QATAR: Josko Gvardiol and Mislav Orsic scored magnificent goals as Croatia defeated Morocco 2-1 to finish third at the World Cup for the second time.
Even though Luka Modric, the 37-year-old Croatian captain, has yet to conclude his international career, the victory also sees him win a bronze medal in what is most likely to be his final appearance in the FIFA World Cup.
Croatia’s winning game sends Morocco to the losing side
With Croatia’s victory, a European nation has now won the third-place playoff in the last 11 tournaments, and Morocco missed out on the chance to become the first African nation to win a World Cup medal.
Croatia started the match by dictating and applying pressure. They almost got Yassine Bonou to put the ball in his net with a pass that was very close to the goal.
Gvardiol, an impressive 20-year-old centre-back, scored a stunning diving header for Croatia in the 7th minute to cap a successful tournament.
However, Morocco responded soon as Achraf Dari nodded home from short proximity, only two minutes after Gvardiol’s opener.
Josko Gvardiol, a defender, has been one of the World Cup’s standout performers. But in the 42nd minute, Croatia took back the lead with a beautiful curling goal from Orsic. His first-time effort inside the box deflected off the far post and past Morocco goalkeeper Yassine Bounou.
Dominik Livakovic of Croatia stopped Youssef En-Nesyri from scoring a late equalizer for Morocco, giving them their second World Cup bronze medal since 1998.
Four years ago, Croatia finished as runners-up in Russia. They had hoped to reach the final in Qatar, but on Tuesday, Argentina defeated them 3-0 in the semi-finals.
Morocco is the only African team that has ever reached this stage of the World Cup. However, the superb efforts from Josko Gvardiol and Mislav Orsic and the equally brilliant performance from the Croatian defence and goalkeeper meant that Morocco could not stake a claim for the bronze medal.