Croatia vs Morocco: An ‘immortal’ battle for World Cup bronze medal

Morocco coach Regragui said, “It’s like the booby prize. I am sorry for speaking like this. I understand that it should be important, I understand that it is better to finish third than fourth, but for, me my takeaway is that we just didn’t get to the final.”

Croatia Morocco FIFA World Cup 2022 third place playoff
It's Croatia vs Morocco in FIFA World Cup 2022 third place playoff. Photo: Twitter/FIFA

For many, it is a meaningless match. But the teams involved in the FIFA World Cup 2022 third-place playoff game look at it differently.

Losing semi-finalists Croatia and Morocco face off at the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha tonight (December 17) to finish on the podium.

Also read: Full coverage of FIFA World Cup 2022

Croatia was beaten 3-0 by Argentina while the Atlas Lions, who were in the World Cup semi-finals for the first time, were stopped 2-0 by defending champion France.

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Ahead of the game, Croatia forward Andrej Kramaric spoke about achieving “immortality” in the game.

“I think if you ask this question to Moroccan players, I don’t think they will look that way,” he said.

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“They’re fighting for their lives because if you win a medal at a World Cup you become an immortal hero in your country. That’s the same thing we are going to do,” he added.

In the last edition in 2018 in Russia, Croatia finished runner-up to France and Kramaric knows the importance of winning a World Cup medal.

“Eight of us from (the tournament in) Russia understand that feeling of winning a medal at the World Cup and we have a lot of players who haven’t experienced that and would love to do that because it’s something that will stay with you for the rest of their life,” Kramaric said.

Watch: Argentina vs France final: Interesting stats, records

Morocco’s history-making coach Walid Regragui termed the match “booby prize”.

“You are so disappointed, you’ve just lost a semi-final and then two days later you have to go back out there,” Regragui said. “It’s like the booby prize. I am sorry for speaking like this. I understand that it should be important, I understand that it is better to finish third than fourth, but for, me my takeaway is that we just didn’t get to the final.”

“Yes, finishing third would be great for our image. We would be on the podium,” the coach added.

“We have really, really pushed our players to the limits, but they still want to go out tomorrow and play again. But we are not going to be taking risks tomorrow for some of our players,” he said on Friday.

The two teams were in the same group in Qatar and played out a goalless draw.

The match is most likely to be the last international outing for Croatia’s star player and captain Luka Modric.

The match starts at 8:30 PM IST. Live on Sports18, live streaming on Jio Cinema

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