Moroccan coach Walid Regragui said his team felt as if they were playing at home when they faced Croatia at the Al Bayt Stadium on Wednesday.
The support from the fans was great. “I am proud of playing the World Cup for the first time on Arab soil. Qatar has achieved great success and honour in hosting the event.”
About the team’s performance during the match with Croatia, Regragui said, “We had a fighting spirit, we always wanted to be in possession of the ball and exploit spaces in the back to cause surprise.”
“We dealt in an ideal way with the Croatian national team in tactical terms,” he said.
Morocco and Croatia had a goalless draw, with the two teams sharing a point each.
Regragui pointed out that Croatia was a big team and the runner-up in the previous edition in Russia 2018 and included great players such as Luka Modric . “I think the draw was very good against an opponent of this type.”
He commented: “Possession is not everything in football, in the match between Saudi Arabia and Argentina, the possession was with the Argentinians but it was the Saudis who came out victorious, because it was more efficient both in creating opportunities and using them.”
Regragui said that his team played hard and in such a way to dent the opposition’s effectiveness and prevent them from creating clear opportunities. “We tried taking possession of the ball in order to carry out counterattacks, and we succeeded many times, but we did not succeed in scoring.”
The coach said his players have started preparing for the next match and are determined to make an honourable appearance in the tournament.
At the Al Bayt stadium, thousands of Moroccan fans thronged the stands to watch the Atlas Lions in a game with few chances for both teams to score. Some attempts were ineffective, and Moroccan goalkeeper Yassine Bono excelled in countering Nikola Vlasic’s shot, and Luka Modric shot over the crossbar before the end of the first half.
Morocco’s closest attempts were in the second half, but goalkeeper Dominik levakovic blocked Noussair Mazraoui’s header, followed by Ashraf Hakimi’s powerful shot after a free kick.