World Cup 2022: Morocco coach happy with Croatia draw

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Morocco's Nayef Aguerd challenges Luka Modric of CroatiaCroatia finished the 2018 World Cup as runners-up, while Morocco failed to reach the knock-out stages
Host nation: Qatar Dates: 20 November-18 December Coverage: Live on BBC TV, BBC iPlayer, BBC Radio 5 Live, BBC World Service, BBC Sounds and the BBC Sport website and app. Day-by-day TV listings - Full coverage details

Morocco coach Walid Regragui says holding Croatia to a goalless draw in their first game of the World Cup will give them confidence.

The North Africans, who will also face Belgium and Canada in Group F in Qatar, suffered a group-stage exit in Russia four years ago after losing their first two games.

Their opener against 2018 runners-up Croatia was a largely uneventful encounter with few significant chances.

"When you begin with a loss, your dream is finished," said Regragui, who was only appointed as Morocco coach in late August.

"This game gives us more confidence. I think it's a very good point for us."

The Atlas Lions, who have not won a World Cup match since beating Scotland 3-0 in 1998, forced Croatia goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic into second-half saves with efforts from full-backs Noussair Mazraoui and Achraf Hakimi.

"We were not able to win this match but the outcome was great," Regragui, 47, added.

"We did our best and I am proud of the boys. This match was on a really high level."

But Regragui conceded his team will have to get better if they are to reach the last 16 of the competition.

"We played with balance like the European teams, we wanted to pose a threat to Croatia and get a good result, but the main objective was not to lose. We have to improve and develop a winning mentality," he said.

Morocco's draw means African sides are yet to win a match at this year's finals.

Senegal lost 2-0 to the Netherlands and Tunisia drew 0-0 against Denmark, with Cameroon and Ghana getting their campaigns under way on Thursday and hoping to score the continent's first goal in Qatar.

However, Regragui expressed his thanks for the support of the large number of Moroccan fans in the Al Bayt Stadium.

"We feel that we are home, and I am happy to be in Qatar and the Moroccan and Arab fans in the stands supported us and gave us strength when we felt tired," the former Wydad Casablanca boss said.

Morocco will play Belgium in their next match on on Sunday (13:00 GMT).

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