The Croatian national team won the main sensation of the 2022 World Cup
Wards Zlatko Dalic left the Moroccans without World Cup medals.
In the bronze match of the World Cup in Qatar, experience proved stronger than audacity: the Croatian team achieved a victory over the main sensation of the tournament - the team of Morocco.
There is no doubt that losing the semi-finals was a disappointment for both teams. But if the Croats were absolutely defeated by Argentina (0:3), then the Moroccans looked better than the French team for a significant part of the match, but the lack of experience and the lack of high-class players did their job (0:2). But if the “checkered” and before the championship had a solid experience of victories and defeats, then the red-greens seem to have thrown out too many emotions and forces in a duel with the French.
Given how rigorously and at times monotonously both rivals strove to play on the way to the bronze final, it was logical to assume that now that the medals were at stake, they would become even more cautious. However, already in the ninth minute, the teams exchanged goals. First, Yoshko Guardiol headed the free-kick, and then Ashraf Dari did the same, taking advantage of an unsuccessful clearance by Lovro Mayer.
After a powerful debut, the initiative passed to the Croats. At the 24th minute, they almost took the lead: after a long attack, Luka Modric removed the defender with a feint and shot, but goalkeeper Yassin Bunu parried the blow and managed to cover the ball, to which Marco Livaya was in a hurry to finish.
And yet, at the end of the half, the Croats scored. The Moroccans failed to take the ball away from the penalty area in time, he got to Livay, he passed to the left of Mislav Orsic, who sent the ball into the net with a rebound from the bar.
The second half also passed with a slight advantage of the Croatian national team. Already in the 47th minute, the "checkered" could make it easier for themselves, but Mislav Orsic missed a great chance, breaking into the outer side of the net. Soon, forward Andrei Kramaric was injured, who left the field in tears, apologizing for his injury to head coach Zlatko Dalic. So say after that that the bronze matches are unimportant.
Before the final whistle, both teams could still turn the game around. First, Youssef En-Nesiri was face to face with goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic – and the Croatian goalkeeper saved his team. Then Mateo Kovacic almost hit the bottom corner, and in the last compensated minute, when the Moroccans were tearing everything forward as a team, En-Nesiri was again in the center of events, outplaying Ivan Perisic in horseback wrestling, but breaking through a little above the crossbar.
The Croatians are on the podium for the second World Cup in a row, they are clearly satisfied. Ahead of the “checkered” is a change of generations: it is unlikely that fans will see Luka Modric, Dejan Lovren, Ivan Perisic, Andrei Kramaric at the 2026 World Cup. However, this generation managed to achieve what, for example, the Belgians, who were recorded almost as champions, did not achieve.
And the Moroccans should not be disappointed because of the fourth place. They not only became the most successful African team in the history of the World Cup, but also found fans on all continents - thanks to smart and persistent football.
Croatia - Morocco - 2:1 (2:1).
December 17th. Er Rayyan. Khalifa Stadium.
Referee - Al Jassim (Qatar).
Croatia: Livakovic, Stanisic, Shutalo, Guardiol, Perisic, Modric, Kovacic, Mayer, Kramaric (Vlasic 61), Orsic (Jakic 90), Livaya (Petkovic 66).
Morocco: Bunu, Hakimi, El-Yamik (Amalla, 67), Dari (Banoun, 64), Attiyat-alla, Amrabat, Sabiri (Shair, 46), El-Khannus (Unai, 56), Ziyech, Boufal (Zaruri, 64), En-Nesiri.
Goals: 1:0 Guardiol (7), 1:1 Dari (9), 2:1 Orsic (42).
Booked: Unai (69), Amallah (84).