Croatia, Morocco fight for FIFA World Cup bronze medal

Croatia, Morocco fight for FIFA World Cup bronze medal

Both Croatia and Morocco have a chance to win the bronze medal at the World Cup 2022 on Saturday in the third-place playoff at the Khalifa International Stadium.

Argentina comfortably defeated Zlatko Dalic’s side 3-0 in their semi-final, while the Atlas Lions fought courageously against France but were defeated by two goals to zero.

But the fact Croatia – who clinched bronze at the 1998 World Cup – were in the 2018 final does not diminish the achievement of potentially finishing third here for coach Zlatko Dalic.

“We are sad and disappointed, but we have to gather energy to come back and be ready for the next fight for bronze,” he said.

“The match on Saturday is a big final for us, not a small [game]. It’s a big deal if we get the bronze.

“We have to refresh the team and put healthy players in the team because a grand final is ahead of us.

“Morocco is the biggest surprise of the World Cup. They’ve got national backing, unity, and compactness. They knocked out Belgium, Spain and Portugal. They deserve all the respect.”

The Atlas Lions have undoubtedly profited from a certain amount of prudence, as they need just one more shutout to become just the eighth team in tournament history to keep five clean sheets in a single World Cup.

Walid Regragui said his team wanted to finish third, but he also acknowledged that they had already accomplished a portion of their task by being the first African team to reach the World Cup semifinals.

“I will give opportunities to those who did not participate, and we will try to clinch the third place,” Regragui told reporters.

“We realise that we made a great achievement already. We know that from the media, social media, and on TV, we saw the pictures, and we saw that everyone was proud of us in our country.

“We’re disappointed for the Moroccan people, we wanted to keep the dream alive, but we’re pleased with what we’ve achieved.

“We felt that we could have gone even further but these small details help real champions, which we saw [against France], of course.

“My players gave everything and they’ve gone as far as they could. I really wanted to rewrite the history books, but you can’t win a World Cup with miracles, you need to do it through hard work.”

Dalic is anticipated to change the following: With Marcelo Brozovic’s injury, Luka Modric might get a break. Kovacic is undoubtedly the most likely to start because all three of their usual midfielders are unlikely to be included in the starting lineup.

The Chelsea midfielder stood out for his toughness and ball carrying against Argentina as the Valtreni attempted to contain the tenacious Argentinians. He was one of Croatia’s top players. He competed in 15 duels, winning 10, and tried six dribbles, completing four of them. These were all career highs for his club.

Again, Regragui will change his team slightly, making it difficult to predict who will play. Due to injury, captain Romain Saiss will be questionable. Once more playing in the right corner, Hakimi will try to connect with Ziyech. But everyone who is impartial will be wanting to see Ounahi again.

The 22-year-old, a graceful center midfielder, has been one of the tournament’s breakout performers, and his poise in possession really makes him stand out. In Qatar (10/13), he has succeeded in 77% of his take-on attempts, which is the greatest percentage of any player who has attempted at least 10.