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


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.

The game started at speed, with Croatia centre-back Josko Gvardiol scoring a diving header after only seven minutes, converting an excellent set-piece routine.

Two minutes later, Morocco were level, with centre-back Achraf Dari (who started the tournament as fourth-choice) heading an equaliser after poor Croatian marking. Both him and defensive partner Jawad El Yamiq would later go off with injury, leaving fifth-choice centre-back Badr Benoun as the only recognised central defender on the pitch.

Three minutes before half-time came the moment which the match will be remembered for — a sublime curling winner from Orsic.

Both sides had chances in the second-half, with Gvardiol somehow not given a penalty after being fouled by Sofyan Amrabat, while Youssef En-Nesyri fired an excellent chance straight at Dominik Livakovic.

Mateo Kovacic dragged a shot wide late on, while with 30 seconds left, En-Nesyri’s header fell inches over the bar, agonisingly for Morocco.

It ensured Luka Modric bade farewell to the World Cup with a win, with the 37-year-old midfielder not expected to appear in another tournament.

Croatia vs Morocco key moment

Oh, Mislav Orsic. It is to the tournament’s detriment that a goal of this quality was scored in the third-place play-off, rather than a more meaningful fixture. But it was a goal worthy of winning any game.

With the score at 1-1, Morocco’s 18-year-old attacking midfielder Bilal El Khannouss, otherwise excellent on debut, lost the ball in transition. A promising Croatia attack seemed thwarted, but the ball spilt to Dinamo Zagreb forward Orsic on the left-hand side of the box. 

The 30-year-old opened up his body, and gently floated the ball over Yassine Bounou, the ball curling goalwards before entering the net with a satisfying thud off the post.

Player of the match — Josko Gvardiol

Gvardiol has been one of the best defenders at the World Cup, though he was befuddled by Lionel Messi in the semi-final loss to Argentina. No shame in that.

He rebounded brilliantly this game, bursting forward out of defence on several occasion, and showing his abilities as a ball-playing centre-back. Scoring in the opening minutes with a brilliant diving header, he provided several excellent last-gasp blocks, and was unfortunate not to be awarded a penalty after a challenge from Sofyan Amrabat.

A word also for Luka Modric, playing in his final World Cup match.

Key statistic

Croatia has only been an independent country for 30 years, and have qualified for six tournaments.

They have reached the semi-finals in three of them, finishing third in 1998, second in 2018, and third in 2022.

What does it all mean?

Croatia finish third for the second time in their history, while Morocco miss out on being the first African side to win a medal at the World Cup.

What next?

There have been 63 matches at the 2022 World Cup, and all that is left is the World Cup final.

France will play Argentina on Sunday at 3pm GMT (10am ET), with both sides bidding for their third title.

(Photo: Getty Images)


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