Croatia beat Morocco, Gallant Atlas Lions succumb to Experienced Croats

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The Atlas Lions of Morocco fought gallantly but eventually fell 2-1 to Croatia, to finish fourth at the FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

Regardless of the defeat Walid Regragui’s men will be proud of what they have achieved, not many would have envisaged their historic at the tournament.

Praises should also go to Croatia as they had a daunting task of equalling their record in 2018, when they reached the final, and very few people would have expected them to get close to that, but a third place finish is not to bad for the swan song of their mercurial captain and talisman Luka Modric.

His and the experience of the team as well as their Coach, Zlatko Dalic proved crucial on the day.

Unlike the previous meeting in the group stage, which ended goalless, fans were treated to a flurry of goals in the first half – two goals in 10 minutes.

Croatia got the first from a well worked set piece as Modric’s in-swinger was headed on to the path of Josko Gvardiol who made no mistake from his diving header.

However Morocco responded almost immediately as Achraf Dari responded quickly to head home the equaliser from a set piece too.

With the scoreline level and the game pretty much open, it was Croatia who took the initiative and got the next breakthrough.

Mislav Orsic was released by Marko Livaja, many would have expected the attacking midfielder to cross or lay a pass but the Dynamo Zagreb man had other ideas as he nonchalantly dinked one past Yassine Bounou, the effort crashed off the bar and into the net.

The second half however didn’t produce any goal, although the teams had a go at each other.

A few Hakim Ziyech shots from range and some bad decisions in the final third did little to disturb the Croatian defense.

Meanwhile, Morocco have now set a benchmark for African teams, reaching the last four of the World Cup, a feat never before achieved by any team from the continent.

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