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Saturday, April 1, 2023
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Croatia Beats Morocco to Finish Third in FIFA World Cup 2022

Morocco was a tough opponent, but Croatia beat them 2-1 in the play-off on Saturday. This put Croatia in third place at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar. After coming in second place in Russia four years ago, Croatia finished in the top three in the World Cup for the second straight time with this win.

This is the third time that Croatia has finished in the top three. They also came in third in 1998, when they beat the Netherlands with a score of 2-1.

At Khalifa International Stadium, the game for third place started with a lot of goals. Croatia took the lead in the seventh minute. After a brilliant set-piece play, Josko Gvardiol scored the first goal with a beautiful header. But it took Morocco less than two minutes to tie the game. In the ninth minute, Achraf Dar scored the equalizer.

Mislav Orsic scored a great goal in the 42nd minute, just before halftime, to give Croatia the win. The 2018 runners-up kept the lead in an exciting second half where both teams had some good chances.

 Both Croatia and Morocco lost in the semi-finals to Argentina and France, so a bronze medal may have been little more than a consolation prize. However, both teams seemed eager to make things right after their losses.

Moroccan fans have come to Qatar in huge numbers to cheer on their team, and Saturday was no different. When Croatian players had the ball, they were jeered by the Moroccan fans, whose whistles could be heard throughout the packed Khalifa International Stadium.

Croatia, though, didn’t let that stop them. They started the game on the offensive and took the lead in the seventh minute with a set-piece goal.

 A cross was floated into the box, where Ivan Perisic headed the ball expertly into the mix, where the masked Gvardiol bravely dove in for the header to temporarily silence the Moroccans.

Two minutes later, Morocco answered with a set piece of their own. A cross hit Lovro Majer in the head and looped into the box, where an unmarked Dari headed it past the keeper.

 The equalizer gave Morocco more confidence, and they started to find holes in the Croatian defense. Their movement and passing helped them create several chances. But the African team didn’t have a killer instinct when they were close to the goal.

In the 42nd minute, Croatia got them back for it when Orsic’s curling shot from a tight angle beat Yassine Bounou’s outstretched arm and went in off the post after being intercepted in the final third.

 The second half wasn’t as fast or rough as the first. Both teams, who were playing their seventh game in Qatar, seemed tired after a long tournament.

Croatia also thought they were wronged when it looked like Sofyan Amrabat tripped Gvardiol in the box, but the referee didn’t give a penalty. Amrabat was playing defense because Croatia’s center backs were hurt.

 Youssef En-Nesyri came close when he headed over in stoppage time, but despite Morocco’s best efforts to tie the game, Croatia held on for the win and the bronze, just like their heroes did in 1998 when they also finished third.



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