Morocco and Croatia played out a goalless draw in the first game from Group F at the 2022 World Cup.
As is proving to be the case with a number of matches in Qatar, it was a cagey start with neither team able to take control of the game.
Croatia enjoyed more of the ball early on but it was Morocco that looked the more threatening of the two sides going forward, getting into good positions but lacking the end product.
That being said, it was Ivan Perisic who first came close to opening the scoring, firing just over the bar from long range after 17 minutes.
Little of note then happened until the very end of the first half, when Nikola Vlasic got on the end of a Borna Sosa cross only to have his effort saved by Bono, before Luka Modric hit the ball just over the bar after it fell to him at the edge of the box.
There were only two minutes of stoppage time which, given how much has been added in most matches, speaks volumes about what a quiet first 45 minutes it was.
Morocco had their first major chance of the match straight after the break when Noussair Mazraoui had a diving header from close range saved by Dominik Livakovic, while they also had a penalty appeal turned down, believing a shot from Sofiane Boufal had been blocked by an arm.
Croatia then came close again in the 51st minute with Bono clawing away a corner that Modric fired dangerously across the face of goal.
At that point, it looked like the game would open up but that didn’t prove to be the case with little action at either end until the 64th minute when Achraf Hakimi had a long shot punched away by Livakovic after being set up by Hakim Ziyech.
Croatia were the ones to take the initiative after that, with most of the game being played in Morocco’s half, but the 2018 finalists struggled to create an opening.
Morocco wrestled back some control in the closing stages but neither side was able to create even half a chance, even with six minutes of added time.
The match ended 0-0, with both sides probably deserving of a point from their opening game but nothing more.
Amrabat did well in midfield / Pixsell/MB Media/GettyImages
GK: Bono – 7/10 – Made two really good saves from Vlasic and Modric and did well claiming crosses.
RB: Achraf Hakimi – 6/10 – Came close with a great effort but couldn’t contribute much more going forward. Defensively, he didn’t do much wrong.
CB: Nayef Aguerd – 6/10 – Didn’t have too much to do but performed well on the rare occasions that he was called upon.
CB: Romain Saiss – 6/10 – See above. Not a lot in this game.
LB: Noussair Mazraoui – 6/10 – Defended well and got into some good positions going forward before going off injured.
CM: Azzedine Ounahi – 6/10 – Made a few good passes and tackles, winning most of his duels.
CM: Sofyan Amrabat – 7/10 – Ran the show at the heart of the midfield for much of the game and made an important clearance.
CM: Selim Amallah – 5/10 – Won the ball back a few times but didn’t do much in possession.
RW: Hakim Ziyech – 5/10 – Started well, putting in some really dangerous balls, but did nothing in the second half.
CF: Youssef En-Nesyri – 5/10 – Did fairly well in the air against the Croatia centre-backs but didn’t do much else.
LW: Sofiane Boufal – 4/10 – Was largely invisible when he was on the pitch.
SUB: Yahia Attiyat Allah (60′ for Mazraoui) – 5/10
SUB: Abdessamad Ezzalzouli (66′ for Boufal) – N/A
SUB: Abderrazak Hamdallah (81′ for En-Nesryi) – N/A
SUB: Abdelhamid Sabiri (81′ for Ounahi) – N/A
Manager: Walid Regragui – 7/10 – Set his side up to nullify Croatia’s threats and secured a decent point that could have been three on another day.
A disappointing day for Modric / Fantasista/GettyImages
GK: Dominik Livakovic – 6/10 – Was expected to make the two saves that he made, but made them nonetheless.
RB: Josip Juranovic – 6/10 – Was fine at the back but didn’t do much at the other end.
CB: Dejan Lovren – 6/10 – Looked steady at the back.
CB: Josko Gvardiol – 7/10 – Was defensively solid and did some good stuff in possession.
LB: Borna Sosa – 6/10 – Created the biggest chance of the game with a good cross but was quiet after that.
CM: Luka Modric – 5/10 – A poor performance by his standards, with the Real Madrid man missing a big chance and losing the ball a lot. His set-pieces were good, though.
CM: Marcelo Brozovic – 6/10 – Get things ticking over nicely and protected his backline.
CM: Mateo Kovacic – 5/10 – Got on the ball a lot but did precious little with it.
RW: Nikola Vlasic – 4/10 – Struggled to get involved in the 45 minutes he played and missed a big chance.
CF: Andrej Kramaric – 4/10 – Failed to make any impact, having no shots and making just 11 passes.
LW: Ivan Perisic – 5/10 – Came close with a good effort and worked hard, but would have been hoping to do more going forward.
SUB: Mario Pasalic (45′ for Vlasic) – 4/10 – Barely noticed he was playing.
SUB: Marko Livaja (71′ for Kramaric) – N/A
SUB: Lovro Majer (79′ for Kovacic) – N/A
SUB: Mislav Orsic (90′ for Perisic) – N/A
Manager: Zlatko Dalic – 4/10 – Really should’ve found a way to break Morocco down given the quality he had at his disposal.