Although the Atlas Lions of Morocco will not be able to win the World Cup in Qatar, their historic run at the Mundial has already gained them many admirers throughout the globe. The Atlas Lions, who are looking to roar once more in Qatar when they play Croatia in the third-place match on Saturday at the Khalifa International Stadium, are proud to be the first African team to go to the World Cup semifinal.
It’s interesting to note that the two teams had previously put themselves to the test in Qatar because Croatia and Morocco were placed in the same Group F for the first round. The Atlas Lions displayed a glimpse of their defensive prowess in that first group game, holding the Checkered Ones to just five attempts. A similarly tight-knit defensive performance could propel the Africans to a ground-breaking World Cup victory.
Both Morocco and Croatia raised eyebrows in order to go to the losers’ final; the former pulled off an impressive run in which it defeated teams like Belgium, Spain, and Portugal, while the latter was in charge of eliminating heavy favorites Brazil from contention for the prize. No one anticipates Croatia or Morocco to treat the third-place game with kid gloves, despite the fact that both teams would have loved to play in the final.
Morocco rejoices over defeating Belgium. Photo credit goes to @Squawka.
Walid Regragui, head coach of Morocco, said, “We would have liked things to have gone differently and played in the final.”
Another game is available. We’d prefer a spot at the podium.
“I know it’s significant to place third rather than fourth, but the bottom line is we didn’t make it to the championship game. We preferred not to play the final today but on Sunday instead (Saturday).
However, I reminded my guys that this was their eighth World Cup game. Any supporter of Morocco would be happy to hear that we will play our seventh game on December 17. “This is priceless. Morocco played six World Cup games in twenty or so years, and now we’ve played six games in a month. From a perspective of experience, it’s as if we played two or perhaps three World Cups.
While Zlatko Dalic’s team has been there and done that before, it is evident that this is uncharted territory for Morocco, who just just made it out of their World Cup groups in previous tournaments.
Aside from their remarkable run to the 2018 final, Croatia has experience playing for the bronze medal, having defeated the Netherlands 2-1 in the 1998 World Cup third-place playoff.
In what he perceives as a “big match,” Croatia target Dalic says his team wants to finish the tournament on a positive note. He said, “For us, this is a major final, a major game, and a battle for a medal.” We have a lot of respect for the Moroccan team, who excelled at this competition and came as a true surprise. They share the same perspective.
READ ALSO: France wins final ticket in Qatar 2022 over spirited Morocco.
It is a big game for them as well; they have a great lineup, and we aren’t worried about what our opponents are saying since we know they are vying for the same position; therefore, it is a big game for both of them.
No one expected Morocco to advance as far as they have. They are similar to us from four years ago. They have earned their current position. With each game, they have grown, developed, and reached a greater level. They have developed into an enthusiastic and driven team.
Speaking of countries that may have performed better, Italy did not even qualify, making them undoubtedly the most gratifying and largest surprise of this World Cup. In this particular World Cup, two underdog nations compete for third place in a play-off.
Many are interested to see how Croatia and Morocco, who performed admirably in Qatar, could recover from their respective 3-0 and 2-0 losses to Argentina and France and avoid going home empty-handed.