Though it may not have been the grand World Cup finale play-off they hoped for, Croatia defeated Morocco in their third-place play-off match on Saturday at the Khalifa International Stadium.
After a crushing 3-0 loss to Argentina on Tuesday, Croatia clashed with Morocco for the second time in this year’s tournament after their draw with the African nation in the group stage. Morocco has only played against Croatia once outside of the World Cup, and the Croats came out victorious during that meeting.
Both teams scored early in the match, with Croatia’s Josko Gvardiol netting the day’s first goal with a header in the 7th minute with an assist from Ivan Perisic. Morocco gave their answer soon after, with de Achraf Dari equalising in the 9th minute with a close-range header to the bottom corner. As the first half drew to a close, Croatia took the lead in minute 42 with a right-footed shot from Mislav Orsic.
The second half saw both Croatia and Morocco losing players to injury. Badr Benoun replaced Moroccan first-half goal scorer Achraf Dari, and Croatia substituted Andrej Kramaric with Nikola Vlasic. Morocco lost multiple central defenders and could not secure an equaliser, conceding the game 2-1 to Croatia.
Watch the highlights below.