The World Cup runner-up four years ago won another medal.
AL RAYYAN, Qatar — Luka Modric led Croatia to third place in the great midfielder’s final appearance at the World Cup.
The runner-up four years ago won another medal, beating Morocco 2-1 in a third-place match on Saturday.
Mislav Orsic scored the winning goal just before halftime at Khalifa International Stadium to ensure that Modric ended the match with a win, should this turn out to be his last World Cup match .
At 37, that seems possible, even if there are high hopes he will lead his country at the 2024 European Championship.
Josko Gvardiol gave Croatia the lead in the seventh minute, but Achraf Dari sealed the score in the ninth minute.
This is the second time Croatia has won third place. The team also achieved that feat in its first World Cup as an independent nation in 1998.
After becoming the first African team to reach the semi-finals of the World Cup, Morocco’s tournament ended with two losses. But then the team’s achievements in Qatar will be remembered for the pride of the Arab nations.
The World Cup final between defending champions France and Argentina is scheduled for Sunday at Lusail Stadium.
The third place match was seen by some as a pointless performance. Even Morocco coach Walid Regragui describes it as a “sweet bonus” in the build-up. But neither team lacks momentum in a fiercely contested showdown between the two nations that few expect to go far.
That was highlighted by a host of players who needed to be substituted for injury in the second half as Morocco struggled to find the equalizer.
The teams played to a 0-0 draw in the group stage and reached the semi-finals thanks to a solid defence, with a total of six losses. The goal is not a matter of this time.
Maybe it’s because of the relative freedom to play in a supposedly low-risk game. At least, another factor for Morocco is the absence of three key defenders, Romain Saiss, Nayef Aguerd and Noussair Mazraoui.
The impact of those absences was felt as Croatia took the lead thanks to Gvardiol’s sunken header. In a clever move, Ivan Perisic took a free-kick in the middle of the box and the centre-back did the rest.
Morocco retaliated two minutes later when Lovro Majer inadvertently helped Hakim Ziyech take a free kick and Dari headed the opener.
However, Croatia took the lead three minutes before halftime.
Orsic receives the ball on the left side of the box and fires a shot to the top corner. Morocco goalkeeper Yassine Bounou touched the ball but was only able to push the ball to the post when it went into the net.
https://www.king5.com/article/news/nation-world/croatia-beats-morocco-to-take-3rd-place-world-cup-2022/507-1cb252a0-6083-4eaa-b9ec-f8909ca68c23 Croatia beats Morocco 2-1 to take 3rd place at World Cup 2022