Croatia 2-1 Morocco: Player Ratings Kokatsi wins World Cup bronze medal

Croatia secured third place at the World Cup with a 2-1 win over a spirited but exhausted Morocco.

Zlatko Dalic’s side were torn apart by Lionel Messi and Argentina in the semi-finals, but they looked like their old selves today as they controlled the game and created the bulk of the chances.

Morocco’s spell ended during the semi-final defeat to France, and it looked like it might be another game too far for the Atlas Lions, who conceded after just six minutes when Josco Guardiola headed over a complex challenge. Headed home from the set piece routine.

However, just two minutes later, Morocco leveled the score with a goal that was as spirited as it has played throughout this World Cup. The opposition were able to take advantage of the confusion in the penalty area to head home from close range.

It was the perfect opening 10 minutes to a match that many feared would feel like a dead rubber, with both sides clearly intent on finishing this World Cup on a high.

Both sides continued to cause each other trouble as the half wore on, but it was Croatia who regained the lead shortly before half-time. Morocco failed to clear the ball after Croatia’s attack and Marko Levaja was able to tee up Maslav Orsek, who slotted past Yasin Bonou and a delightful finish at the far post.

The second half lacked the pace and end-to-end excitement of the first, with Morocco succumbing to a number of injuries that forced Waleed Regragai to move midfielder Soufian Amrbat into central defence.

The biggest talking point came with 20 minutes remaining, when referee Abdulrahman Ibrahim al-Jassim shouted for a penalty after Guardiola went down in the box.

Replays showed that the defender had indeed had his foot blown by Amarbat, but strangely VAR chose to intervene.

Although Morocco continued to push until the end, with Youssef N Nesri going close in the last minute, Croatia were able to secure a 2-1 win and a third-place prize.

While both teams may be dreaming of reaching the World Cup finals, they did themselves proud today and made it a fair contest.

Orsic and Perisic were in superb form / Sebastian Frej/MB Media/GettyImages

GK: Dominik Livakovic – 7/10 – Made a couple of good stops to cap off a fantastic tournament.

CB: Josip Stanisic – 7/10 – A very solid display from the defender, whose World Cup has been outstanding.

CB: Josip Sutalo – 6/10 – A solid if unspectacular performance.

CB: Josko Guardiol – 8/10 – What a great header from Guardiol to put Croatia in front. He has well and truly declared himself in Qatar and was king once again today.

RWB: Lovro Majer – 6/10 – Not really all that prominent in Croatia’s attacks and he was rightly replaced.

CM: Mateo Kovacic – 7/10 – Another vintage display from Kovacic, who has quietly been as effective in offense as his partner Modric at this World Cup.

CM: Luka Modric – 7/10 – It could be the last time we see Modric in a Croatia shirt, and the 37-year-old did not disappoint as he looked surprisingly composed.

LWB: Ivan Perisic – 8/10 – Perisic has had a fantastic World Cup and he finished in style here, surely assisting Guardiol’s goal with a volley header. Another Croatian player who may not see another World Cup, the Tottenham Hotspur winger reminded his country that he will be gone when he goes.

AM: Andrej Kramaric – 7/10 – Put in a hard shift and was sad to see his afternoon end early with an injury.

ST: Mislav Orsic – 7/10 – Spurs and Chelsea fans still have nightmares about Orsic from his Champions League display for Dinamo Zagreb, and he lived up to his reputation here with a lovely curled finish.

ST: Marko Livaja – 6/10 – Got an assist, but was also at fault in the breakdown of several Croatian attacks.


SUB: Nikola Vlasic (61′ for Kramark – 6/10

SUB: Mario Pasalic (66′ for Livaja) – 5/10

SUB: Bruno Petkovic (66′ for Majer) – 6/10

SUB: Kristijan Jack (95′ for Orsic) – N/A

The manager

Zlatko Dalic – 7/10 – Croatia weren’t themselves against Argentina, but Dalak cleaned up his side again today. Deserves extra points if he was also involved in devising that free kick routine.

Morocco was not equal for a very long time / Chris Brunskill/Fantasta/Getty Images

GK: Yasin Bono – 5/10 – He has been arguably the best goalkeeper at this World Cup, but Bono looked far from convincing between the sticks today.

RB: Achraf Hakimi 6/10 – Defended well and pushed his side forward consistently, but lacked the end product that could have turned things around for him.

CB: Jawad Al Jamaq – 6/10 – Had a good game but was forced out by injury.

CB: Achraf Dari – 7/10 – Scored a well taken goal and defended well, though sadly had to depart early with an injury.

LB: Yahya Atiyaullah – 5/10 – Never really go.

DM: Sufyan Amarbat – 10/6 – Not the best of times for Amrbat, who has been one of the stars of this World Cup – although, in his defence, he was forced into the backline for the last half hour due to injuries to his teammates.

CM: Abdul Hameed Sabri – 5/10 – Morocco’s low-block strategy didn’t help control the game as it has throughout the tournament, and the game largely passed through Sabri before half-time was on the hook.

Chief Minister: Bilal Al Khanous – 6/10 – Like Sabari, the tenacious and experienced Croatian struggled to make a meaningful impact against the midfield.

RW: Hakeem Ziach – 7/10 – A bright spark in Morocco’s attack, much of their best play came through Zech.

LW: Sofiane Boufl – 6/10 – The former Southampton man has won plaudits for his displays in Qatar, but was more familiar today than what Saints fans may remember from his time on the south coast.

ST: Youssef En-Neseri – 5/10 – Peripheral to most of the game’s action – though to be fair, he hardly had any service from his teammates.


SUB: Elias Cheir (46′ for Sabri) – 5/10

SUB: Azedine Ounahi (56′ for Khannous) – 6/10

SUB: Anass Zaroury (64′ for Boufal) – 6/10

SUB: Badr Banone (64′ for Dari) – 5/10

SUB: Selim Amallah (68′ for El Jamiq) – 5/10

The manager

Waleed Regraghai – 6/10 – Rigorgui only took charge of Morocco in August and has enjoyed massive success with the team at the World Cup, building a disciplined and incredibly effective side. If we’re being critical, however, one can blame the manager for a reluctance to rotate that led to injuries that derailed his side’s performances against France and Croatia.

Player of the Match – Ivan Perisic

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