Croatia 2-1 Morocco: the Vatreni claim third place in 2022 world cup

The second meeting between Croatia and Morocco at the 2022 World Cup ended in a victory for the latter, who claim third place in the tournament. Here’s how the Croatia vs Morocco third-place play-off match unfolded. 

Starting XI for Croatia vs Morocco

Croatian head coach Zlatko Dalic made five changes to the side that lost to Argentina this week.

Josip Stanisic, Josip Sutalo, Mislav Orsic, Lovro Majer and Marko Livaja were all brought into the starting XI.

They replaced Marcelo Brozovic, Josip Juranovic, Dejan Lovren, Borna Sosa and Mario Pasalic.

Morocco, however, made two fewer changes than Croatia. Walid Regragui brought Yahya Attiat-Allah, Abdelhamid Sabiri and Bilal El Khannouss into the squad. Noussair Mazraoui was also ruled out due to injury. 

First half:10 minutes of madness with Croatia coming out on top

Within 10 minutes, Croatia vs Morocco’s scoreline read 1-1. The former opened the game with a stunning header from Josko Gvardiol. Two minutes later, however, Achraf Dari equalised. 

The defender’s header sailed past goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic, allowing Morocco to even the scoreline early. 

Croatia then had two chances to advance their lead in the 24th. A poor Moroccan clearance gave Captain Luka Modric a shot. Yassine Bounou (AKA Bono) failed to catch Modric’s ball, allowing it to spill back on the pitch.

The ball then landed at Perisic’s feet. However, he couldn’t get it past the Moroccan goalie in the end.

Morocco then countered, coming close to taking the lead in the 37th minute. Hakim Ziyech’s set piece found Sofiane Boufal, with the latter touching the ball off the near post. 

However, there was nobody in the six-yard box to seal the deal with a tap-in. It was a lucky escape for Croatia and a wasted chance for Morocco. 

Despite Morocco looking dangerous, Croatian midfielder Mislav Orsic put his nation on top.

Livaja put the ball to Orsic, who sent a curling shot into the back of the Moroccan net. 

Only two minutes of added time was granted. However, the first half’s conclusion saw Croatia heading into the break 2-1 up.

Second half: Regragui makes one change while Dalic stays straight

One change at the break for Morocco. Ilias Chair was brought on for Sabiri.

Dalic, however, decided to keep his starting XI consistent going into the second half of Croatia vs Morocco.

Straight off the bat, Orsic had another chance to score. He sent a screamer that would’ve evaded Bono and struck gold if Jawad El Yamiq’s quick thinking hadn’t sent it into the side netting. 

Yellow cards for Morocco and multiple substitutions for both teams

After Orsic had another chance in the 55th, Morocco made their second substitution. El Khannouss came off for Azzedine Ounahi. 

Croatia was forced to make its first change seven minutes later. Andrej Kramaric came off with an injury. Replacing him was Nikola Vlasic

Croatia then went on to make a few more substitutions. Livaja, Majer, and Orsic made way for Bruno Petkovic, Pasalic and Kritijan Jakic, respectively.

The second half also saw a plethora of Moroccan players being replaced on the field, too.

Firstly, a double change in the 64th took place. Dari and Boufal were swapped for Badr Benoun and Anass Zaroury. Three minutes later, El Yamiq was then replaced by Selim Amallah.

Following the changes, Azzedine Ounahi was booked. The referee showed him the first yellow of the game due to dissent after protesting a Croatian free kick. 

In the 84th minute, substitute Amallah was shown the second (and final) yellow card. He was booked due to protesting a Croatian free kick, too.

Added time and a failed chance for Morocco to shine

The awarded free kick in question didn’t convert another Croatian goal, however, a brilliant ball from Kovacic almost did. In the 87th minute, his quick shot went just wide of the Moroccan goal. 

The fourth official indicated that six minutes of added time would be granted to Croatia vs Morocco. 

The latter nation came close in the final minute, with Attiat-Allah assisting Youssef En-Nesyri’s brilliant header.


Amazing Goal ? | croatia vs morocco ( 2:1 ) | #qatar2022

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However, the ball landed on the roof of the Croatian net. The last-ditch attempt at equalising failed, allowing Croatia to claim third place in the World Cup 2022.

What are the third and fourth-place World Cup 2022 standings?

Morocco, who lost 2-1, claim fourth place in the Qatar tournament. This is the furthest an African nation has ever reached in World Cup history and should be proud of their achievement.

Due to their win, Croatia claims third place in the tournament.

When is the World Cup 2022 final?

The next match is the 2022 World Cup final. It will see Argentina going up against France on Sunday 18 December 2022.

Final Croatia vs Morocco scoreline reads 2-1. 

Feature image credit:Getty Images