Germany vs Japan LIVE: World Cup 2022 team news and line-ups from Group E game


Morocco 0-0 Croatia – MATCH REPORT

By Ben Burrows at the Al Bayt Stadium

If Croatia are to match the heroics of four years ago in Russia in Qatar, they will have to make their own bit of history after opening their tournament here with a frustrating stalemate with Morocco.

The Croatians have now failed to win their opening match of a World Cup on four of their six appearances. Following the other three they failed to make it out of their group.

Losing finalists last go around, Luka Modric and Co have high hopes again and with many of the heroes of that famous run suiting up one more time for a last dance, there is still every chance they could do it. But this result, a 0-0 at the Al Bayt Stadium to begin Group F, and the performance to go with it was far from what they were looking for. Indeed it will be group rivals Belgium and Canada who are happiest with the outcome here.

Played out in blazing afternoon sun it was hardly surprising for the tempo of this one to be set early by Croatia, their ever-dependable midfield trio taking charge and controlling things from the middle. At the heart of it was Modric, playing what will surely be his final major tournament of a glittering career, still the arch metronome he has always been, seemingly dictating the pace of everything around him without any remote concern, his otherworldly powers somehow also extending to ensure he avoided any further action for a number of mistimed challenges in defence.

Ivan Perisic, a star four years ago, arrowed over with a speculative long-range effort as they pushed to add some potency to their early possession.

Morocco’s best moments of a largely uneventful first-half came, predictably, through the returning Hakim Ziyech, the Chelsea wide man now back in from the cold under new coach Walid Regragui. A blocked snap shot and dangerous whipped cross in the early exchanges hinted at where their main threat would come. A free-kick bang in range 25 yards out was wastefully hit straight at the wall.

Croatia miss chance to ignite World Cup bid after Morocco stalemate

Morocco 0-0 Croatia: Luka Modric and co. were left frustrated at the Al Bayt Stadium in a result that will please Group F rivals Belgium and Canada

France begin World Cup defence with 4-1 win over Australia

“A striker who was supposed to be dispensable now has only one equal. That’s the story of Olivier Giroud, who just keeps going, and keeps scoring. The 36-year-old finally got the goal he didn’t in 2018 to claim his first in the World Cup in eight years before quickly following it with another.

“That made it 4-1 to France against Australia and was also the 51st goal of his international career, to match Thierry Henry’s record. Giroud may well surpass that in this tournament, a World Cup he wasn’t even expected to start in. This was precisely why Karim Benzema’s injury wasn’t seen as anything close to a disaster by the French, despite his immense quality.

“They’d already won a World Cup with Giroud and, far from the Real Madrid player taking them to another level, the belief is that the team just works better with the Milan striker. He links it all together. Kylian Mbappe certainly enjoys playing with him.

“As regards levels, the reality of this game was that a plucky but hugely limited Australia just couldn’t get close to France.” Miguel Delaney’s match report from Qatar, as France began their World Cup defence with a victory over Australia:

France just reminded the World Cup why they are defending champions

France 4-1 Australia: Olivier Giroud enjoyed a record night and his partnership with the electric Kylian Mbappe gave Les Bleus a familiar look

Germany vs Japan: TEAM NEWS

We move swiftly on to Germany vs Japan at the Khalifa International Stadium!

Team news:

Germany: Neuer; Schlotterbeck, Sule, Rudiger, Raum; Kimmich, Gundogan; Gnabry, Muller, Musiala; Havertz

Japan: Gonda; Sakai, Itakura, Yoshida, Ito, Nagatomo; Endo, Tanaka; Kubo, Kamada, Maeda

Morocco 0-0 Croatia

FULL-TIME: Goalless at the Al Bayt Stadium.

Two teams who very simply cancelled each other out. No clear-cut chances to speak of either, both sides very solid in their shape.

Morocco will be the happier, while Croatia were a tad lacklustre. No repeat of 2018 when they won all three World Cup games.

Onto Belgium vs Canada in Group F later on at 7pm…

France defender Lucas Hernandez ruled out of rest of World Cup

Lucas Hernandez has become the latest France player to be ruled out of the World Cup.

The Bayern Munich defender was forced off in the first half of Tuesday’s 4-1 win over Australia and subsequent scans have shown a rupture of the anterior cruciate ligament of his right knee.

It means Hernandez will be set for a lengthy spell on the sidelines and play no further part in the holders’ attempts to defend their World Cup title in Qatar.

The left back was replaced by brother Theo against Australia.

More details here:

France defender Lucas Hernandez out of World Cup with knee injury

Didier Deschamps was already without five high-profile players in Qatar due to injury

Morocco 0-0 Croatia

90+3 mins: Morocco dominant in the last few minutes but Croatia holding firm – Ziyech loses the ball before lunging in on Modric.

Heading for a point apiece here…

Morocco 0-0 Croatia

90 mins: Six minutes of time added on – could we have some late drama?

Morocco 0-0 Croatia

89 mins: A late change for Croatia: Perisic OFF, Orsic ON.

Not quite been the Tottenham man’s day in Al Khor.

Morocco 0-0 Croatia

88 mins: There’s only been two shots on goal from each team, according to the FIFA statistics.

That, ladies and gents, rather sums up the match… how much added time will we get, however?

Morocco 0-0 Croatia

85 mins: Morocco bit more on the front-foot in this last few minutes, do they sense a winner is available here if they push on a bit more?

Ziyech still doing his best to be the playmaker in midfield. Into the last five (15) we go…

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