Croatia vs Morocco: 2022 World Cup Preview & Potential Lineups
Not only bragging rights but a bronze medal and a reported extra $2m in prize money for the victor are at stake as Croatia and Morocco face each other in Saturday's 2022 World Cup third-place playoff tie.
Despite pulling off arguably the biggest upset in Qatar by overcoming pre-tournament favorites Brazil on penalties in the quarterfinals, beaten finalists from 2018 slumped to a woeful 3-0 defeat to Argentina in the semifinals.
Zlatko Dalic's men may have failed to become the only European nation alongside reigning champions France to reach back-to-back World Cup finals, but they can be proud of their performances in the Middle East.
Croatia will have to swiftly get over the emotional low of being thumped by Lionel Messi & Co on Tuesday if they're to thrive in their second third-place playoff appearance.
The Blazers' only previous experience in this fixture dates back to their inaugural World Cup participation as an independent country in 1998 when they ousted the Netherlands 2-1.
On the other hand, Morocco stunned Iberian heavyweights Spain and Portugal in the first two knockout rounds. Unfortunately, France proved too tall of an order in the semifinals, dispatching the Atlas Lions 2-0.
Goals from Theo Hernandez and Randal Kolo Muani crippled the Moroccans' dream of making it to the World Cup showpiece.
No matter what happens on Saturday, Walid Regragui's men have made history in Qatar, becoming the first-ever nation from the CAF region to advance into the World Cup last four.
Croatia conceded as many goals in their 3-0 demolition at the hands of Argentina as they had in their previous five matches at the 2022 World Cup combined.
Scoring remains a problem for Dalic's side, as they failed to get on the scoresheet in four of their six outings in Qatar, extra-time excluded, including a goalless draw with Morocco on day one.
That drab contest in a Group F curtain-raiser saw the Blazers maintain their formidable World Cup run against African nations, as they've kept a clean sheet in all three such match-ups (W2, D1).
Hernandez became the first opposition player to score against Morocco at this World Cup, with the Atlas Lions' only previous goal conceded being Nayef Aguerd's own goal in a 2-1 win against Canada.
Even though high-flying France penetrated Regragui's watertight backline twice on Wednesday, Morocco can still become only the eighth team to register five shutouts in a single World Cup tournament.
However, the Moroccans have massively struggled in the front third from the round of 16 onwards, netting just one goal in their three knockout matches this winter.
Croatia vs Morocco Potential Lineups
Croatia (4-3-3): Dominik Livakovic; Josip Juranovic, Dejan Lovren, Josko Gvardiol, Borna Sosa; Luka Modric, Marcelo Brozovic, Mateo Kovacic; Nikola Vlasic, Andrej Kramaric, Ivan Perisic.
Morocco (4-3-3): Bono; Achraf Hakimi, Jawad El-Yamiq, Achraf Dari, Yahya Attiyat-Allah; Azzedine Ounahi, Sofyan Amrabat, Salem Amallah; Hakim Ziyech, Youssef En-Nesyri, Sofiane Boufal.