Croatia vs Morocco Fixed Match
From the initial 206 nations that entered qualification for Qatar 2022, Group F’s top-two nations Croatia and Morocco will battle it out to determine third and fourth place. Both sides must get over their respective emotional lows of missing out on the final in order to win something tangible, which in this case will be a bronze medal and a reported extra $2m in prize money for the victor!
Croatia’s route to the final four was impressive, yet not without its bumps in the road. The first of which was a goalless draw against none other than Morocco to open the tournament and stalemates were generally the theme of their World Cup, with penalty shootouts required in both of their knockout successes. However with European sides claiming third place in every World Cup after 1978. Croatia may be quietly confident of winning in what is likely to be the final appearance at a World Cup for 2018 Ballon D’or winner Luka Modrić. Probably the greatest Croatian player of all time.
No matter what happens now, Morocco have made history at this tournament by becoming the first African nation to finish within the top-four at a World Cup. The threat of Croatia perhaps won’t faze Walid Regragui’s men after recording a penalties win over. Spain which preceded a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Portugal in the quarter-final, proving they can mix it with elite European nations.
manipulated fixed matches
Morocco held their own against France for large portions of their semi-final clash, although they were ultimately undone by a lack of cutting edge and fitness issues. Regragui initially named key defenders Romain Saïss and Nayef Aguerd in the starting XI, although both played little or no part in the semi-final due to injuries as Regragui had to change tact early and put the defeat down to his side being “at 60% or 70%”, which is perhaps a cause for concern ahead of this final game.
Players to watch: Ivan Perišić has started every game for. Croatia during the World Cup and is their top contributor, having a hand in half of their goals (G1, A2). Trying to outdo him will be Morocco’s talented 25-year-old forward. Youssef En-Nesyri has plenty left in the tank and will hope to make another big impact at the tournament following his two match-winning goals.
Hot stat: Ten of the last 11 World Cup third place play-offs produced over 2.5 total goals. Whilst eight games during that sequence also saw both teams score.
World Cup trivia: Only one third place play-off in World Cup history has gone to extra time, when. France defeated Belgium with two extra time goals in a 4-2 victory back in 1986.