Croatia vs Morocco : Croatia secured Third Place at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar after beating Morocco 2-1 in the play-off on Saturday. The win saw Croatia finish in the top three at the World Cup for the second consecutive edition after a runner-up performance in Russia four years earlier.This is the third top-three final for Croatia, who also finished third in the 1998 edition, defeating the Netherlands by the same scoreline of 2–1.
Croatia vs Morocco Match Highlights
The third-place play-off at the Khalifa International Stadium began with a flurry of goals as Croatia took the lead in the seventh minute. Josko Gvardiol scored the opening goal with a superb header after brilliant set-piece play. But it took less than two minutes for Morocco to equalize when Achraf Dar scored in the ninth minute.
Croatia’s victory came in the 42nd minute when Mislav Orsic scored a superb goal just before the half-time break. The 2018 runners-up took the lead in an exciting second half which saw both sides create some good chances.
A bronze medal can be nothing but consolation as both sides suffered semi-final disappointments, but Croatia and Morocco look keen to improve after losing to Argentina and France respectively.
Croatia take the #FIFAWorldCup 3rd spot! 🇭🇷🥉@adidasfootball | #Qatar2022
— FIFA World Cup (@FIFAWorldCup) December 17, 2022
Moroccan fans have turned out in large numbers to support their team in Qatar and Saturday was no different as they jeered and booed the Croatian players whenever they had possession.
However, this did not deter Croatia, who started the game on the front foot and took the lead in the seventh minute through a cleverly worked set-piece.
A floating cross into the box found Ivan Perisic, who skilfully took the ball into the mix, where a masked Gvardiol dived bravely for a header to silence the Moroccan squad, albeit briefly.
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Two minutes later, Morocco responded with a set piece of their own at the other end when a cross bounced off Lovro Major’s head into the box where an unmarked Dari beat the keeper with a header.
Encouraged by the equaliser, the Moroccans began to find flaws in the Croatian defence, their movement and passing helping to create a number of chances. But the African team lacked killer instinct in front of the goal.
Croatia duly punished them in the 42nd minute when an interception in the final third found Orsic, whose curling shot curled beautifully over Yassine Bouno outstretched arm from a tight angle before deflecting off the post.
The second half was not as quick or sharp as the first after a long tournament the two teams, playing their seventh game in Qatar, seemed to have understood.
Croatia were also feeling aggrieved when Gvardiol was tripped up in the box by Sofyan Amrabat – now playing defense with their centre-back injured – but the referee refused to award a penalty.
Youssef En-Nesyri came close when he headed in stoppage time but despite Morocco’s best efforts to equalise, Croatia equaled their 1998 heroics to take the win and the bronze medal who also stood in third Place.
Watch Croatia vs Morocco Match Highlights