Qatar 2022 Match Preview Third Place, Croatia Vs Morocco:
Written By Onyeka Daniel
Croatia will face surprise team of the tournament, Morocco in the third place match at the Khalifa international stadium in Doha. Both sides must get over their respective loss in the semi-finals and missing out on the final in order to win something tangible, which in this case will be a bronze medal and a reported extra $2 milli in prize money for the winner of the tie.
After playing a goalless draw in their first game at that World Cup, this time around, expect the game to be more open with a couple of goals too. With this tournament expected to be Luka Modric’s last game with the national team, he would want to bow out in style even if he would have preferred a World Cup trophy, but nonetheless, he’s still one of the best players to come out of the Croatia.
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For Morocco, after making history as the first African country to make it to the semi-final, finishing third will be another record on their excellent World Cup campaign. Only one third place play-off in World Cup history has gone to extra time, when France defeated Belgium with two extra time goals in a 4-2 victory back in 1986.
Against France, they were able to hold their own before they were undone by injury to some key players, which seemed to lower their intensity, plus their lack of cutting edge in front of goal. Coach, Walid Regragui,
Style Of Play
With lesser to play for, both teams are expected to carry out some changes to their squad, in part necessitated by injuries too. For Croatia, expect them to stick to their 4-3-3 formation even if they might decide to rest two of their regular midfield players. For Morocco, they will most likely maintain their 4-1-2-3 formation and will rest lesser number of players. Expect much more intensity from them than Croatia who will be looking to rest some players to help them resume with their respective clubs in better conditions.
Croatia in their last 20 games played across all competitions, have 13 wins, 5 draws and 2 losses. Morocco have 11 wins, 5 draws and 4 losses across all competitions in the same number of games.
Head To Head
Both teams have faced each other once and coincidentally, it was their first game in Qatar where they played a goalless draw.
Players To Watch
Croatia will be banking on Tottenham Hotspur wing-back, Ivan Perisic to do the damage in this game while Sevilla striker, Youssef En-Nesyri will be hoping to increase his goal tally at the World Cup.
Read Also: Qatar 2022 Team Preview: Atlas Lions
Injuries And Suspensions
Inter Milan midfielder, Marcelo Brozovic sustained an injury in their semi-final loss to Argentina and will consequently be unavailable for this encounter while the duo of Josko Gvardiol and Josip Juranovic are carrying knocks and remain in doubt. For Morocco, they will be without Besiktas defender, Romain Saids due to injury while Noussair Mazraoiu and Nayef Aguerd remain a major doubt.
This game is most likely to be decided in extra time or even penalties with a win for Morocco.
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