Modric’s Croatia beats Morocco to finish third

Their relentless challenge was rewarded with medals twice in a row.

Croatia (ranked 12th in FIFA rankings) defeated Morocco (ranked 22nd in FIFA) 2-1 in the 2022 Qatar World Cup third-place match (Khalifa International Stadium) held on the 18th. The Croatian players, who were runners-up in the 2018 Russian competition, cheered for the bronze medal at the awards ceremony held after the game. They invited their young children to the podium to take commemorative photos and share the joy.

◇Orsic, as the lead role in ‘Joker’

Croatia and Morocco fought twice in Qatar. The two teams, who belonged to Group F side by side, drew without scoring in the first leg of the group stage. In the third-place match, which was a return match, they exchanged one goal each before the 10th minute of the first half. Yoshko Gbardiol (Leipzig), who was spotlighted as a central defender, scored the opening goal. In the 7th minute of the first half, in a free kick situation, Ivan Perisic (Tottenham) gave the ball back with his head, and he shook the net with a diving header. Morocco started a counterattack, and Ashraf Dari (Brest) scored an equalizer with a head in the ninth minute of the first half.

The one who broke the 1-1 balance was Mislav Orsic (Zagreb), who showed off his skills in the Korean Pro League. In the 42nd minute of the first half, a ball rolled from the left side of the penalty area hit the opposite goal post. He is a player familiar to domestic fans by recording 28 goals and 15 assists (101 games) under the registered name of ‘Orsha’ in Jeonnam and Ulsan from 2015 to 2018.

Orsic, who prides himself on saying, “The challenge to Korea is the hit of my career,” played an active part in this tournament with one goal and two assists. In particular, in the quarterfinal match against Brazil, he came on as a substitute in the ninth minute of the second half of extra time and assisted Bruno Petkovic’s (Zagreb) dramatic equalizer. Orsic started for the first time in the third place match and became the protagonist of the winning goal. His first World Cup appearance has boosted his share price, and he is attracting attention from big league teams in Europe.

◇ Modric “I will play in the Nations League next year”

Qatar was virtually the last World Cup for 37-year-old Luka Modric (Real Madrid). Four years ago, he received the ‘Golden Ball’ equivalent to the best player even after finishing runner-up in the Russian tournament, and this time he also served as a captain and conductor of the midfield.

Modrić, who has increased Croatia’s record for most A-match (national competition) appearances to 162 matches (23 goals), does not intend to retire from the national team right away. “We end up coming back as victors,” he said. (Next year) I will play in the Nations League and see how it goes.” Croatia is in the quarterfinals of the European Nations League in the 2022-2023 season. After a group draw next month, they will compete for the championship in a tournament with the Netherlands, Spain and Italy in June next year. For coach Zlatko Dalic, who has led Croatia for the past five years, it is most welcome that Modric, the world’s best midfielder, remains in the national team. 메이저놀이터

◇Promotion of Morocco, bringing hope to Africa

The journey of Morocco, which became the first African team to reach the semifinals of the World Cup, also came to an end. From the group stage to the quarterfinals, they went undefeated by beating strong European teams such as Belgium, Spain, and Portugal, but lost in the semifinals and the third place match. Even though there were many injured players in the defense, he did not give up until the end.

Coach Walid Lakraki, who led Morocco’s sensation four months after taking office, said, “Many people doubted Morocco before the World Cup, but we broke expectations and rose to a higher level. “We planted dreams in Moroccan children,” he said. “I want to produce such fantastic results once again.”