Welcome to Sportstar’s LIVE blog of the FIFA World Cup game between Croatia and Morocco.
Hakimi is getting into the game. He tries to spiral a cross into the box from the right, but it takes a deflection off a defender and Livakovic gets hold of it.
Croatia loses possession under pressure, but Morocco can’t make it count. Ziyech loses possession cheaply down the right and Croatia settles down on the ball again.
Morocco gets its first attack of the game. Selim Amallah couldn’t get the shot away after losing his footing.
Croatia attacks down the left, but Saiss is quick to snuff out the attack. Croatia wins a corner and a melee ensues in the box, Morocco clears its lines.
Croatia in control of the game as it holds on to the possession for the opening stretch of the game.
Modric’s Croatia begins its World Cup campaign with a clash against Morocco in a sunny day in Qatar and the game kicks off.
Morocco: Bono; Hakimi, Saiss, Aguerd, Mazraoui; Ounahi, Amrabat, Amallah; Ziyech, En-Nesyri, Boufal
Croatia: Livakovic; Juranovic, Lovren, Gvardiol, Sosa; Modric, Brozovic, Kovacic; Vlasic, Kramaric, Perisic
Croatia has won its last five matches and lost once in 16 months, but the 2018 runners-up, led by midfield conjuror Luka Modric, will begin its World Cup campaign against Morocco on Wednesday with little fanfare and few predicting glory.
This is the first FIFA World Cup game between the two sides.
Croatia and Morocco have played against each other only once. It was in 1996 and Croatia won in penalties after a 2-2 draw in normal time.
Morocco has won only one of its last 10 FIFA World Cup games. The win coming in 1998 against Scotland.
Luka Modric will become the first player ever to appear in both FIFA World Cup and European Championships in three different decades.
Ivan Perisic is Croatia’s top goal contributors in major tournaments with 14 goals plus assists.
So unfancied is Zlatko Dalic’s side, which went all the way before succumbing to France in the final four years ago, that bookmakers are offering 50-1 against it lifting the trophy this time around.
That is longer odds than Denmark and in the same ball park as Serbia, which is probably how they like it.
“It is going to be hard. But also it is good that we maybe don’t have so much pressure because we did amazing things in Russia. But we still wish and we still want to achieve more,” forward Andrej Kramaric said.
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With the pressure of expectation lifted off their shoulders, Dalic’s side can go about its business out of the limelight where it will hope to continue a wave of momentum leading into the tournament.
It won its qualifying group conceding only four goals with just one defeat and that came in their opening game away to Slovenia in March 2021.
It also topped its Nations League group ahead of World Cup holders France, Denmark and Austria, and head into the tournament on the back of a winning streak that culminated in a 1-0 victory over Saudi Arabia in their final warm-up friendly.
While it may have lost some of the leading names from its 2018 run, such as striker Mario Mandzukic and midfielder Ivan Rakitic, there is no shortage of talent in its ranks, especially in midfield.
Modric, the player of the tournament in 2018, has one last shot at glory at the age of 37, and will line up against Morocco probably part of an impressive midfield trio alongside Inter Milan’s Marcelo Brozovic and Mateo Kovacic of Chelsea.
Brozovic has shaken off a muscle tear and played 70 minutes against the Saudis, allaying fears about his involvement at the tournament.
It will kick off its Group F campaign at Al Bayt Stadium against a Morocco side whose build-up was overshadowed amid controversy over their coach after they sacked Vahid Halilhodzic in August following a dispute about player selection and replaced him with Walid Regragui.
One of the players at the centre of that dispute, Chelsea winger Hakim Ziyech, was excluded by Halilhodzic for disciplinary reasons but recalled by Regragui despite only starting twice for his club this season.
Morocco, who has appeared in five previous World Cups, also suffered an injury blow when forward Amine Harit was ruled out with a knee injury.
Croatia vs Morocco – Kick off, telecast and live Streaming info
Where will the Croatia vs Morocco World Cup opening match kick-off?
Croatia vs Morocco match will kick-off at the Al Janoub Stadium.
When will Croatia vs Morocco World Cup opening match kick-off?
Croatia vs Morocco match will kick-off at 3:30pm IST on November 23, 2022.
Where can you watch Croatia vs Morocco match in India?
Croatia vs Morocco World Cup opening match will be telecasted live on Sports18 and Sports18 HD. On Android and well as iOS, the 2022 FIFA World Cup will be live streamed on JioCinema.