Group F of the World Cup in Qatar started this Wednesday (23), with a goalless draw between Morocco and Croatia, at Al Bayt Stadium, in Al Khor. It was the third 0-0 of this World Cup, even before the end of the first round.
— FIFA World Cup (@FIFAWorldCup) November 23, 2022
It was the first time, after 11 games, that the Croatians, current world runners-up, did not score in a World Cup game. The Lions of the Atlas, as the Moroccans are known, are still without a win in their World Cup debut. They repeat the result of the 1986 edition, in Mexico, when they also did not come out of zero against Poland. Coincidentally, that was the only occasion on which the Moroccan team reached a knockout stage of the competition.
The key still has Belgium and Canada, who will face each other later, at 4 pm (Brasília time), at the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium, in Al Rayyan. The match marks the Canadians’ return to a Cup after 36 years.
The Moroccans and Croats return to the field this Sunday (27) for the second round of Group F. At 10 am (Brasília time), the Atlas Lions face Belgium at Al Thumama Stadium, in Doha. Then, at 1 pm, the current world runners-up will face Canada at the Khalifa International Stadium, also in the Qatari capital.
Marking locks Modric and company
Morocco’s forward lines were a test of patience for the Croatians in the first half, which had very few emotions. Having more possession of the ball (51%, against 36% of the rivals and 13% in dispute for both sides) was insufficient for the Europeans, very far from each other on the field, facilitating the work of the well-fitted African marking. The Moroccans, in turn, did little in attack, always blocked in attempts to finish.
— Team du Maroc (@EnMaroc) November 23, 2022
The only highlights of the first half of the game came in stoppage time. First, the side borna sosa advanced on the left and crossed to the midfielder Nikola Vlasic finish first, in the small area, forcing the goalkeeper Yassine Bounou to a beautiful defense. Next, the star Luka Modric had the chance to finish from the edge of the area, after a leftover shot by Vlasic, which was blocked by the marking, but the ball finished by the midfielder rose just above the crossbar.
The teams seemed to come back from the break more connected. At five minutes, the striker’s kick Sofiane Boufalfrom the edge of the area, exploded at the defender Dejan Lovren🇧🇷 On the left, the side Noussair Mazraoui appeared as a fish, in the small area on the left, stopping at the goalkeeper Dominik Likakovic🇧🇷 The answer came the next minute, with the steering wheel Sofyan Amrabat blocking the tackle by Lovren, who tried to take advantage of Bounou who was down after the ball was brought into the area from a corner kick by Modric.
However, it didn’t take long for the game to become truncated again. Satisfied with the result, Morocco retreated and congested the defense with two lines of four and the coach Walid Regragui holding the substitutions for the final 15 minutes, physically keeping the entire appointment. With Modric out, the Croatian coach, Zlatko Dalicchanged the attack pieces that were also in uninspired day, like Ivan Perisic and Andrej Kramaricbut without the changes taking effect and changing the match.