The Atlas Lions of Morocco’s fairytale came to a painful end after succumbing to the Blazers of Croatia in the third place playoffs on Saturday evening in Qatar.
The African-Arabian country failed to win the bronze medals to show for their impressive run to becoming the first ever African country to reach the last four in the history of FIFA World Cup to appease their incredible supporters.
Mislav Orsic’s sublime goal towards the end of the first half gave Croatia a 2-1 win over Morocco in the third-place playoff at the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
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 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.
CRO — Josko Gvardiola (Ivan Perisic) — 7th min.
MOR — Achraf Dari — 9th min.
CRO — Mislav Orsic (Marko Livaja) — 42nd min.
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.
By: DD. N. A. MENSAH, Daily Mail GH /Follow the writer @SkipperWrites on Twitter