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Solid Morocco hold Modric’s Croatia at World Cup

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arabnews.com

AL KHOR, Qatar: Morocco held Croatia to a 0-0 draw in their opening game of the World Cup on Wednesday, producing a spirited display against the 2018 runners-up led by Luka Modric.

Backed by Qatar’s large Moroccan community at the Al Bayt Stadium, the Atlas Lions followed up north African rivals Tunisia’s strong performance against dark horses Denmark a day earlier to frustrate Croatia. “This was an extremely difficult game,” said Croatia captain Modric. “I do believe as the tournament goes on we’ll be better and we’ll adopt a more proactive attitude.” Modric insisted Croatia are capable of making another deep run despite a sluggish start in the early afternoon heat. “We’ve not come here to just play and get out the group,” said Modric. “Our ambitions are a bit greater on the basis of our Russia achievement, but we need to take it one step at a time. “Even before the 2018 World Cup we said our primary goal was to make it out the group.

If we manage to do that we can be a dangerous opponent for any team.” Coach Zlatko Dalic had urged Croatia to exercise caution following Saudi Arabia’s shock win over Argentina, a result Morocco captain Romain Saiss said had “opened the door” for the tournament’s less-fancied teams.

Morocco took the game to a Croatia side featuring four players who started the 2018 final but struggled to create genuine chances against a defense marshalled by the experienced Dejan Lovren.

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