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Croatia v Morocco Live Commentary, 17/12/2022

FT
2 - 1
CRO
MAR
J. Gvardiol (7)
M. Oršić (42)
A. Dari (9)
Khalifa International Stadium

Commentary

That's all for today, goodbye!
Croatia secure their joint second-best finish at a World Cup in third place. Morocco had already made history, and this is the best finish by an African side in the history of the competition.
Croatia finish third in the World Cup after a 2-1 win over Morocco! It took Croatia just seven minutes to break the deadlock as Gvardiol scored a brilliant diving header, but they were pegged back less than two minutes later when Dari nodded in from close range. Orsic restored their lead not long before half-time with a lovely effort that curled in off the far post. Morocco had two big chances in the second half to try and take it to extra time, but Livakovic made himself big to deny En-Nesyri before the forward thumped a header over in the final seconds.
90' + 7' FULL-TIME: CROATIA 2-1 MOROCCO.
90' + 6' WHAT A CHANCE! Attiat-Allah whips in a brilliant cross from the left and En-Nesyri rises above Perisic in the middle to thump a header on goal. There's not enough dip on it though, and it lands on the roof of the net.
K. Jakić
M. Oršić
Croatia
90' + 5' One last change from Croatia as they look to run the clock down. Orsic, who scored the match-winner as it stands, goes off to be replaced by Jakic.
90' + 4' It's a lovely turn from Ziyech to get away from Petkovic and he lifts another good ball into the box. Gvardiol stretches to clear it and Chair's follow-up cross is straight at Livakovic.
90' + 2' There are some tired legs out there for Morocco now as they chase Croatia, who are determined to keep possession for the last four minutes or so of stoppage time.
90' Ziyech takes this free-kick quickly, knocking it down the right for Hakimi to chase. He lifts a good cross into the box, which is too high for Benoun, and En-Nesyri nods it against Petkovic behind him.
89' Morocco have a good chance to get the ball into the box with time running out. It's a poor free-kick from Ziyech on the left though and it's comfortably cleared by Sutalo.
87' GREAT CHANCE! Stanisic touches it into Kovacic, who gets it out of his feet before nudging his way in front of Amrabat. He drags at his shot, sending it across the face of goal and wide of the far post.
86' It's great play from Vlasic down the right to keep the ball in before picking Pasalic out with a reverse pass. He tries to drive into the box but is blocked off by Benoun.
S. Amallah
Yellow Card
Morocco
84' Petkovic is down and wins a free-kick, with Amallah unhappy that it went against him. He leads the protests to the referee and talks himself into a booking.
82' Croatia are back on the front foot and Petkovic wins a corner after some good hold-up play. It's a poor delivery from Orsic, though Morocco can't break on the counter.
80' Ziyech checks back to lose Perisic and he whips another dangerous cross in from the right. It's just too high for En-Nesyri and it bounces harmlessly out of play.
78' Both sides are struggling to keep hold of the ball now, and some sloppiness is creeping in. Modric latches onto the ball in the middle, but Perisic can't control his throughball after a heavy touch.
76' Morocco are asking for a penalty of their own at the other end after Hakimi goes down under pressure from Petkovic. The contact came just outside the box and there wasn't much in it, but the frustration is rising in both sets of players.
75' WHAT A SAVE! The game has truly opened up in the last few minutes and Gvardiol's flicked clearance falls to En-Nesyri at the far post. He lets the ball bounce before hitting the half-volley, but Livakovic spreads himself to smother it.
74' NO PENALTY! Gvardiol makes a brilliant run through the middle and he's one-on-one with the goalkeeper. He's setting himself for a shot when Amrabat kicks his back foot and brings him down, but the referee waves play on, and VAR agrees.
73' Morocco are still patiently pushing upfield in search of an equaliser. Attiat-Allah gets the better of Stanisic but his deflected cross is met by Gvardiol in the middle.
71' Vlasic makes a great run through the middle and the space opens up invitingly for him. He takes on the shot from range, but it's always rising high over the bar.
A. Ounahi
Yellow Card
Morocco
69' Ounahi is shown the first yellow card of the game for dissent after protesting a free-kick.
M. Pašalić
L. Majer
Croatia
67' And Pasalic is also on in place of Majer.
S. Amallah
J. El Yamiq
Morocco
67' Morocco's final change is an enforced one as they have another injury to one of their defenders. El Yamiq has a hamstring problem so Amallah replaces him as Amrabat drops into the back line.
B. Petković
M. Livaja
Croatia
66' Croatia are making a double change of their own. Livaja is the first to go off, with Petkovic on for him.
A. Zaroury
S. Boufal
Morocco
64' And Boufal is also taken off, with Zaroury replacing him.
B. Benoun
A. Dari
Morocco
64' Double change for Morocco now. Dari is the first to make way, with Benoun on for him.
63' Morocco are pushing forward again, but they're struggling to find a way through Croatia. Ounahi carries it a long way down the right, but can't pick out a red shirt with his cross.
N. Vlašić
A. Kramarić
Croatia
61' Kramaric made his way straight off the field with the medical team, and Vlasic is now ready to come on in his place.
60' Kramaric made his way back to the centre circle from the corner flag before going down with an injury. Play initially continued, but he receives treatment now and it's not looking good for the forward.
58' It's better from Morocco here as Boufal takes matters into his own hands by driving forward. His team-mates are slow to get into the box though and the chance goes to waste.
A. Ounahi
B. El Khannouss
Morocco
56' Morocco are making their second change now, and it's El Khannouss that's replaced by Ounahi.
55' Modric takes a corner short and Majer swings another dangerous cross into the box. Livaja and Kramaric got in each other's way, with the former slicing his shot away and Orsic's follow-up from range is blazed high over the bar.
53' Croatia have won all of their World Cup games when they've led at half-time (6/6), while Morocco have lost five of their six matches in the competition when they've trailed at the break (D1).
51' Perisic keeps it in play on the left before touching it into Majer. He whips a brilliant ball across the face of goal which Livaja gets a touch on, but he helps it wide of the far post.
49' Attiat-Allah spots Boufal's run down the left and slides it through to him. The winger has Stanisic tight to him though and he can't find enough space to square it into the middle for En-Nesyri.
47' CLOSE! Orsic cuts inside from the left and the space just opens up for him, so he decides to try his luck for a second goal. It's heading into the near post, until El Yamiq's deflection takes it into the side netting.
46' Morocco get us back underway for the second half!
I. Chair
A. Sabiri
Morocco
46' Morocco are making a change at the start of the second half. Sabiri is the one going off, with Chair on in his place.
Dalic will be pleased with what he's seen so far from his side after a strong first-half performance. He'll be looking for more of the same after the break. Morocco may have only had one shot on target, but they're still very much in this game and showed their threat, which they will want to do more of in the second half.
Croatia take a 2-1 lead over Morocco into half-time in the third-place play-off. This game couldn't be more different to the cagey affair played out in their first group game, with Gvardiol breaking the deadlock with a diving header just seven minutes in. Less than two minutes later, Morocco were level, with Dari nodding in from close range. Croatia were the more dominant side and restored their lead just before the break, with Orsic curling one in off the inside of the post.
45' + 2' HALF-TIME: CROATIA 2-1 MOROCCO.
45' + 1' Sabiri decides to go for a more direct route to goal as he plays it long over the top. It looks like Gvardiol has it covered as he nods it back to Livakovic. En-Nesyri is chasing it down, but the keeper manages to get there first.
44' Morocco lose the ball in their own half again, and Orsic bursts forward down the left on the counter again. He can't pick out a team-mate with his cross though, and Morocco breath another sigh of relief.
M. Livaja
Assist
Croatia
42' The Moroccan defenders were drawn to Livaja, who quickly touched it into Orsic's path instead of trying his luck with a shot.
M. Oršić
Goal
Croatia
42' ORSIC SCORES! And what a goal it is! Majer's heavy touch takes away his chance for a shot, but Croatia keep hold of the ball as Livaja knocks it out to Orsic. On the left of the box, he hits it first time, curling his shot just over Bounou's outstretched hand and in off the inside of the far post. 2-1 Croatia!
41' Ziyech has grown into this game and he cuts inside, wrongfooting Modric, to find space. It's not the cleanest of strikes though as his long-range effort bobbles wide of the near post.
39' Orsic flicks it on down the left and Modric has space to run into. He pulls it back, looking for Kramaric in the middle, but a deflection off Hakimi's heel takes it away from him.
37' CLOSE! Instead of taking this corner short, Ziyech whips in another dangerous cross. Boufal rises highest to glance it on at the near post, but nobody is waiting at the back for a tap-in.
36' Ziyech stands over another free-kick, and this one is a much better delivery as he whips it towards the far post. En-Nesyri is hovering, but Perisic flicks it away ahead of him.
34' Morocco are upping the pace here as Attiat-Allah makes the overlapping run down the left. Boufal looks to pick him out, but Stanisic scrambles to block the throughball.
32' Morocco work it well down the left this time, with Boufal cutting inside and weaving into the box as he played a one-two with El Khannouss. Sutalo reads the danger well though and gets across to clear his lines.
30' It's wonderful link-up play between Ziyech and Hakimi as the right-back peels into space down the wing. He whips it in from the byline, but it's behind Boufal, who couldn't reach it.
28' Morocco just can't get out of their own half at the moment. Bounou goes long in an attempt to get them upfield, but they quickly lose out to Croatia again.
26' Croatia win a free-kick on the right this time, with Majer curling this one in. Perisic gets on the end of it and tries to loop a header in from the edge of the box, but it flies high and wide.
24' DOUBLE SAVE! Two poor clearances from Morocco means the ball falls to Modric on the edge of the box. He checks back to lose Dari before drilling a low shot that Bounou spills before scrambling to deny Perisic a tap-in.
23' Still, Croatia dominate possession, but Morocco are making it difficult to get through. Sutalo decides to go long for Perisic this time, but he can't stretch to keep it in.
21' Gvardiol is the youngest player to score for Croatia at the World Cup (20y 328d), with the previous youngest being Ivica Olic in 2002 versus Italy (22y 267d).
19' Boufal thought he was fouled, but the referee doesn't see it that way as Croatia burst forward. Orsic's shot is blocked, but they recycle it down the left through Perisic. His cross is glanced on by Kramaric, but his header is straight at Bounou.
17' Morocco are happy to just sit back in their own half, keeping a compact shape. Croatia are patiently working it forward, but can't find a way through at the moment.
15' El Khannouss is caught on the ball just outside his own box and Kramaric squares it to Livaja. His first touch is sloppy, but it ends up being a good set-up for Stanisic, but his first-time shot is fired over.
13' Orsic's route down the right is cut out, so Croatia work it back to switch it to the opposite flank. Gvardiol goes long, looking for Perisic, but there's too much on it.
11' It's a good reaction from Croatia to going behind as they work it straight upfield following the restart. Orsic cuts inside from the wing and tries to curl it into the far post, but it flies wide.
A. Dari
Goal
Morocco
9' DARI EQUALISES! Just like that, Morocco are back in this game! Croatia's goalscorer, Gvardiol, gives away the free-kick and it's not a great delivery from Ziyech, but it loops off Majer in the wall and onto the edge of the six-yard box. Dari is alert and he heads it past Livakovic from close range. 1-1!
I. Perišić
Assist
Croatia
7' The Moroccan defenders just didn't pick up Perisic's run, and he nods it back into the space for Gvardiol.
J. Gvardiol
Goal
Croatia
7' GVARDIOL SCORES! It's a lovely free-kick from Modric as he lifts it into the near post and Perisic peels away from his defender to cushion it into the middle. Gvardiol throws himself forward to head the ball past Bounou as it sneaks into the back of the net. 1-0 Croatia!
6' Croatia are keeping the pressure on Morocco here and they win a free-kick in a good position on the left when Kramaric is tripped by Amrabat.
4' Croatia have made a bright start to this game as Majer swings the corner into the box and again, Morocco can't clear their lines properly. Kovacic lifts it back into the box, but it's just over Kramaric.
2' Perisic swings a good cross in from the byline on the left and Morocco only half clear their lines. It's knocked back to Bounou, who almost puts it into the back of his own net instead of picking out Dari, but it rolls out for a corner.
1' Kovacic gets the game underway for Croatia!
The teams are out on the pitch, the national anthems have been sung, and kick-off is just moments away!
None of the previous 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 game in each of the last 10 editions of the tournament, since Brazil's 2-1 win over Italy in 1978.
Walid Regragui makes just three changes from their semi-final against France, with Attiat-Allah, Sabiri and El Khannouss coming in. Ounahi starts on the bench, where Saiss and Aguerd are also named after passing fitness tests. Cheddira is back among the substitutes after suspension, while Noussair Mazraoui is out through injury.
Zlatko Dalic makes five changes to the side that lost to Argentina on Tuesday. Stanisic, Sutalo, Orsic, Majer and Livaja are all brought in, while Gvardiol is fit enough to retain his place. Brozovic, Juranovic, Lovren, Sosa and Pasalic drop to the bench.
MOROCCO SUBS: Azzedine Ounahi, Nayef Aguerd, Munir Mohamedi, Selim Amallah, Ilias Chair, Zakaria Aboukhlal, Abderrazak Hamdallah, Yahya Jabrane, Walid Cheddira, Anass Zaroury, Abdessamad Ezzalzouli, Romain Saiss, Ahmed Tagnaouti, Badr Benoun.
MOROCCO STARTING XI (4-3-3): Yassine Bounou; Achraf Hakimi, Achraf Dari, Jawad El Yamiq, Yahya Attiat-Allah; Abdelhamid Sabiri, Sofyan Amrabat, Bilal El Khannouss; Hakim Ziyech, Youssef En-Nesyri, Sofiane Boufal.
CROATIA SUBS: Martin Erlic, Bruno Petkovic, Luka Sucic, Ivo Grbic, Domagoj Vida, Ante Budimir, Borna Barisic, Josip Juranovic, Dejan Lovren, Ivica Ivusic, Kristijan Jakic, Mario Pasalic, Borna Sosa, Nikola Vlasic, Marcelo Brozovic.
CROATIA STARTING XI (3-5-2): Dominik Livakovic; Josip Stanisic, Josip Sutalo, Josko Gvardiol; Mislav Orsic, Lovro Majer, Luka Modric, Mateo Kovacic, Ivan Perisic; Marko Livaja, Andrej Kramaric.
It's a full-circle moment for Croatia and Morocco, who are now battling it out for third place in the 2022 World Cup after meeting in their opening group game of the tournament. They played out a 0-0 draw in that match, but have both pulled off some big results since then. Croatia missed the chance to reach a second consecutive final in the tournament after being comfortably beaten 3-0 by Argentina on Tuesday, just four days after knocking Brazil out on penalties. Morocco have already made history in this tournament, reaching the furthest point of any African nation in the competition. Their 2-0 defeat to France in the semi-final was their first at this World Cup, and they've kept four clean sheets so far.
Hello and welcome to live coverage of the World Cup third-place play-off meeting between Croatia and Morocco at the Khalifa International Stadium!