Croatia defeated Morocco 2-1 within the World Cup third place play-off on Sunday morning, with Mislav Orsic curling dwelling the gorgeous winner.
Josko Gvardiol, one of many stars of the event in Qatar, headed Croatia into the lead within the seventh minute on the Khalifa Worldwide Stadium however Achraf Dari introduced Morocco stage instantly.
Orsic’s terrific curling strike late within the first half ensured Croatia took dwelling the bronze medal, the eleventh World Cup in a row a European workforce has completed third.
“It’s a bronze medal however for us it’s like a gold medal,” Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic stated.
Walid Regragui, the Morocco coach, stated there was rather a lot for his workforce to proudly replicate on after they turned the primary African semi-finalists in World Cup historical past.
“It’s a bitter defeat however I believe it’s deserved,” stated Regragui.
“We have now a workforce that by no means gave in. We’ll keep in mind quite a lot of matches, we’re going to return again stronger. We’ve united our nation for a month, all people was completely happy.”
Morocco, who had by no means gone past the final 16 earlier than this World Cup, had signalled their intent with a spirited show towards 2018 runners-up Croatia of their opening sport in Qatar.
The fairytale, nonetheless, is ending with a barely bitter aftertaste after Regragui was seen arguing with match officers after the ultimate whistle.
“A tragic approach for Morocco to finish the event, as their supervisor and gamers encompass the referee – livid about one thing,” the BBC’s Andy Cryer stated.
“They’ve been distinctive on this event, as have Croatia. Most likely the precise consequence this night.”
In was Croatia who appeared to have extra purpose to be indignant with officers after Gvardiol gave the impression to be introduced down in a transparent foul contained in the penalty space.
Croatia had been livid when Gvardiol tumbled inside the realm when his foot gave the impression to be caught by Sofyan Amrabat, however there was no VAR overview.
The BBC’s Danny Murphy stated: “It was a foul, it was sufficient of a foul. It was a penalty 100 per cent.
“It was a transparent and apparent mistake and you’ll see why Gvardiol was so annoyed. Fortunately there haven’t been too many on this World Cup once we thought they’ve that improper. That one was apparent. I don’t know what they assume they’ve seen to not give it.”
It may have proved a match-changing second had Youssef En-Nesyri discovered a well past Livakovic, who unfold himself beautifully to dam the striker from shut vary.
The rematch was nothing just like the cagey 0-0 draw within the group stage, with Morocco goalkeeper Yassine Bounou dangerously near passing the ball into his personal web early on.
Croatia quickly surged in entrance from a well-rehearsed free-kick as Ivan Perisic nodded Lovro Majer’s clip into the field again in the direction of a diving Gvardiol, who planted his header into the nook.
However Morocco hit again two minutes later when Hakim Ziyech’s free-kick looped up off the top of Majer, permitting Dari to move previous Dominik Livakovic.
Andrej Kramaric headed straight at Bounou, who then did properly to scoop the ball to security as Marko Livaja closed in after he spilled a drive from Luka Modric.
Orsic curled in brilliantly through the submit from the nook of the field to place Croatia again on high earlier than half-time after 18-year-old Morocco debutant Bilal El Khannouss misplaced the ball deep in his half.
Orsic once more went shut moments after the restart, his goalbound effort brushing Jawad El Yamiq and fizzing narrowly previous the submit.
Mateo Kovacic put extensive with the possibility to place the sport past doubt. Morocco had a late penalty enchantment turned down and En-Nesyri headed simply over however the Atlas Lions couldn’t discover a approach again after their historic run.