Can Morocco muster some magic one last time at the World Cup in Qatar? After suffering a defeat in the semi-finals earlier this week, like their opponents here, the African team faces Croatia.
Morocco, Africa’s first World Cup semifinalists, were beaten 2-0 by defending champions France on Wednesday, a night after Croatia was swept 3-0 by Argentina.
Croatia fell one game away from their impressive run to the 2018 final but still exceeded expectations by beating Brazil in the quarter-finals, while Morocco stunned Belgium in the group stage, Spain in the round of 16 and Portugal in the quarterfinals. .
Three weeks after drawing 0-0 in Group F, one of Croatia and Morocco must win here as they meet in the playoff for third place.
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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