Headline
** Islami Jubo Khelafat Bangladesh stages a demonstration in front of Baitul Mukarram National Mosque in the capital on Friday to protest the burning of the Holy Quran in Sweden and the Israeli aggression against Palestinian Muslims. ** Shoppers in thousands throng the Dhaka International Trade Fair (DITF) at newly inaugurated Bangabandhu Bangladesh-China Friendship Exhibition Centre at Purbachal on Friday. ** 18 years of Kibria murder Trial deferred repeatedly due to lack of witnesses ** Gas supply shortage hits households, industries ** Production remains halted in 8 Ctg power plants ** Israeli violence BD condemns killing of ten Palestinians ** HC-order to ban single-use plastic items ** 532 students commit suicide in 2022 ** ‘Work of Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant will not be stopped’ ** Protests against Quran burning held across Middle East ** More delay in change will lead to more miseries for people ** Chaos between bench and bar ** Workers busy preparing stalls for the month-long Amar Ekushey Boi Mela, which is scheduled to begin on the Bangla Academy premises and part of Suhrawardy Udyan in the capital from February 1. NN photo ** USAID announces additional $75m assistance for Rohingyas ** Sugar price rises by Tk 5 per kg ** Germany, US, to send battle tanks to help Ukraine fight off Russia ** Israel army kills nine Palestinians ** DCs confce ends with numbers of directives by govt ** ACC files another case against Mannan, 11 others ** Raju arrested over Ekushey Padak journo murder case ** DCs asked to stop illegal sand lifting from rivers ** Refusal of bail and deaths in police custody must be taken as violation of constitutional rights against torture and right to life ** Hike gas prices in phases: BGMEA ** Presidential election scheduled for Feb 19 ** ‘Distorted history in textbooks to lead the nation to destruction’ **

Pressure off unfancied Croatia as they begin against Morocco

23 November 2022
Pressure off unfancied Croatia as they begin against Morocco

Croatia\'s midfielder Luka Modric (centre) and his teammates take part a training session at the Al Ersal training camp in Doha on Monday. Agency photo


Agency :
Croatia have won their last five matches and lost once in 16 months, but the 2018 runners-up, led by midfield conjuror Luka Modric, will begin their World Cup campaign against Morocco today with little fanfare and few predicting glory.
So unfancied are Zlatko Dalic's side, who went all the way before succumbing to France in the final four years ago, that bookmakers are offering 50-1 against them lifting the trophy this time around.
That is longer odds than Denmark and in the same ball park as Serbia, which is probably how they like it.
 "It is going to be hard. But also it is good that we maybe don't have so much pressure because we did amazing things in Russia. But we still wish and we still want to achieve more," forward Andrej Kramaric said.
With the pressure of expectation lifted off their shoulders, Dalic's side can go about their business out of the limelight where they will hope to continue a wave of momentum leading into the tournament.
They won their qualifying group conceding only four goals with just one defeat and that came in their opening game away to Slovenia in March 2021.
They also topped their Nations League group ahead of World Cup holders France, Denmark and Austria, and head into the tournament on the back of a winning streak that culminated in a 1-0 victory over Saudi Arabia in their final warm-up friendly.
While they may have lost some of the leading names from their 2018 run, such as striker Mario Mandzukic and midfielder Ivan Rakitic, there is no shortage of talent in their ranks, especially in midfield.
Modric, the player of the tournament in 2018, has one last shot at glory at the age of 37, and will line up against Morocco probably part of an impressive midfield trio alongside Inter Milan's Marcelo Brozovic and Mateo Kovacic of Chelsea.
Brozovic has shaken off a muscle tear and played 70 minutes against the Saudis, allaying fears about his involvement at the tournament.
They will kick off their Group F campaign at Al Bayt Stadium against a Morocco side whose build-up was overshadowed amid controversy over their coach after they sacked Vahid Halilhodzic in August following a dispute about player selection and replaced him with Walid Regragui.
One of the players at the centre of that dispute, Chelsea winger Hakim Ziyech, was excluded by Halilhodzic for disciplinary reasons but recalled by Regragui despite only starting twice for his club this season.
Morocco, who have appeared in five previous World Cups, also suffered an injury blow when forward Amine Harit was ruled out with a knee injury.

Add Rate