Morocco and Croatia played out to a 0-0 draw in their opening World Cup match in Qatar.
The first-half saw a lack of efforts in front of goal from either side, with Morocco’s backline proving difficult to pass through their low-block.
Nicola Vlasic produced Croatia’s best effort in front of goal in the opening 45 minutes, getting on the end of a pass and hitting a first-time shot which forced a brilliant diving save from Morocco goalkeeper Bono.
Croatia came knocking on the door in the early stages of the second-half, with midfielder Sofyan Amrabat blocking an effort on the line from Dejan Lovren’s attempted shot.
Morocco looked dangerous on the counter-attack in the second period of the game but failed to create many chances. Right-back Achraf Hakimi fired a ferocious free-kick straight at Dominik Livakovic, only for him to palm the ball away.
Overall, both sides didn’t offer much going forward and will be pleased with the point earned from the game.
Key moment of the match – injury to Noussair Mazraoui
With a lack of chances being created in the game, Morocco will be hoping the injury to Bayern Munich left-back Noussair Mazraoui isn’t too serious after the 25-year-old suffered a collision in the 54th minute of the game. He was subsequently replaced by Walid Regragui.
In the build-up to Morocco’s World Cup, Mazraoui was seen as one of their most influential players and was mentioned as a person to watch in The Athletic’s Radar.
Mazraoui now has 16 caps for Morocco.
Man of the match – Sofyan Amrabat
Acting as the sole No 6 in the heart of Morocco’s midfield, Amrabat was simply everywhere in the game.
Despite receiving a yellow card midway through the second half, Amrabat won two ground duels while making one clearance, one tackle and two interceptions.
Amrabat also came to the rescue for Morocco, putting in a wonderful block to deny Dejan Lovren from close range which kept the scoreline level.
The African nation proved difficult to break down and a lot of that was due to the determination shown from Amrabat in midfield. If they are to go far in the tournament, they’ll have to rely on him in their upcoming fixtures.
The build-up to the game largely centred around Croatia’s best player and former Ballon d’Or winner, Luka Modric.
The 37-year-old became the first player to play in both the World Cup and European Championships over the course of three decades.
What does the result mean?
The result means Croatia and Morocco both settle for a point apiece in Group F.
Although they go above both Belgium and Canada, one of those two teams could leapfrog either Croatia or Morocco with a win later today.
Morocco will play Belgium on Sunday, November 27, while Croatia play Canada on the same day.
Morocco team guide: A new homegrown coach, Hakim Ziyech and a wiry No 8
Croatia team guide: A successful changing of the guard from 2018
(Photo: Getty Images)