In the case of the North Africans, it is evident that the attack should mainly go through the two flanks. Achraf Hakimi and Noussair Mazraoui are known to be strong in attack.
Morocco are on the move again: Achraf Hakimi starts the game on the right flank and puts the ball in the middle. Borna Sosa’s toe deflects the ball straight into the hands of goalkeeper Dominik Livaković.
A little patience game is looming for Zlatko Dalić’s team. The “Lions of Atlas” keep the spaces in their own zone very tight and primarily limit themselves to counterattacks or selective pressing situations.
The North Africans also appear in the opposing penalty area for the first time. Selim Amallah looks half-left for a chance to finish, but is ultimately blocked by several Croatians.
The 2018 runners-up world champion’s first hesitant approach: After Mateo Kovačić won the ball, Andrej Kramarić starts from the left in the box, but the attentive Romain Saïss clears it out of the way.
Morocco gives Croatia the ball in the early minutes and receives the opponent on the halfway line. The Europeans, on the other hand, take it easy and let the leather run comfortably through their own ranks.
It starts at the Al-Bayt Stadium – Fernando Rapallini from Argentina is the referee!
With Joško Gvardiol (RB Leipzig), Borna Sosa (VfB Stuttgart) and Andrej Kramarić (TSG Hoffenheim), Zlatko Dalić ordered three Bundesliga professionals into the starting XI. For Morocco, Noussair Mazraoui (FC Bayern Munich) starts at left-back.
Croatia coach Zlatko Dalić is also preparing for a “difficult game” at the start. Due to the success of the past World Cup, they will “not appear arrogant” and instead approach the upcoming task “realistically”. Luka Modrić reiterated that it is a new tournament and “we have to look at it that way. We must remain humble. The only thing we can guarantee is that we’ll do our best.”
Walid Regragui has only been on Morocco’s coaching bench since the end of August and since then has had a positive record of two wins and a draw. “Croatia is the favourite,” said the 47-year-old, but announced a confident underdog. His team didn’t want to “regret anything” after the match. The North Africans shouldn’t just focus on key player Luka Modrić, but the Europeans as well keep an eye on the collective.
The expectations in Croatia are significantly higher. As the 2018 vice world champions, some experts even have Zlatko Dalić’s team on their list of secret favourites. Recent appearances in the Nations League have shown that this is no exaggeration. There, the “Kockasti” won the group and has recently bagged four wins in a row, although the opponents with France, Denmark and Austria were always well-known. There was also a success in the final World Cup test against Saudi Arabia (1-0).
Morocco are taking part in a final tournament for the sixth time in their history. Only at the 1986 tournament were the North Africans able to survive the preliminary round. And this year, too, the “Lions of the Atlas” are only in the outsider role behind Croatia and Belgium in one of the first two places. Nevertheless, the team should not be underestimated, because with Achraf Hakimi (PSG), Hakim Ziyech (FC Chelsea) and Youssef En-Nesyri (FC Sevilla) there are well-known names from the top European clubs in the squad.
Hello and welcome to the fourth day of the 2022 World Cup! The Croatian team meets Morocco in the opening match of Group F. Kick-off at Al-Bayt Stadium in Al-Khor is at 11 a.m. German time.
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