Story by Mthokozisi Dube
African surprise package Morocco will need to be at their best to beat 2018 finalists Croatia when the two sides meet this evening for a third-place playoff at the FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
Morocco and Croatia met in the group stages and the result was a nil-all draw and now the bronze medal is at stake meaning it will be a highly competitive match.
Statistically, the Atlas Lions of Morocco seem to have an edge over their opponents as they finished top of Group F with 7 points, while Croatia finished as runners-up with 5 points.
Heading into this fixture, the two sides both lost their matches with Morocco going down two-nil against defending champions France, while Croatia were crushed three-nil by Argentina.
The Croats have the ageless 37-year-old Luka Modric who has played in all six of Croatia’s games at the World Cup.
Only goalkeeper Peter Shilton of England (1990) and Dino Zoff of Italy (1982) played more games at a single World Cup edition aged 37.
Ivan Persic has scored six World Cup goals for Croatia and one more goal would put him in contention for being Croatia’s top goal scorer.
Morocco claimed the top-ranked nation’s scalp Belgium before finding their way past heavyweights Spain and Portugal and winning a bronze medal will put the icing on the cake for their fairytale run.