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2022 World Cup

Morocco, Croatia Look For Consolation Prize

Morocco and Croatia will look to end their 2022 FIFA World Cup campaign on a high note when they meet in the third-place playoff at Khalifa International Stadium in Doha on Saturday.

Morocco’s hopes of reaching the final were dashed on Tuesday night when they succumbed to a 2-0 loss to defending champions France.

In the process, Walid Regragui’s men rewrote history by becoming the first African nation to ever grace the semi-final of the global football showpiece.

Led by influential captain Roman Saiss, the North Africans had the best defense and arguably the most effective attack that saw off the likes of Belgium and Spain on the road to the last four.

However, coach Regragui is expected to field a changed side and give opportunities to those players who are yet to taste the tournament.

“I will be difficult on the mental level,” Regragui said. “I will give opportunities to those who did not participate, and we will try to clinch the third place.

“The important thing is that we presented a good look to our team and that soccer in Morocco is not far from the top levels.”

On the other hand, Croatia is set to go all out and fight to erase their 3-0 defeat against Argentina in the semis by at least finishing as number three.

The Blazers were hoping to play their second consecutive World Cup final but were outclassed by Lionel Messi-led La Albiceleste at the Lusail Stadium.

Nevertheless, Croatia coach Dalic has been impressed by his charges’ performance in Qatar where they defeated Japan and Brazil in the knockout stages.

“If someone had offered us this before the World Cup, we would have accepted it, this is a great success for the Croatian national team and we are proud,” Dalic said after the defeat and added his team must play to secure the third position in the World Cup.

“I told the players they need to keep their head up, be proud of doing your maximum and be ready, be prepared to fight for third place (on Saturday)… We have to be psychologically ready to play against France or Morocco,” he said.

Both teams will come against each other with a lot of pressure attached in efforts to find a goal in this one as they played to a goalless stalemate at the group phase of the competition

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