Croatia vs Morocco result: Brilliant Orsic goal secures third place for Croatians

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Orsic wonderstrike

Croatia defeated Morocco 2-1 to take third-place at the 2022 World Cup, thanks to a sensational goal from Mislav Orsic.

Both sides had previously endured semi-final defeats, with Croatia losing 3-0 to Argentina, and Morocco falling 2-0 to France, while they also met in the group stages, a game which ended 0-0.

Morocco were without key defenders Romain Saiss, Nayef Aguerd and Noussair Mazraoui and they began uncertainly before Josko Gvardiol converted a smartly worked set piece in the seventh minute. But Morocco centre-back Achraf Dari was left unmarked to hit back immediately.

Both sides continued to attack with the pressure off, making for an attractive spectacle. The most sumptuous moment of the first half came when Orsic lofted a beautiful finish over Bono and in off the far post after the Morocco goalkeeper saw his team give possession away on the edge of his area.

The second period became more attritional as both sides suffered injuries and put everything on the line one last time after their superb campaigns in Qatar.

Brilliant Orsic goal

Morocco got themselves in a mess early on, repeatedly trying and failing to play through Croatia’s astute press. In the end, a clever set play undid them, with Ivan Perisic flicking back across goal for Gvardiol to score and banish the memory of his semifinal torment at the hands of Lionel Messi.

Croatia left the door open almost immediately when Luka Modric half-blocked a wide free-kick and Dari was allowed to head the looping ball past Dominik Livakovic.

Modric, almost certainly playing for the last time on this stage despite his apparent immunity to fatigue at 37, conducted proceedings in a typically masterful fashion, but Achraf Hakimi, Hakim Ziyech and Sofiane Boufal ensured Morocco’s threat on the counter remained.

It made for an intriguing game of cat and mouse before Orsic produced the cream. The Atlas Lions again coughed up possession on the edge of their own box but the Dinamo Zagreb winger had so much to do when Marko Livaja picked him out.

He did his job with utter aplomb, which was more than could be said for referee Abdulrahman Al-Jassim, when he fairly inexplicably failed to punish Sofyan Amrabat for what looked like a clear 73rd-minute foul on Gvardiol in the box.

Amrabat was operating as an emergency centre-back by that stage, with injuries having accounted for Dari and Jawad El-Jamiq, but Morocco continued battling to the last and a leaping Youssef En-Nesyri almost forced an additional half-hour when he headed onto the roof of the net in the sixth minute of stoppage time.

Croatia (4-2-3-1, right to left): 1. Livakovic (GK) — 2. Stanisic, 24, Sutalo, 20. Gvardiol, 4. Perisic — 10. Modric, 8. Kovacic — 9. Kramaric, 7. Majer, 18. Orsic — 14. Livaja

Morocco (4-3-3, right to left): 1. Bono (GK) — 2. Hakimi, 20. Dari, 18. El Yamiq, 25. Attiat-Allah — 23. El-Khannouss, 4. Amrabat, 11. Sabiri — 7. Ziyech, 19. En-Nesyri, 17. Boufal

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