Croatia vs Morocco Highlights: Croatia beat Morocco 2-1 to clinch third spot in Qatar | Football News

NEW DELHI: Croatia beat Morocco 2-1 in the play-offs on Saturday to finish third in the fifa world cup 2022 in Qatar. The win lifted Croatia into the top three of the World Cup for the second consecutive edition after finishing second four years ago in Russia.
This is the third top three finish for Croatia, who also finished third in the 1998 edition, beating the Netherlands with a similar score of 2-1.
It happened: Croatia vs Morocco
The third-place play-off at the Khalifa International Stadium began with a flurry of goals as Croatia took the lead in the seventh minute. Josko Gvardiol scored the opening goal with a stunning header from a brilliantly executed set piece. But it took less than two minutes for Morocco to equalize when Ashraf Dar scored the equalizer in the ninth minute.
The Croatia winner came in the 42nd minute when Mislav Orsic scored a superb goal just before half-time. The 2018 runners-up held on to the lead in a thrilling second half, which saw both teams create some good chances.

A bronze medal may have only served as consolation after both teams’ disappointment in the semi-finals, but Croatia and Morocco looked eager to make amends after losing to Argentina and France respectively.
Moroccan fans turned out in large numbers to support their team in Qatar and Saturday was no different as they mocked Croatian players whenever they had possession, their whistles echoing inside the international stadium in Khalifa crowded.
That didn’t deter Croatia, however, as they started the game with the front foot and took the lead in the seventh minute with a well-crafted free kick.

A floating cross in the box found Ivan Perisic who deftly headed the ball into the mix where the masked Gvardiol bravely dove in a header to silence the Moroccan contingent, albeit briefly.
Two minutes later Morocco responded at the other end with a free kick when a cross came off Lovro Majer’s header and looped into the box where an unmarked Dari beat the keeper with a header .
Emboldened by the equaliser, Morocco began to find cracks in the Croatian defence, their movement and passing helping to create several chances. But the African team lacked a killer instinct in front of goal.
Croatia duly punished them in the 42nd minute when an interception in the final third found Orsic, whose curled shot arched beautifully from a tight angle past Yassine Bounou’s outstretched arm before flying off the post.

The second half was not as quick and spirited as the first as exhaustion after a long tournament seemed to have caught up with both teams, playing their seventh game in Qatar.
Croatia also felt battered when Gvardiol appeared to have been stumbled into the box by Sofyan Amrabat – now playing in defense with his injured centre-backs – but the referee refused to award a penalty.
Youssef En-Nesyri came close as they took the lead in stoppage time but despite Morocco’s best efforts to find an equaliser, Croatia held on for victory and bronze, matching the feat of their 1998 heroes who also finished third.
(With agency contributions)


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