Croatia will play their second third-place match at the world cup while Morocco will play their first tonight.
The very first time Croatia took part in a FIFA world cup in 1998, they finished third. Last time, they were the runners-up – which just goes on to show how dangerous they are as a team once they get past the group stages. Morocco, on the other hand, have already created history by becoming the first African country to enter the semi-final. Tonight, they’ll get another chance to create history by becoming the first African country to finish third.
Croatia got totally overwhelmed by Lionel Messi-led Argentina in the semi-final even though they started quite strongly. Zlatko Dalic’s side reached the semi-finals without managing to win in normal time in the knockout stages. They defeated Japan in the Round of 16 and Brazil in the quarter-finals, both by penalty shoot-outs. This simply goes to show that Luka Modric’s team has failed to score enough goals in this tournament, with the only exception being the Canada match where they won 4-1. Croatia, a team that has frequently demonstrated their skill in extra time and penalty shootouts, won’t be happy to know that the third-place match has never been decided on penalty kicks.
Following their victories on penalties over Belgium and Spain in Qatar 2022, Portugal were their next victim from Europe in the quarterfinals – thanks to the Atlas Lions’ committed second-half effort. Despite Morocco’s valiant efforts against France, the defending champions managed to score twice to defeat their African opposition. Morocco supporters will keep backing their team as strongly as they have been doing throughout the tournament – giving Walid Regragui’s side a near-home advantage.
Croatia vs Morocco match will be played on December 17 at 08:30 PM (Indian time) in the Khalifa International Stadium, Al Rayyan.