Croatia beats Morocco 2-1 to take third place on the World Cup

Croatia’s Luka Modric, entrance, kicks the ball throughout the World Cup third-place playoff soccer match between Croatia and Morocco at Khalifa Worldwide Stadium in Doha, Qatar, Saturday, Dec. 17, 2022.

Frank Augstein / AP Picture

Luka Modric led Croatia to 3rd place in what was doubtless the midfield nice’s final look on the World Cup.

The runners-up from 4 years in the past secured one other medal by beating Morocco 2-1 within the third-place match on Saturday.

Mislav Orsic scored the decisive objective shortly earlier than halftime at Khalifa Worldwide Stadium to make sure Modric completed on a successful observe, if this does develop into his final World Cup match.

On the age of 37, that appears doubtless, even when there are hopes he’ll lead his nation on the 2024 European Championship.

Josko Gvardiol put Croatia forward within the seventh minute, however Achraf Dari evened the rating within the ninth.

It’s the second time Croatia has taken third place. The workforce additionally achieved that feat in its first World Cup as an unbiased nation 1998.

After changing into the primary African workforce to succeed in the World Cup semifinals, Morocco’s match resulted in two losses. However the workforce’s achievements in Qatar will likely be remembered for the outpouring of satisfaction amongst Arab nations.

The World Cup ultimate between defending champion France and Argentina is scheduled for Sunday at Lusail Stadium.

The third-place match is taken into account by some to be a meaningless exhibition. Even Morocco coach Walid Regragui described it as a “booby prize” within the buildup. However neither workforce lacked motivation in a fiercely contested recreation between two nations that few anticipated to go to date.

That was underlined by a bunch of gamers needing to be substituted due to damage within the second half as Morocco pushed for an equalizer.

The groups had already performed out 0-0 draw within the group stage and had made to the semifinals on the again of robust defenses, with a mixed six shutouts. Objectives weren’t an issue this time.

Maybe that was due to the relative freedom of enjoying in a recreation with supposedly little at stake. One other issue for Morocco, at the least, was the absence of three key defenders, Romain Saiss, Nayef Aguerd and Noussair Mazraoui.

The influence of these absences was felt when Croatia took the lead off Gvardiol’s diving header. In a slick transfer, Ivan Perisic flicked a free kick into the center of the penalty field and the middle again did the remainder.

Morocco responded two minutes later when Lovro Majer inadvertently helped on Hakim Ziyech’s free kick and Dari headed in to even the rating.

Croatia’s Mislav Orsic celebrates after scoring his facet’s second objective throughout the World Cup third-place playoff soccer match between Croatia and Morocco at Khalifa Worldwide Stadium in Doha, Qatar, Saturday, Dec. 17, 2022.

Francisco Seco | AP Picture

Croatia, nonetheless, was again in entrance three minutes earlier than halftime.

Orsic picked up the ball on the left of the field and curled a shot towards the highest nook. Morocco goalkeeper Yassine Bounou obtained a contact on the ball, however might solely push it onto the put up on its manner into the online.

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