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FIFA World Cup

Qatar FIFA World Cup: Morocco vs Croatia
sokapro-Qatar FIFA World Cup: Morocco vs Croatia

Morocco and Croatia get their 2022 World Cup campaigns underway when they meet in a Group F fixture this afternoon at the Al Bayt Stadium.

Morocco hasn't qualified for the World Cup since the beginning of the millennium on four of their five attempts, with their lone appearance coming in Russia in 2018 making the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup their second. The African nation performed better than their record suggests, only losing 1-0 to Portugal and being denied a historic victory over Spain by an injury-time equalizer despite only earning one point from three group games. Since that early exit, Morocco have underperformed at the Africa Cup of Nations, posting last 16 and quarter-final finishes, but they head into this competition on a five-match unbeaten streak. Victories have been posted against the likes of South Africa, Chile, and Georgia, while they also collected a goalless draw against Paraguay in September.

The African nation is now ranked 22nd in FIFA World rankings and head coach Walid Regragui will be delighted with the trajectory of his team, feeling that Belgium and Croatia should not necessarily expect to qualify for the knockout stages. Croatia are now playing their first world cup fixture after finishing as runners-up in the Russia 2018 FIFA World Cup where they lost to France 4-2 in the final match. A combination of a fortunate draw and over-achievement contributed to that run, and there are signs that Croatia are getting back to their best after losing in the last 16 at Euro 2020. Zlatko Dalic's recently guided Croatia to four successive UEFA Nations League wins a run which included an away victory over France, to top a group that also included Denmark and Austria.

The European nation has lost just once in 16 games since losing 5-3 to Spain in the Euro 2020, a defeat that they avenged by prevailing 3-1 in Austria in their most recent competitive outing. They warmed up to the Qatar FIFA World Cup tournament by beating Saudi Arabia 1-0 last Wednesday. Morocco vs Croatia match is expected to be an intense one with no clear favourite although Croatia might possess an upper hand in the game given their experience on the global football stage.

 (Image: Khel Now)