press one day before the big game. 

Croatia's first 2022 World Cup match is on Wednesday against Morocco at Al Bayt Stadium. The teams meet at 13:00 local time. 

"There is no easy opponent here. We appreciate and respect Morocco, and we expect a tough match," said Croatia coach Zlatko Dalić ahead of the team's first World Cup match.

"We followed Saudi Arabia's win and Tunisia's draw. Everyone plays well, and surprises are possible. Therefore, we will enter with maximum respect," added Dalić. 

Croatia had only a week of preparations, but Dalić is satisfied with what was done.

"We used this time to get used to the conditions that awaited us. I am very satisfied. We are ready," Dalić said, revealing how he decided on the starting lineup. 

"We chose the highest quality in terms of energy and experience. We don't have any doubts anymore; the guys know the lineup. We have experience and energy, and we have a good mix. A challenging match awaits us. I believe we made the right choice," he said. "Livaja has also recovered and has no problems."

Dalić also spoke about Morocco's quality. 

"We analyzed them. They are a great team. They are well organized. They have great individuals in all positions. I don't want to comment on their decision to change the coach. Halilhodžić is an excellent coach, but that is their business."

According to the latest announcements, Morocco could play with a home atmosphere.

"I know that they will be particularly motivated and that they will have a lot of fans. We are careful and full of respect. We have to be at the maximum level."

Croatia arrived in Doha as the 2018 World Cup finalists and has a series of excellent results behind them. Dalić agreed that Croatia's rivals certainly look at them differently.

"We've had a lot of opponents, and they look at us better than before Russia. We are worthy; we are aware of it. However, we must be realistic and objective. The pressure is high, and the expectations are high. We will not fall into such a trap, and we will go one game at a time. I believe in this team."

Dalić pointed out that Croatia is one of the few in the world who has won two World Cup medals in the last 20 years.

"In the last 20 years, we have won two medals. And there should be commotion around us, but we are preparing in peace. Of course, the first game is important, a good start is important, but it is not crucial," said Dalić.

Modrić also commented on retiring from the national team.

"I haven't made a decision yet. I don't want it to be a topic at the World Cup. I'm here to enjoy and play a good tournament. We'll see how far we can go. We have faith in our abilities. If we play like before, we can do a lot. Tomorrow we have a tough match. I believe we can play well and hope for a favorable result", said Modrić.

Source: HRT and HNS

To follow the latest sports news in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page

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