It took Croatia simply seven minutes to open the scoring by a header from Joško Gvardiol, earlier than Achraf Dari equalized two minutes later.
In an open and thrilling sport, Croatia retook the lead by an excellent end from Mislav Oršić on the stroke of half-time.
Regardless of its finest efforts, Morocco couldn’t discover one other equalizer, ending the event in fourth place to cap off a memorable few weeks in Qatar the place Morocco grew to become the primary African nation to achieve the World Cup semifinals.
Croatia’s third-placed end is its second at a World Cup, having completed third in 1998. In Russia 4 years in the past Croatia was runner up.
After the sport, Croatia head coach Zlatko Dalić mentioned his staff’s achievement isn’t misplaced on him.
“I’m pleased with my staff and of my nation. For us, bronze is a gold medal,” Dalić instructed BeIN Sports activities, per FIFA. “We performed a really robust event.
“Additionally, I need to congratulate Morocco – they performed properly, they did a unbelievable job. Actually I’m proud, very joyful. Perhaps it wasn’t anticipated that Croatia would do one thing huge once more however we’re a small nation with huge goals and congratulations to everybody. We wished to return residence as a winner and never a loser.”
When requested about Croatia’s talismanic captain Luka Modrić – whose future with the nationwide staff stays a query mark at 37 years of age – Dalić was stuffed with reward, hoping he would return for the staff’s Euro 2024 marketing campaign.
“Modrić is our captain, he’s our huge voice and he performed fantastically this event additionally. He’s 37 years outdated however he performed like a 25-year-old most. He’s our chief and all people follows him.”
It’s the sport on the World Cup most groups usually don’t need to play.
Simply days after dropping within the semifinals, groups should play once more regardless of hopes of a event victory being dashed contemporary of their minds.
However for 2 of this event’s shock tales – Croatia and Morocco – the drive to complete with a victory was evident from minute one.
Morocco wished to cap its historic run in fashion, whereas Croatia was trying to cement its second third-place end in six World Cup appearances.
From the outset, defending was at a premium. Having performed out a goalless draw earlier within the event, throughout the first 10 minutes on the Khalifa Worldwide Stadium either side had discovered the again of the online.
First, Croatia’s star younger defender, Gvardiol, put his aspect forward within the seventh minute after a perfectly labored free kick. The clipped ball into the realm was headed backwards by Ivan Perišić for the 20-year-old to energy his aspect forward.
Nonetheless, solely two minutes later, Morocco was stage, the purpose coming from one other free kick. After the ball was looped into the realm through a deflection, Dari was the fortunate beneficiary as he headed residence with no Croatian marker in his neighborhood.
And the sport continued at a livid tempo, with Croatia having fun with the vast majority of possession and probabilities.
With Morocco’s followers as soon as once more offering a unbelievable ambiance, probabilities got here and went in pulsating vogue – Morocco striker Youssef En-Nesyri’s header from a nook drifted simply extensive.
However with a second of magic, Croatia as soon as once more took the lead, this time on the stroke of half-time.
After some scrappy play on the sting of the Moroccan field, a fantastically curled end off the publish from Oršić as soon as once more had the European nation forward.
After the break, the possibilities continued to stream however neither aspect original any actual goal-scoring alternatives.
On the hour mark, Andrej Kramarić was compelled off by harm, with the 31-year-old in tears as he was helped off the sector.
With quarter-hour left, Croatia thought it had a penalty when Gvardiol was introduced down within the Morocco field after a beautiful run. Nonetheless, the video assistant referee (VAR) deemed it not a foul, to the amazement of the Croatian gamers, regardless of it showing as if Sofyan Amrabat had clipped the heels of the defender.
Within the remaining jiffy, regardless of Morocco needing a purpose, it was really Croatia which appeared the extra more likely to rating, with Mateo Kovačić coming closest.
However, with virtually the ultimate kick of the sport, En-Nesyri’s towering header flew simply over the bar as Moroccan hopes of an equalizer slipped away.
Ultimately, Croatia was capable of maintain out for the slim victory to match the achievement by the nation’s so-called “bronze technology” in 1998.
For Morocco, its magical few weeks in Qatar involves an finish, having captured the hearts and minds of an entire continent with its trail-blazing run to the ultimate 4 of the World Cup.