The first two goals were scored within nine minutes. Josko Guardiol scored for Croatia in the seventh minute with a beautiful ‘set piece’. Morocco, who created history by becoming the first African nation to reach the semi-finals, equalized with a 9th-minute goal by Ashraf Dary.
Doha. Last World Cup runners-up Croatia secured the third place in the FIFA World Cup play-off after beating Morocco 2-1 on Saturday. Croatia’s team also finished third in the 1998 World Cup. All the three goals of this match at the Khalifa International Stadium came in the first half itself. The first two goals were scored within nine minutes. Josko Guardiol scored for Croatia in the seventh minute with a beautiful ‘set piece’. Morocco, who created history by becoming the first African nation to reach the semi-finals, equalized with a 9th-minute goal by Ashraf Dary.
Mislav Oresich put his team ahead 2-1 with a beautiful goal in the 42nd minute and it proved to be decisive. Orešić’s goal thus ensured that captain Luka Modric (37 years old) left the final match of the World Cup with a win. At the beginning of the first half, the Croatian team showed a fast game, which gave them the advantage. Croatia were awarded a free kick for a foul on Morocco’s Sofiane Amrabat for bringing down Andrej Kremarich. Lovro Maier took the kick and lofted it over the penalty box where Ivan Perisic fired a header past Josco Guardiol and the masked man volleyed it straight into the net from 13 yards with a header from 13 yards out. . But this lead of Croatia could last only for a minute.
Morocco equalized in the ninth minute with a free kick. Hakim Ziyech fired a long shot that was deflected in, Modric tried to clear it but Dari equalized with a header past Croatian goalkeeper Dominik Livkovic from five yards. It was also Dari’s first international goal. Both the teams were trying to take the lead and were also creating some chances. But Croatia won, for which Orisich made a direct shot from far away from the left side of the Moroccan box, which hit the crossbar and reached the goal.
Moroccan goalkeeper Yassine Bonnou had no chance to stop it. Searching for a goal, Croatia showed aggression in the second half as well. His front line also tested the Moroccan defensive line several times. But the Croatian team could not increase its lead further. Croatia lost 0–3 to Argentina in the semi-final, while Morocco lost 0–2 to defending champions France in the other semi-final. However, this World Cup will be one to remember for Morocco.
Disclaimer:Prabhasakshi has not edited this news. This news has been published from PTI-language feed.