Will Morocco write more history or will Croatia continue their impressive record under Zlatko Dalić and pick up another World Cup medal? Croatia and Morocco met in the Khalifa International Stadium for the third-place match of this year’s World Cup.
Croatia started the game on the ascendancy. They dominated possession and posed the most threat.
Morocco soon grew into the game and showcased their quality in and out of possession.
An intricate free kick routine that was surely practiced on the training ground worked out perfectly for Croatia. Modric left the ball, Majer crossed it into Perisic who found Gvardiol with a back header. The RB Leipzig defender made no mistake about putting his team ahead on the night.
Exactly two minutes later, Majer went from hero to zero. Ziyech’s cross deflected off his head and it fell to Achraf Dari who scored his first international goal for Morocco. 1-1 after nine minutes.
Boufal thought he was fouled in the middle of the pitch but the referee thought not and Croatia now had a breakthrough. Orsic’s shot was blocked by his own teammate but the ball was recycled to Perisic who found Kramaric with a first-time cross but it was saved by Bounou.
In the 23rd minute, Modric got the ball on top of the 18-yard box. He kept pivoting until he found the best angle to have a shot and he tested Bounou with a thunderous left-footed strike.
A lovely sequence between Ziyech and Hakimi saw the right back with acres of space down the right flank. He tried to find Youssef En-Nesyri but his cross was too heavy.
Ziyech found En-Nesyri at the first post from a corner but his flick-on failed to test Livaković.
Two minutes before halftime, Orsic put his team ahead for the second time on the night with one of the goals of the tournament. The lovely, curled finish into the inside of the far post put his team in a great position to win this match and claim third place.
Orsic opened the second half with another wonder strike but it deflected behind for a corner.
The pace of the game had decreased tremendously but Morocco were still pushing for the equalizer.
In the 70th minute, Nikola Vlasic drove into some space and unleashed a shot but it flew over the bar.
Minutes after his claim for a penalty, Gvardiol’s fumbled clearance fell to En-Nesyri but he couldn’t beat the keeper from close range.
Kovacic had an opportunity to seal the victory for his country in the 86th minute. The Chelsea midfielder was free in the box after a lovely ball by Orsic but he shot just wide of the far post.
En-Nesyri had the last chance of the game after a piece of brilliance by Attiyat Allah down the left flank but his header went just over the bar.
Croatia claimed third place in the FIFA World Cup 2022. A wonderful tournament from a brilliant team. Morocco’s efforts didn’t go unnoticed and their performance throughout the tournament will be remembered for decades to come.
TL//DR: Croatia vs. Morocco
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