Croatia 2-3 Morocco: What's your prediction?

As Croatia and Morocco pick up the pieces after their World Cup semi-finals defeats, the two teams will welcome the prospect of potentially leaving Qatar on a high when they square up in the third-place playoff on Saturday.

Beating two world-class teams in Argentina and France to reach the final proved to be a step too far for Croatia and Morocco, who handsomely defied pre-tournament odds to reach the semis.

Morocco rewrote history along the way when Walid Regragui's fearless squad became the first African team to reach the last four of football's showpiece event.

Croatia and Morocco will face off in Qatar for a second time after playing out a 0-0 draw in their group opener, just as in 2018 when Belgium and England met each other in the group stage and third-place playoff.

"It will be difficult on a mental level. I will give opportunities to those who did not play and we will try to clinch third place," Regragui said.

"The important thing is that we presented a good look to our team and that football in Morocco is not far from the top level."

For 2018 runners-up Croatia, reaching a second consecutive final looked unlikely when they won just one group game.

But through sheer graft and tenacity, two penalty shootout wins over Japan and favourites Brazil earned them a semi-final match with Argentina, where an in-form Lionel Messi was the architect of their destruction.

"Realistically speaking, before the start of the tournament, we would all have accepted reaching the semi-finals. However, we started to dream about the trophy," Croatia midfielder Lovro Majer said.

"Still, we will give everything we've got on Saturday and try to win the bronze medal."


17th December, Saturday, 09:00 pm 


Khalifa International Stadium, Al Rayyan, Qatar 


 Croatia 1

 Morocco 0

 Draw 1 

Probable lineups

Croatia: (4-3-3) Livakovic; Stanisic, Lovren, Gvardiol, Barisic; Majer, Modric, Kovacic; Orsic, Petkovic, Perisic.

Morocco: (4-3-3) Bono; Hakimi, Dari, El Yamiq, Attiat-Allah; Amallah, Ounahi, Amrabat; Ziyech, En-Nesyri, Boufal.

Key stats:

* Morocco became the first Arab and African country to reach the World Cup semi-finals before losing 2-0 to France. Coach Walid Regragui also became the first Arab manager to lead a team to the knockout rounds.

* The two sides had met in their opening Group F match and played out a goalless draw.

* Croatia, runners-up in 2018, have played a third-place playoff once before. In 1998 they beat Netherlands 2-1 to finish third in that World Cup.

* Morocco had not conceded a goal from an opposition player at the tournament before their semi-final defeat to defending world champions France.

* The 'Atlas Lions' are short on defenders after losing Romain Saiss, Nayef Aguerd and Noussair Mazraoui to injury in their semi-final defeat.

Previous meetings:

Croatia and Morocco have met only twice before, including in this tournament's group stage. Their only previous meeting prior to the World Cup was in 1996 in the semi-final of the King Hassan II International Cup. The match ended in a 2-2 draw before Croatia won 7-6 on penalties.