Croatia, runners-up at the last World Cup, were held to a 0-0 draw by Morocco at the Al Bayt Stadium this morning as Group F began with a frustrating game at the Al Bayt Stadium.The Croats,who beaten by France in the Moscow final four years ago, had the better of the chances, with Dejan Lovren having an effort cleared off the line and Nikola Vlasic's close shot saved by the legs of Morocco goalkeeper Yassine Bounou. Morocco striker Youssef En-Nesryi might have given the north Africans an early lead but was unable to get a decent touch onto Hakim Ziyech's dangerous cross.
In the second half Achraf Hakimi's powerful free kick was parried by Croatia goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic. Up next in the group will be Belgium taking on Canada in the final game on day four. Read back the game below with Standard Sport’s dedicated match blog.
Morocco vs Croatia latest news
How to watch: ITV and ITV Hub
Morocco 0 - 0 Croatia
Thanks for joining us!
13:47 , Marc Mayo
Recap the action with our match report.
12:04 , Alex Young
There was one 0-0 draw at the last World Cup. We’ve had three in the last 24 hours.
Reminds me of the 2010 World Cup with a few slow starts.
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An opportunity missed for both teams, but in truth neither deserved to win.
Group F begins with a goalless draw, Belgium and Canada face off in the final game of the day.
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96min: That’s it! A deserved draw in two evenly-matched teams.
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93min: Ziyech has been invisible in this second half.
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90min: Six minutes added on.
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89min: Morocco fans trying to lift their team for one last push. Croatia replace Perisic with Orsic.
11:44 , Alex Young
85min: Morocco are going for this, they’ve just replaced striker En Nesyri with a like-for-like change in Hamdallah. Huge cheers from the largely Moroccan crowd.
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80min: Kovacic, who was a fitness doubt ahead of the game, is off.
Majer is on for the final 10 minutes or so.
11:36 , Alex Young
78min: Amrabat earns the game’s first yellow card with a late challenge on Modric.
11:35 , Alex Young
76min: Modric is starting to purr now and is back to being at the centre of everything.
Perisic fouls Hakimi, though, to stop their momentum.
11:33 , Alex Young
73min: Croatia really pushing now but Morocco are ready to pick them off on the counter.
You certainly get the feeling there will be a late goal, but likely only one.
11:30 , Alex Young
70min: Another change for Croatia as Kramaric is replaced by Livaja.
Modric went whips in probably his best delivery of the game, from the right-hand side, which Morocco head behind.
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65min: Hakimi goes for goal! A blistering shot from more than 30 yards which the keeper Livakovic can only parry but it’s impressive enough that he managed that.
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63min: Boufal is a livewire, really fun to watch.
Croatia give away another free kick, this time around 30 yards out. Morocco surely looking to fizz this one into the six-yard box.
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61min: Attiat-Allal is on in his place.
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59min: A break in play as Mazraoui is down injured and needing treatment.
He has tried to continue but has been withdrawn.
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56min: Croatia feel like they have more of a foothold in this game now. Modric, though, isn’t purring quite yet - a few misplaced passes.
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52min: A great dink to the back post by Juranovic but it’s over the head of three team-mates.
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48min: Croatia starting the second half has they did the first, with the ball at their feet. Morocco not shying away though.
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46min: ...and we’re back underway.
11:03 , Alex Young
We have had a Croatia change as Pasalic is on for Vlasic.
10:55 , Alex Young
Morocco have been the better team for me. Croatia had a couple of late chances but have otherwise underwhelmed.
A wonder if the Europeans will make any changes at the break.
10:47 , Alex Young
47min: That’s your lot for the first half! A, er, slow burner.
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45min: A shot on target from Vlasic, and that’s a great point-blank save from Bounou.
Just two minutes added on!
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44min: Croatia have really toiled here.
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41min: Another poor delivery from Ziyech.
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40min: Another free kick for Morocco, this time Modric on Hakimi.
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37min: The best move of the game from Croatia as Modric, Brozovic and Kovacic finally combine in midfield to find a rare surprised Kramaric in attack, who hesitates and allows Morocco to eventually clear.
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34min: Croatia’s gameplan perhaps becoming clearer. Another foul on Boufal and that’s four from Croatia across the board, compared to just one shot.
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30min: Oof, Modric is lucky to get away with that one. He hacks down Amrabat from behind and the referee doesn’t feel the need to have a word.
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27min: Certainly a far more even game as we approach the half-hour mark. Not much in the way of goalmouth action, though.
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24min: Faint calls for a penalty as Hakimi’s cross hits Sosa inside the area, but the referee is rightly uninterested.
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21min: Ziyech fires straight into the wall.
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19min: Modric gives away a free kick on the edge of the area. Ziyech and Boufal will be licking their lips.
10:17 , Alex Young
17min: Almost a gift for Croatia as Amallah passes straight to Perisic. The Spurs man takes a touch and hits a drive from 30 yards which sails narrowly over.
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13min: A first shot on target and it’s from Morocco and Hakimi on the right-hand side of the area. It takes a slight nick on its way through and Livakovic gets low at his near post to smother.
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9min: Croatia are essentially the away team here. Vastly outnumbered in the stands and getting whistled every time they touch the ball, which is a lot.
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6min: Morocco can’t seem get a foothold just yet. Croatia enjoying all the early possession without yet carving out a chance.
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3min: Plenty of whistles from the stands in the opening minutes, I think largely from the Morocco fans as Croatia get their feet on the ball in the early stages.
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1min: Here we go! Game one on day four.
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Here come the teams. Stadium is bouncing!
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The stadium was looking a little empty as we approached kick-off, but fans appear to be coming in in strong numbers now.
Morocco fans making a noise.
09:42 , Alex Young
We are edging closer to kick-off here, with just 15 minutes or so to go. Both squads are back in their dressing rooms.
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Morocco are going through their final warm-ups, which somehow look like a work of art.
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The Croatia fans don’t half go all out. My word.
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So, Hakim Ziyech and Mateo Kovacic, both of Chelsea, start for their respective countries while Nayef Aguerd, who is based across London at West Ham, also gets the nod for Morocco.
It’s good news across the board for both teams. Tottenham’s Ivan Perisic takes up a forward role for Croatia.
Croatia XI: Kovacic fit again
09:00 , Alex Young
Croatia: Livakovic, Juranovic, Lovren, Gvardiol, Sosa, Modric, Brozovic, Kovacic, Vlasic, Kramaric, Perisic
Subs: Stanisic, Barisic, Erlic, Majer, Grbic, Livaja, Pasalic, Petkovic, Budimir, Orsic, Vida, Ivusic, Sutalo, Sucic, Jakic
Morocco XI: Ziyech starts
08:59 , Alex Young
Morocco: Bounou, Hakimi, Saiss, Aguerd, Mazraoui, Ounahi, Amrabat, Ziyech, Amallah, Boufal, En-Nesyri
Subs: Hamdallah, Zaroury, Sabiri, Mohamedi, Chair, Aboukhlal, Ezzalzouli, El Yamiq, Dari, Cheddira, Tagnaouti, El Khannous, Benoun, Attiyat Allah, Jabrane
08:51 , Alex Young
Team news is imminent from the Al Bayt Stadium as fans begin to arrive.
Morocco inspired by Saudi Arabia
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Morocco coach Walid Ragragui says his squad have been fired up by Saudi Arabia's stunning upset of World Cup hopefuls Argentina.
"What is the reality of football as we know it?" Regragui told a pre-match news conference.
"I watched the Saudi Arabia game earlier - 31% possession and they had three shots on target, but they won against Argentina, against the best player in history.
"If Croatia doesn't allow us to have full possession tomorrow, OK, then we need to be very strong at the back. If they decide to give us that playing time, then we need to know exactly what we're doing with the ball when we have it."
Modric not expecting 2018 repeat
08:31 , Alex Young
Croatia captain Luka Modric has moved to temper expectations ahead of this morning’s game, insisting a repeat of his nation’s run to the final four years ago is unlikely.
Modric was named the best player at the Russia tournament in 2018 as Croatia eventually lost to France in the showpiece.
"Definitely, what we've been through in 2018 in Russia is unforgettable and indelible in my mind. Others can continue speaking about it but we need to put it aside and focus on what's ahead," Modric told a news conference.
"Many players at the 2018 World Cup in Russia are not here, we have new players, new quality young players with fresh blood and energy. This is a new tournament and we have to look at it that way."
08:19 , Alex Young
A very difficult game for Morocco, but they have certainly have the quality to hurt a Croatia team slow in places.
A 1-1 draw.
Croatia team news: Chelsea’s Kovacic available
08:06 , Alex Young
Croatia have a midfield most would envy with Luka Modric, Marcelo Brozovic and the fit-again Mateo Kovacic arguably the best combination available to any team contesting the tournament in Qatar.
Tottenham’s Ivan Perisic also provides vast experience and is able to operate up and down the left flank.
Morocco team news: West Ham’s Aguerd is fit
07:56 , Alex Young
Hakim Ziyech is back in the fold after a managerial change in the Moroccan camp and headlines a talented group of players.
Paris Saint-Germain’s Achraf Hakimi and Bayern star Noussair Mazaroui are being tipped as perhaps the best full-back pairing in the competition as a whole.
Nayef Aguerd is fit enough to start in central defence now the West Ham star is over his injury.
How to watch
07:46 , Alex Young
TV channel: The game will be broadcast free-to-air on ITV1 with coverage starting at 9am GMT.
Live stream: The ITV Hub will offer a free live stream.
07:33 , Alex Young
Hello and welcome to day four of the World Cup in Qatar. Wednesday sees further teams tipped to go deep into the tournament kick off their campaign, and first up is 2018 finalists Croatia against Mexico.
Kick-off at the Al Bayt Stadium is at 10am GMT. Stick with us.