2018 World Cup finalists Croatia will begin their 2022 FIFA World Cup campaign this Wednesday when they face Morocco at the Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor.
Venue: Al Bayt Stadium (Al Khor)
Morocco are currently on a run of seven internationals without defeat (W5, D2).
They have a poor record against active UEFA nations currently in FIFA’s top-40 (W8, D9, L18).
Morocco are the first African country to top their group in a World Cup.
Croatia are unbeaten in their last six games (W5, D1).
They have three clean sheets from their last five games.
Luka Modrić is the second-most capped European in Qatar behind Cristiano Ronaldo.
None of Croatia’s five prior World Cup openers (W2, L3) have ended level.
Head to head
This is the first meeting between both sides.
Latest performances in all competitions
Morocco will launch another attempt to better their all-time best World Cup run when they face Croatia at the Al Bayt Stadium, which hosted the opening game between Qatar and Ecuador.
The Atlas Lions reached the Round of 16 in 1986 and became the first African nation to top a World Cup group.
Under former Morocco international Walid Regragui, the Atlas Lions will be slightly confident of enjoying a solid run in the tournament. They currently are a run of seven internationals without defeat (W5, D2).
However, Morocco’s all-time record vs active UEFA nations currently in FIFA’s top-40 remains very bleak (W8, D9, L18), so they will have to dig in this time to get a result against Croatia.
Possible Morocco starting line-up
Yassine Bounou; Noussair Mazraoui, Romain Saiss, Nayef Aguerd, Achraf Hakimi; Azzedine Ounahi, Sofyan Amrabat, Selim Amallah; Hakim Ziyech, Youssef En-Nesyri, Sofiane Boufal.
After a strong run in the 2018 World Cup edition, Croatia have another chance at making history this year, beginning with this game against Morocco.
Since finishing second in the World Cup last year, Croatia have sustained their upward trajectory and come into this tie in good shape. They are currently ranked 12th in the FIFA rankings, so they are expected to qualify from the group.
Croatia is led on-field by Russia 2018’s official ‘Best Player’ and reliable captain, Luka Modrić. Their high self-esteem has been most lately upheld by reaching the 2023 UEFA Nations League finals earlier this year after finishing Group A1 with four wins. They come into this fixture unbeaten in their last six games, with five wins in their last five games.
So there will be much determination, especially with half of the 12 outfield players used in their 4-2 grand final defeat to France four years ago travelling to Qatar alongside coach Dalić.
Possible Croatia starting line-up
Dominik Livakovic; Josip Juranovic, Dejan Lovren, Josko Gvardiol, Borna Sosa; Luka Modric, Marcelo Brozovic, Mateo Kovacic; Mario Pasalic, Andrej Kramaric, Ivan Perisic.
Morocco 1-3 Croatia