Croatia vs Morocco summary: Croatia third place, score, goals, highlights | Qatar World Cup 2022
Croatia vs Morocco: as it happened
Follow live coverage of the World Cup final between Argentina and France with AS USA. Joe Brennan will be providing comprehensive build-up to the game at Lusail Stadium, followed by minute-by-minute commentary.
OK, guys, that's all from me (Joe) today. Thank you for following AS USA for the live coverage of Croatia 2-1 Morocco in the third place playoff.
It has been a pleasure for the whole World Cup - and we will be back once more tomorrow for the final!
And now two pieces on how the teams could line up tactically to face each other...
Read everything that France manager Didier Deschamps had to say about the game...
including whether or not Benzema will be making a shock return.
Here's how to watch the game, but of course it will be live on AS USA!
So, in case you didn't know...
There's one more game tomorrow...
THE WORLD CUP FINAL:
ARGENTINA VS FRANCE
10am ET / 7am PT / 4pm CEST
Modric is calling over all the staff to join in. Seriously, what a lovely fella he is.
All the team are now swaying on the 'podium', singing along with each other. Lovely scenes.
And now the kids have run over and immediately ask their dads for the medals so they can go and play 'World Cup' on the pitch behind.
Here we go, time for Croatia!
Lukita Modric is up first, and he rightly looks delighted. I'm not sure where I stand on saying 'podium finishes' at a World Cup, but I'll give it a go here for this lovely Croatia side.
That's all the players now, and the manager - time for the celebration to begin!
The referees are receiving their medals and shaking hands with lots of (presumably) important people. Mr Infantino gets to put the medal on their heads, like the kid who chooses what to play because it's his ball.
For once, Croatia didn't go to extra time.
That was kind of them, although I was very much enjoying the game.
Bronze medal time!
Now comes the presentation for the bronze medal. I'm not sure if they get any other prizes, like a goody bag, full of nice things.
And Croatia are third in the Qatar World Cup 2022!
But, and this is not to be said lightly... Morocco are 4th!
FT: Croatia 2-1 Morocco
What an incredible story this World Cup journey has been for these two nations.
Croatia scored more goals, and that's the reason they deserved to win. It wasn't how they played, because Morocco matched them for most of the game. Modric was Modric and Amrabat showed his class throughout.
The ludicrous first half used up all the craziness which led to a more relaxed second period, but the intensity was still there: both teams went blow for blow and Morocco will be annoyed they ultimately don't walk away with at least a draw at full-time. But nobody can be upset today, as this achievement from both teams really is something special.
Ziyech is a machine.
EN NESYRI. THAT WAS THE CHANCE
His header goes just over!
Orsic off for Jakic
Amrabat sends a 40-yard pass from one corner of the pitch to the other, where Hakimi is charging into. Unfortunately, it's the 95th minute of the match and the poor lad can't run anymore.
Livakovic catches a cross from the left and tumbles to the floor like a dying swan. He's not getting up any time soon.
Modric wins the ball back from Ounahi on the edge of the box, stopping a potentially dangerous attack.
An offside call from En Nesyri means Livakovic can take his time with the free-kick.
Somehow Ziyech still has the lung space to press like a madman and win back the ball. Machine-like.
6 minutes added on.
The referee is listening to Mr/Mrs VAR in his ear.
The replay looks like it didn't hit the arm.
Ref waves play on.
Shouts for handball from a Croatian defender after a Hakimi cross...
Into the last minute of normal time...
Morocco still have the look about them like they want to score, they definitely haven't given up. But neither have Croatia, who are just that bit better at holding onto the ball.
CLOSE FROM KOVACIC
He gets the ball on the edge of the box, one on one with the defender. He stops and feints right before jumping left, leaving the defender for dead.
His shot bobbles wide. What a goal that would have been.
Modric looks to get caught out at the back - ha! No chance. He spins away and plays a chipped pass over the press and Croatia break away.
Amallah booked and the Moroccan players surround the referee like angry pigeons.
Petkovic is down after the challenge. He's been a real pest for the Moroccans since his arrival.
Ha! Petkovic tries to ask for a penalty for a cross that clearly hits Hakimi on the stomach. Cheeky boy.
The resulting corner is cleared easily by Morocco.
Poor Ziyech looks extremely tired.
And right as I press send on the previous message, Morocco launched a series of sustained attacks, to tell me how wrong I am.
Croatia look the more likely to score, at the moment. They're pressing like crazy: the substitutes have definitely given them the spark that was missing at the beginning of the second half.
This game has woken up. The crowd are back on their feet and the pace is very high.
Just seen theGvardiol penalty claim again and his fall made it look very theatrical, perhaps there was the slightest contact as he was played through after making a charging run, but not enough to fall like that. No penalty for me.
This game! Nothing has happened all half and now Hakimi is claiming a foul inside the box. Petkovic nudged him slightly on the edge of the box. No foul.
EN NESYRI CHANCE!
NOW HAKIMI IS DOWN IN THE BOX!
Croatia attacking dangerously...
GVARDIOL TAKEN DOWN IN THE BOX. REFEREE SAYS NO PENALTY.
Petkovic fouled on halfway by Benoun.
Vlasic shoots from distance but it flies over.
Chair with some lovely side to side feints that make the Croatian defence dance like hypnotised chickens. His cross, however, is poor and cleared away.
Ounahi booked for being a naught boy. Fouled Modric and then threw the ball away.
Amallah on for El Yamiq. Some jiggery-pokery needed now to sort out the sleven.
Amrabat is now at centre-back.
Saiss, Aguerd, El Yamiq, Dari... madre mía - that's a lot of injured defenders.
That's it, El Yamiq can't continue. Another centre-back falls for Morocco!
Livaja and Majer OFF
Petkovic and Pasalic ON
El Yamiq is holding his hamstring. I can't believe it.
We've had less chances this half but the tension is still there; Morocco keep probing every time they get the ball.
Dari (who's just gone down injured - that's another centre-back) andBoufal OFF
Benoun and Zaroury ON
Morocco lose the ball close to goal and Croatia launch the slowest counter-attack I think I've ever seen. The African side jog back and stop it, that was surreal.
Kramaric is having his leg iced on the bench. He still looks very upset.
The team doctor, in the interesting combination of a very tight t-shirt, tracksuit bottoms and no socks, waves to the bench that the player can't continue.
Kramaric is in tears.
Kramaric is down injured. Doctors on the pitch. Looks like a potential hamstring.
Ziyech tries to find Attiat-Allah over the top but the ball is headed away.
Hakimi tries to copy Mbappé from the semi final and skip past the entire population of defenders, but unfortunately he's not one of the best young attackers in the world. Croatia back with the ball in their calm, liquid way, as they do. Like eleven lava lamps. Say that quickly.
Huuuuge cheers from the crowd as man of the moment Ounahi comes on for El Khannous
Majer comes close (kind of!) when the ball falls to him inside the box. Bono decides to come for it before getting Vertigo and changing his mind. Majer hesitates too and decides to flick his boot at it, sending the ball into the blob of defensive bodies inside the box. Danger gone.
En Nesyri has a battle inside the box with, yes, Perisic, who has tracked all the way back to defend. The ball rolls out of play after the Croatian shields it delightfully well, holding off the huge frame of the Sevilla forward.
Perisic screams for the ball as he's out on the left all alone. He lays off to Majer who whacks the ball in for Livaja but the ball flies wide.
A bit of head tennis now as no side can hold onto the ball for very long. All a bit congested in the middle of the pitch.
Morocco start the counter attack but Croatia get back well.
JUST WIDE FROM THE EDGE OF THE BOX
Croatia with the possession at the back, probing against Morocco's defensive shape.
And we're off!
QPR's Ilias Chair on for Sabiri
The players are back out... time to go!
And we've got at least one change coming up
The answer is...
It's Ivan Perisic!!
Lionel Messi has registered 16 goal involvements across 3 World Cups, but who is in second place with 11?
Hint: he's on the pitch tonight. Here are his stats:
2014: 2G 1A
2018: 3G 1A
2022: 1G 3A
And here's how Kovacic did in those first 45 minutes.
A strong display both on and off the ball from the former Real Madrid man.
The Sofascore boffins say...
What do you make of that? It was quite a crazy first half, and I'm glad Sofascore agree.
And that's all for now!
HT: Croatia 2-1 Morocco
Well. that game was a box of fireworks!
Both sides started like racing dogs, shooting forward as the referee blew the whistle, scoring amazing goals in the first 10 minutes of the game.
Croatia's was a fantastic move from the training ground that caught Morocco out: the African's response was just as incredible in its unpredictability!
Since then, the game has looked for periods like it was going to calm down, but it has continued to bubble away like a sleepy volcano, periodically exploding into life.
And erupt it did when Orsic - about whom I genuinely had just wrote "he looks off the pace" - decided to slap the ball into the far corner for what could be goal of the tournament! Boom!
Let's see what the second half brings.
Livaja goes for the spectacular effort, launching the ball into the air, trying to catch Bono out.
Croatia are keeping the ball excellently, waiting for half-time to come.
2 minutes to add on.
Let's see if Morocco want to score another lightning fast reply...
So many chances looked to have gone wasted as Croatia's players couldn't decide who wanted to shoot on the edge of the box...
The ball fell to Orsic on the left side and he sidestepped like a videogame character, slapping it with his instep and then watching as Bono jumped before the ball smacked the post and into the net. GOLAZO.
Ziyech worms left, skips right, slides past Modric and fires a shot from long range that unfortunately bobbles wide. He wanted to do it all then!
Modric picks up the scraps and fires in a cross.
Battered away. It's Croatia's turn to press Morocco now.
Kovavic, with a great ball over the top, finds Perisic, but he can't get a full boot on it to bring it down.
There is a party in all four sides of the stadium. What an incredible noise.
Corner for Morocco, the stadium is bouncing again...
AND EN NESYRI GETS VERY CLOSE
Gvardiol with a fantastic slide tackle to cut out a potential chance for Morocco. He keeps playing like this and soon nobody will remember how Messi embarrassed him that time in the World Cup semi-final.
Nope. Goal kick given. The players are furious. Looked like a corner to me, Clive.
Great work from Ziyech to run the ball from right to left, skipping past challenges.
Boufal gets the ball in the left channel and smacks a shot over. Look like it deflected.
While trying to head a high ball, Gvardiol falls over and Boufal goes crashing to the floor. Everyone laughs.
Something tells me Bono dreams of Sampaoli's head. And it haunts him. Every time he gets the ball in dangerous areas, he refuses to clear it, instead attempting to pass out from the back.
SO CLOSE FROM MOROCCO!
Hakimi broke down the right, held off, held off some more, before whipping in the cross towards the Sevilla striker on his own in front of goal, but the ball spins away from his head. Livakovic looks delighted.
Amrabat does a lovely impression of Messi against Gvardiol, squirming one way before darting the other, leaving Kramaric in his dust cloud.
The crowd loved it. So did I.
Majer makes a heroic run into the box after a nice layoff from Stanisic, but a Dari and Attiat-Allah tag-team manage to steal the ball before he can create anything.
HUGE SAVE FROM BONO!
Modric gets the ball on the edge of the box, he feints one way, flicks the ball onto his left foot and unleashes a low drive towards Bono.
The goalkeeper spills it, almost letting Livaja in for the tap in, but he dives on the ball and gobbles it up.
I don't want to jinx things, but it feels as though the game is slowly settling down into the type of shape we thought it might: Croatia are controlling the possession, looking for spaces; Morocco are waiting like a rattlesnake before striking with venom. And multiple fangs.
Attiat-Allah takes down a lovely ball on his chest and spreads it back to the right side towards Boufal, but Livakovic comes out well to win back possession.
So, I think so far the two sides have made up for scoring 0 goals when they met in the Group Stages...
A cross from Boufal flies over everyone and into the sea. Probably. He lifts his hand up to say sorry, with a huge grin on his face.
Gvardiol makes a mistake in build-up, giving the ball away in a vertical pass through the lines.
Croatia recover instantly.
Kramaric works it well and gets a shot off but it's blocked. The rebound ends up with Perisic who crosses in, but Bono saves the header.
Cleared away. Danger averted.
Corner to Croatia. El Yamiq now with a strong challenge on Livaja. Croatia coming strong.
Croatia almost get in from a ball over the top but Dari does well and performs an acrobatic clearance to hook it away.
Both teams are finding space out wide to attack each other: Croatia are finding space on their left thanks to Hakimi's advanced positioning, but the Atlas Lions are profiting so much from his talent and link-up play with Ziyech that they can afford to leave him there.
OK, Croatia are having some possession now, looking to take the sting out of the African side's relentless energy levels.
Morocco continue to press the shellshocked Croatia down the right. They're well pegged back now.
The stadium has erupted... and Morocco are coming again!!!
Morocco get a free kick straight after kick off and DARI HEADS IN FROM CLOSE RANGE
WE HAVE COME TO HAVE SOME FOOTBALL FUN TODAY!
It's not Modric who takes, but Majer, who chips the ball over the wall to Perisic. The winger sends a header in the box at a 90 degree angle to the oncoming Gvardiol - who we will now remember for something more than *that* moment with Messi. Lovely! *chef's kiss*
WHAT A WONDERFUL GOAL
Foul from Amrabat on Livaja, 40 yards out on the left. A chance to put the ball in the box for Croatia.
There we go, Bono, that was a lovely pass, high in the air and straight to the left-back. Morocco now looking to build up an attack and get out of their own half.
Nearly an own goal! He has the ball at his feet on the goal line, looks towards the left back and passes the ball so awkwardly that it nearly rolls right into the net! Mysterious way of playing out from the back, that's for sure.
And it's Modric, who else, who starts off the first attack of the game, playing a pass from deep to the right wing and almost setting up a chance through the African defence.
And we're off!
Croatia start us off from left to right.
They are in the fantastic red and white shirt, white shorts and white socks; Morocco are in red shirts, green shorts and red socks.
Croatia's national anthem is lovely and regal. Luka Modricsangitbeautifully and the little mascot girl next to him looked delighted, as you would.
Morocco, wow. Absolutely belted out by the fans and players, as they have done for the entire tournament. Great stuff.
The players are in the tunnel
The lights are fire is flying around the stadium (in a controlled and safe manner) which means we're almost ready to go!
The big World Cup is on the pitch! The warmups are finished and the players are inside now for the final teamtalks before the match gets underway!
The Khalifa International Stadium is filling up nicely!
The players' warmups will be soon finished and then you know what's after that...
The huge World Cup trophy and the light show!
Luka Modric with Croatia:
4 World Cup tournaments
4 Euros tournaments
The two teams have arrived at the stadium
The pitch looks lovely and the players seem to be in high spirits - let's hope those smiles transfer into festive fun on the pitch.
Official confirmation of the Morocco lineup
It's a strong team, that's for sure.
Amrabat is in the middle of midfield, and as he will be feeding the front three of Boufal, En-Nesyri and Ziyech, we should be in for tasty football fun.
One hour to go!
Here's Sofascore with the tactical lineups. Top guys.
How do you feel the result will go? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter, @English_AS or @j4brennan.
Squawka with some fantastic statistics
It really does look like a great battle is about to come our way - especially given how the two teams have lined up! I had a whole paragraph ready about giving fringe players minutes.
It's just gone in the virtual bin, and I am happy about that.
Morocco's team news is in!
Hakimi - Dari - El Yamiq - Attiat-Allah
Ziyech - Sabiri - El Khannous - Boufal
Croatia starting XI:
Here are the players Zlatko Dalic has decided to go with for today's game!
Will the Europeans be able to keep up their African record?
If Gvardiol and Bono start, then they will definitely have a higher chance of maintaining the record. We might, however, see some changes from both managers to allow new faces to step in and have their moment at the World Cup.
Let's see. Team news soon.
As well as the immeasurable levels of pride that are at stake with today's game, there is also a lot of money. Find out how much each team gets - and all the other teams at the World Cup - here.
It was a heartbreaking end to a wonderful story
Although today won't do much to numb the pain, Morocco can be proud to know they made World Cup history and that with their fascinating squad, it does look like they will be able to keep up their achievements when the next tournament comes around and continue to fight amongst the top teams in football.
Speaking of Gvardiol, here is what the defender said about "the best player in history".
Apart from calling him "the best player in history".
Modric: Need I say more? The midfielder has been one of the best ballers of a generation, and he somehow does not look like slowing down. He can skip past opponents 20 years younger than him, and routinely runs the show for both club and country. I'm going to leave it there; there is little else anyone on earth can say about Lukita other than 'thank you, Luka'.
Livakovic: Is he your goalkeeper of the tournament? It's him or Bono for me. Livakovic has been outstanding in all of Croatia's games, making outstanding saves in all the knockout rounds and helping his side get through on the multiple penalty shootouts they have endured.
Gvardiol: Yes, I know he got his ribcage rotated 270º inside his body (probably) by Messi in the last game, but Gvardiol has still confirmed what everyone suspected: that he is, without a doubt, one of the best young players in world football. His defensive ability is years beyond his age and his capacity to play the ball out from the back is unrivalled by many in Europe's top leagues. It is no wonder that he has been linked with every big team across Europe and we will surely he his name for a long time to come.
Who to watch for Morocco:
Bono: the goalkeeper has had a stellar tournament, with his highlight perhaps coming in the penalty shootout against Spain in the quarter-finals, where Spain failed to score any of their shots. Let's see if he can have one more beautiful day today.
Yes, I am going to use all the puns that I failed to fit in against France. It's Morocco's fault for playing so well, Bono didn't get a touch. They could have played that game with or without-
Amrabat: Of course this guy is here. Amrabat is potentially player of the tournament alongisde Antoine Griezmann - and if he doesn't win that then the breakout star accolade is on him instead. The Fiorentina player sits at the base of the midfield, screening the game like a three-headed watchdog, waiting for any moment to jump in and sweep up potential attack from the opponent. As well as that, he can collect the ball from the defenders and start attacks himself, using his fantastic passing and vision to pick out a teammate and get the Moroccan side moving forward.
Ounahi: Angers' midfielder has shone in Walid Regragui's 4-1-4-1 system, playing just ahead of Amrabat, as a number 8. He helps greatly in the press, covering across the fullback in the wide areas, which allows the team the set up in their solid, defensive shape, ready to spring like aggressively fast wild flowers when the moment arrives.
Much has been made about Luka Modric, who is now 37 years old, and whether or not he will announce his retirement after the tournament ends.
The midfielder is set to negotiate a contract extension with Real Madrid when he returns to the Spanish capital, by 2024, but when the next tournament comes around, he will be almost 40 years old.
Despite this, Croatia manager Zlatko Dalic left the door wide open for the player, and it looks as though Modric hasn't taken his boots off just yet...
Here is what Croatia manager Zlatko Dalic had to say about Croatia's best ever player.
So, back to today's game. Here is all the information you could may to know about the referee, Abdulrahman Al-Jassim, from Qatar .
Refereeing standards have actually been quite the topic at the World Cup so far - Morocco have even filed an official complaint - but let's hope that Al-Jassim has a quiet one today.
Croatia did what Croatia do so well...
Perhaps the most impressive part of Croatia's World Cup heroics this time around was the fact that they did it surrounded by questions of tiredness, ageing players, as well as frank doubts about the quality of their squad.
They got to the final of the competition last year, against France , losing a crazy game that saw six goals, one a penalty, one an own goal and another from a terrifically silly goalkeeping error from eventual winner, Hugo Lloris.
This year they sandwiched a 4-1 smashing of funbags Canada between two 0-0 draws, firstly against Morocco (but you knew that already) and then Belgium .
In the next round, Croatia started to do typical Croatia things: win on penalties. They took Japan for a long, slow 120 minute tango before ending their dreams 3-1 from the spot.
Then came Brazil , who had appeared to be taking the World Cup by storm, yellow shirts flashing around as though they were a swarm of a thousand samba-infused wasps; Croatia made them look more like 11 clumsy versions of Big Bird from Sesame Street.
The European side scored an equaliser in the 117th minute after a fantastic Neymar goal, taking the game through the magic portal to the infamous penalty realm, where the Croatians do their business. And they did. Brazil missed two from 5 and Croatia had made it to the final four again.
They came up against Argentina , who had had problems of their own, losing on the opening day to Saudi Arabia and looking like Messi was crashing out in tears. But they evolved since that day into a beast that nobody can quite describe, but one that works to its strengths and they defeated Modric's side 3-0.
Morocco made it so far and it was so much fun
The Atlas Lions have made us all ask family members if we have any long long relatives from Morocco, just to give us another reason to support their fabulous run to the semi-final.
Today is the first time an African nation will participate in this fixture as the deepest journeys into the World Cup by an African side before now were all halted at the quarter-finals.
Ghana in 2010, Senegal in 2022 and Cameroon back in 1990 had been the best results from the continent until Morocco's achievements this year.
Their Group Stage campaign kicked off with, ahem, a 0-0 draw against Croatia!
Then they promptly beat Belgium and Canada to finish top of their group before Spain tried to cut through the Moroccan wall with spoons instead of knives.
Cristiano Ronaldo huffed and puffed before the Africans sent him crying down the tunnel at full-time with a stellar performance from the injury-ravaged squad that by now was suffering the full force of a deep World Cup run.
And then came France and their frankly strange football. The current champions somehow make their game seem slightly boring before you realise they've already scored 2, which is what happened against Morocco, who were fantastic yet again. Theo Hernández grabbed an early lead for Les Bleus before Kolo Muani sealed it after Mbappé decided to wake up and hop, skip and jump over 300 challenges inside the box.
Heeeeeeeello! Welcome, welcome, welcome to the AS live feed of the most important football that is happening today.
I can tell you are all fresh from watching Aberdeen vs Celtic in the Scottish Premiership - but now it's time for some World Cup action!
It is actually game 63 of the tournament - have you been counting? - and that means that there are only two left!
Today we've got the most important of the two: it's the third place playoff between Croatia and Morocco!
This game will decide which team comes third and fourth in the official World Cup rankings at the end of the tournament.
It's Joe here again and I'll be talking you through all the action at the Khalifa International Stadium.