After heartbreaking semi-final losses earlier this week, one each Croatia and Morocco will at least end their World Cup campaign in Qatar on a positive note.
The underdogs meet here in the playoff for third place, three weeks after starting Group F with a 0-0 draw against each other.
Croatia had an impressive run to the final in Russia four years ago, but were beaten 3-0 by Argentina in Tuesday’s semi-final, before Morocco’s impressive rise to the final four ended with a 2-0 loss to defending champions France on Wednesday. .
Never before has an African team reached the World Cup semi-finals, and the Atlas Lions will be looking to secure third place when they take on Luka Modric and company here.
Here is everything you need to know.
The third place playoff will begin at 15:00 GMT (18:00 local time) on Saturday, December 17.
The match will take place at the Khalifa International Stadium in Al Rayyan.
How can I see it?
Croatia vs Morocco will be broadcast live on BBC One in the UK, and streamed live on the broadcaster’s website and iPlayer app.
What’s the team news?
Marcelo Brozovic was sent off through injury during Croatia’s clash with Argentina, and the midfielder is an injury doubt here. The same can be said of central defender Josep Gvardiol, who was not in full health for that game and can rest here to avoid further injury.
For Morocco, three players took a chance in defeat to France despite fitness concerns, although Nayef Aguerd actually withdrew just before kick-off, and defenders Romain Saiss and Noussair Mazraoui failed to complete the game. As such, all three are expected to be lost here.
Croatia XI: Livakovic; Juranovic, Lovren, Sutalo, Sosa; Modric, Jakic, Kovacic; Vlasic, Kramaric, Perisic
Morocco XI: Bounou; Hakimi, El-Jamiq, Dari, Attiyat Allah; Ounahi, Amrabat, Amallah; Ziech, En-Nesyri, Boufal
Croatia – 8/11
Morocco – 2/1
Draw – 5/12
As good as Morocco was against France, they appeared to be 30 per cent below their best due to a combination of fatigue and injury. Plus, a near-complete Croatia squad will have had an extra day to recover from their semi-final when this game takes place. Unfortunately for fans of the ultimate underdogs, Morocco might have used all their magic in this tournament. Croatia 1-0 Morocco.
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