Croatia and Morocco will come head-to-head in the World Cup third-place play-off tomorrow after suffering crushing semi-final defeats.
The two nations defied all expectations to make it to the last four but Argentina and France proved to be too good.
Morocco lost 2-0 to the defending champions but turned in a brilliant display that warranted more, and no matter what happens in this game, they will go home as Africa’s best-ever World Cup team.
Meanwhile, 2018 finalists Croatia found Lionel Messi and co a step too far and lost 3-0.
And they will look to follow their runner-up place in the last World Cup with third here.
This is a match that neither side would have wanted to play, but you can expect both to go for it in a rematch of their group clash at the start of the tournament.
That game ended 0-0 but both sides have developed over the course of the World Cup, so we should be in for a treat before the final on Sunday.
Croatia v Morocco: Date and kick-off time
The World Cup third-place play-off is scheduled for Saturday, 17 December.
Kick-off at the Khalifa International Stadium in Al Rayyan is scheduled for 6pm local time, which is 3pm UK time.
Croatia v Morocco: How to watch on TV
The second-last game of the World Cup will be shown on BBC One with coverage starting 2:30pm.
The match will be free-to-air and can also be streamed on BBC iPlayer.
Croatia v Morocco: How to listen on the radio
Full coverage of the game from the Khalifa International stadium will be live on talkSPORT, with build-up starting at 1pm.
Alex Crook will be your host, while Nigel Adderley and Stuart Pearce will form your commentary team.
talkSPORT.com will also have a dedicated blog.
talkSPORT World Cup 2022 Coverage
talkSPORT is bringing you wall-to-wall coverage of the 2022 World Cup.
We are broadcasting all 64 games in the tournament live, with over 600 hours of coverage across our network.
You can tune in to talkSPORT and talkSPORT 2 via our free online streaming service at talkSPORT.com.
talkSPORT is widely available across the UK via DAB digital radio and on 1089 or 1053 AM.
You can also download the talkSPORT app, or ask your smart speaker to play talkSPORT.
Croatia v Morocco: Squads and team news
Both sides might choose to rotate their squads in this game but Morocco are likely to be without several players.
Nayef Aguerd was included in the starting XI against France before being taken out before kick-off due to an ongoing injury.
Romain Saiss was substituted in the first half after trying to battle through a hamstring problem, while Noussair Mazraoui was withdrawn at half time.
But Walid Cheddira will be available after serving a one-match suspension.
Meanwhile, Croatia are likely to be without Marcelo Brozovic after he experienced some unknown discomfort against Argentina.
And Josko Gvardiol has been having injections to help with a foot problem.
- Goalkeepers : Dominik Livakovic, Ivica Ivusic, Ivo Grbic
- Defenders : Domagoj Vida, Dejan Lovren, Borna Barisic, Josip Juranovic, Josko Gvardiol, Borna Sosa, Josip Stanisic, Martin Erlic, Josip Šutalo
- Midfielders : Luka Modric, Mateo Kovacic, Marcelo Brozovic, Mario Pasalić, Nikola Vlasic, Lovro Majer, Kristijan Jakic, Luka Sucic
- Forwards : Ivan Perisic, Andrej Kramaric, Bruno Petkovic, Mislav Orsic, Ante Budimir, Marko Livaja
- Goalkeepers: Yassine Bounou, Munir Mohamedi, Ahmed Reda Tagnaouti
- Defenders: Achraf Hakimi, Noussair Mazraoui, Roman Saiss, Nayef Aguerd, Badr Benoun, Jawad El Yamiq, Achraf Dari, Yahia Attiyat Allah
- Midfielders: Sofyan Amrabat, Amine Harit, Azzedine Ounahi, Ilias Chair, Selim Amallah, Yahya Jabrane, Abdelhamid Sabiri, Bilal El Khannous
- Forwards: Hakim Ziyech, Youssef En-Nesyri, Abderrazak Hamdallah, Abde Ezzalzouli, Sofiane Boufal, Zakaria Aboukhlal, Walid Cheddira
Croatia v Morocco: What has been said?
Morocco manager Walid Regragui after the defeat to France: “At a World Cup this was perhaps one step too far. Not in terms of quality or tactics, but physically we came up short tonight
“We had too many players at 60% or 70%. With all our squad fit we could have caused them a lot of problems.”
Croatia v Morocco: Match facts
- This is the second meeting between Croatia and Morocco at this World Cup, having played out a 0-0 draw on MD1. Croatia were restricted to five shots, their fewest ever in a World Cup match.
- Croatia have kept a clean sheet in all three of their previous World Cup matches against African sides, beating Cameroon 4-0 in 2014, Nigeria 2-0 in 2018, and drawing 0-0 with Morocco this year.
- None of the 19 previous third place play-off matches at the World Cup have gone to penalties, with only one being settled in extra time (France v Belgium in 1986). A European nation has won this match in each of the last 10 editions of the tournament, since Brazil’s 2-1 win over Italy in 1978.
- This is Croatia’s second third place play-off match in the World Cup, previously beating Netherlands 2-1 in the 1998 edition.
- Regardless of the result, Morocco participating in this match is the furthest an African nation has ever reached in World Cup history.
- Croatia conceded as many goals in their 3-0 semi-final defeat against Argentina as they had in their previous five games at the 2022 World Cup combined. They’ve also faced more shots than any other side at this tournament (75)
- Morocco conceded more goals in their 2-0 semi-final defeat to France than they had in their previous five matches at this World Cup combined (1). They could still become the eighth team to keep as many as five clean sheets in a single tournament, after Netherlands (1974), Italy (1990), Brazil (1994), France (1998), Germany (2002), Italy (2006) and Spain (2010).
- 37-year-old Luka Modric has played in all six of Croatia’s games at this World Cup. Only goalkeepers Peter Shilton (1990) and Dino Zoff (1982) have played more games at a single edition while aged 37+ (both 7).
- Ivan Perisic has scored six World Cup goals for Croatia – one more would make him their outright top scorer in the competition, surpassing Davor Suker.
- Morocco’s Azzedine Ounahi has completed 77% of his attempted take-ons at the 2022 World Cup (10/13), the highest rate of any player to attempt at least 10.
Watch the World Cup with talkSPORT
At talkSPORT we are powered by fans, so come and join us for the ultimate World Cup fan experience this winter – at the talkSPORT Fan Zone.
In a huge indoor venue under the arches at Waterloo in London, we’ll bring you live screenings of every World Cup game.
There will be Q&As with talkSPORT talent, you’ll be part of our live broadcasts, and there will be plenty of food and drink on offer too.
Come and enjoy the best World Cup fan experience in London – and enjoy a pint on us – with tickets for all remaining games on sale HERE!
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by PostX News and is published from a syndicated feed.)