Another engrossing FIFA World Cup campaign is now at its business end. While the whole world is eagerly waiting for Sunday’s mega battle between France and Argentina, there’s one more intriguing contest left before the final showdown with Croatia and Morocco set to clash heads in the third-place play-off.
Many might see it as a dead rubber tie, however, this particular fixture has offered some fearless and exciting football over the years. It’s more of a prestige fight over glory on Saturday evening when both nations would regroup themselves for one last dance recovering from the heartbreak endured in the semis.
Croatia vs Morocco: Talking Tactics
Croatia are lacking enough firepower high up the pitch, but their resolve and resilience helped them overcome the Japan and Brazil tests in the tie-breaker. Although they were well beaten by Argentina in the previous game, manager Zlatko Dalić should once again line them up in a 4-3-3 setup in an attempt to dominate the show from the centre of the pitch. The trio of Luka Modric, Mateo Kovacic and Marcelo Brozović must exhibit their supremacy once more as they did against the Selecao.
Morocco have stunned the football world with their disciplined and spirited display all throughout the competition. They not only defeated Belgium, Spain and Portugal en route to progressing to the semifinal but also showcased sheer maturity both in defence and attack. Gaffer Walid Regragui opted for a 5-4-1 against France, but a 4-3-3 suits them the most as it allows them flexibility during transitions.
Croatia and Morocco shared the spoils in a stalemate in their opening group-stage encounter, but this third-place outing is destined for a conclusion either in 90 minutes or beyond.
Croatia, the runners-up four years ago, have largely been free of injuries during their time in Qatar. Dalic might make some changes, but he has all his options available for tomorrow’s tie.
Croatia Predicted XI
Livakovic; Juranovic, Lovren, Gvardiol, Barisic; Modric, Brozovic, Kovacic; Vlasic, Kramaric, Perisic.
The Atlas Lions will be without an array of key players as the likes of Nayef Aguerd, Noussair Mazraoui and Romain Saiss remain uncertain due to their respective injury concerns. But they will have Walid Cheddira back available after serving a one-match suspension following his sending-off against Portugal.
Morocco Predicted XI
Bono; Hakimi, El Yamiq, Dari, Attiyat Allah; Amrabat, Ounahi, Amallah; Ziyech, En-Nesyri, Boufal.
Celtic right fullback Josip Juranovic has been a revelation for Kockasti. But all eyes will be on the iconic Luka Modric who has been majestic so far despite being in his late thirties. He must depict his mastery one final time before hanging up his boots.
Achraf Hakimi and Hakim Ziyech justified their talent, but the brilliance of Azzedine Ounahi and Sofyan Amrabat in the middle of the park has caught the attention of Europe’s top teams ahead of a potential winter transfer.
Croatia Vs Morocco: Streaming Links
|United Kingdom||BBC, ITV, talkSport|
|USA||Fox Sports, Telemundo|
|India||Jio Cinema, Sports 18|
|Canada||CTV, TSN, Bell Media|
|Germany||ARD, ZDF, Deutesch Telecom|
|Australia||Fox Sports, SEN|
|New Zealand||Sky Sports NZ, SEN Sports Radio|