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FIFAWC 2022: Croatia edge Morocco to claim bronze medal

Modric leads Croatia to second successive podium finish in final World Cup appearance

2018 runners-up Croatia picked up the bronze medal at the 2022 FIFA World Cup after a hard-fought 2-1 win over Morocco in the third-place playoff. The Europeans have now claimed back-to-back podium finishes in the FIFA World Cup for the first time in their history.

After losing to Argentina and France in the semifinals, Croatia and Morocco locked horns in the third-place playoff for a second time in Qatar. The sides had faced off in the group stage and were inseparable at the time, playing out a goalless draw.

With captain Roman Saiss, Noussair Mazraoui and Nayef Aguerd ruled out through injury, the depleted Atlas Lions turned out against Croatia with the bronze medal on the line.

The game got off to an explosive start, with both sides finding the net inside the opening ten minutes.

Croatia took the lead after only seven minutes through a Josko Gvardiol header. A brilliantly-worked free-kick ended up in the box and the 20-year-old RB Leipzig star planted a diving header into the back of the net.

Morocco replied immediately through centre-back Achraf Dari, who started in place of the stricken Saiss. The defender headed the ball past Dominik Livakovic a minute after the game was restarted.

After the frantic start to the game, the match settled down as both sides looked to outfox each other.

Croatia delivered the killer blow just as the half was about to come to an end. Dinamo Zagreb winger Mislav Orsic curled a first-time effort from the edge of the box past Bono and into the back of the net via the upright in the 45th minute.

The second half saw no goals scored by either side as the held onto what they had. Croatia claimed the bronze medal, with captain Luka Modric playing his final World Cup match at 37 years old. They claimed a third podium finish in the World Cup since their debut in 1998.

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