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Orsic’s stunner lifts Croatia over Morocco in World Cup third-place game

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Joe Prince-Wright, Nick Mendola and Andy Edwards look ahead to the third-place playoff between Croatia and Morocco, as two impressive sides look to finish strong in Al Rayyan.

Croatia and Morocco staged a surprisingly intense third-place game at the 2022 World Cup, the Europeans emerging a 2-1 victor after 90 minutes in Qatar.

Josko Gvardiol and Mislav Orsic scored for Croatia, which finishes third for the second time at a World Cup having done so in 1998.

WATCH CROATIA v MOROCCO FULL MATCH REPLAY STREAM

Morocco finishes fourth after becoming the first African nation to reach a quarterfinal (and, of course, a semifinal and third-place match) at a World Cup. Achraf Dari scored for the Atlas Lions.

Luka Modric, 37, was the star for Croatia and the fact the 2018 runners-up made it to the semifinals was a huge shock. They started well in that game against Argentina before Lionel Messi ran the show.

[ LIVE: World Cup 2022 schedule, how to watch, scores, hub ]

As for Morocco, the Atlas Lions were the tournament darlings as a real surprise package of this tournament. Walid Regragui’s side made history and they pushed France all the way but it wasn’t to be as defensive injuries caught up with them.


Josko Gvardiol goal video

Achraf Dari goal video

Mislav Orsic goal video


How to watch Croatia vs Morocco live, stream link and start time

Kick off: 10am ET - Saturday, December 17Stadium: Khalifa International Stadium, Al RayyanTV channels en Español: TelemundoStreaming en Español: Peacock (all 64 matches)


Key storylines, players to watch closely

Croatia’s midfield is key as Modric, Mateo Kovacic and Marcelo Brozovic are so well-balanced and drive them forward. That trio demands the ball and when they have it, Croatia’s entire team slides forward. Losing Brozovic to injury against Argentina was a blow that Croatia just couldn’t recover from. The heroics of goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic helped get them to the semifinals and this is a wily team which is capable of hanging in there and making the most of small opportunities in attack.

Morocco were hit by defensive injuries during the tournament as captain Romain Saiss had to limp off after 20 minutes of the semifinal, while Noussair Mazraoui only made it to half time in that game. Both are unlikely to feature in this game. Elsewhere Sofyan Amrabat has been incredible in midfield and is a contender for player of the tournament, while Azzedine Ounahi has been superb alongside him. Sofiane Boufal and Hakim Ziyech have been excellent out wide and give Morocco creativity and a cutting edge, while at the other end goalkeeper Yassine Bounou has stood tall. There have been so many heroes during Morocco’s amazing run at this World Cup and they will feel it deserves to end with a bronze medal.


Croatia quick facts

Current FIFA world ranking: 12
World Cup titles: 0
World Cup appearances: 6
How they qualified: Qualified automatically from UEFA (1st place)
Coach: Zlatko Dalic
Key players: Luka Modric, Andrej Kramaric, Mateo Kovacic, Dominik Livakovic, Josko Gvardiol
Path to the third-place match: Finished second in Group F; beat Japan on penalty kicks in last 16; beat Brazil on penalty kicks in quarterfinal; lost to Argentina 3-0 in semifinal

Morocco quick facts

Current FIFA world ranking: 22
World Cup titles: 0
World Cup appearances: 6
How they qualified: Qualified automatically from CAF
Coach: Walid Regragui
Key players: Achraf Hakimi, Yassine Bounou, Youssef En-Nesyri, Romain Saiss, Hakim Ziyech
Path to the third-place match: Finished first in Group F; beat Spain on penalty kicks in last 16; beat Portugal 1-0 in quarterfinal; lost to France 2-0 in semifinal


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