The FIFA World Cup knockouts might be merciless video games. It noticed Cristiano Ronaldo – one of many best ever to play the sport – depart the event after the quarterfinals, whereas Luka Modric – a Ballon D’Or winner and the runner-up within the earlier World Cup – lose within the semis.
But Croatia and Morocco – two of the groups which have been – which have made it to the semis for the third and first-ever time respectively, will play out one final match, eyeing the third spot, on the Khalifa International Stadium on December 17, 2022.
Here are three key battles anticipated within the match:
Sofiane Boufal vs Luka Modric
Sofiane Boufal has been one in every of Morocco’s architects of attacking alongside the flanks, be it the darting runs alongside the left (towards Portugal), or dribbling previous defenders (towards Spain).
Croatia’s Luka Modric, left, and Morocco’s Sofiane Boufal problem for the ball throughout the World Cup within the earlier assembly of the 2 groups within the group stage.
| Photo Credit: AP
The defending champion, France, confronted a difficult job containing the 29-year-old in its field and might be a headache for the Croat defence as properly. The triumvirate of Marcelo Brozovic, Luka Modric and Mateo Kovacic will discover a contemporary job to cease the winger in his tracks.
Modric, working in the fitting within the mid-block is anticipated to be vested with the duty. The Real Madrid veteran was in all places on the pitch towards Argentina, taking free kicks and monitoring again on time to clear.
In Croatia’s final try at a podium end in his final World Cup match, this contest would be the most fascinating one on this bronze-medal match.
Youssef En-Nesyri vs Domink Livakovic
Youssef En-Nesyri’s towering header propelled the Atlas Lions into the semifinals – the primary African nation to take action. Morocco’s solely goalscorer with greater than a objective in Qatar 2022, the 25-year-old has led the assault with model, scoring and celebrating in model.
Against him, stands Dominik Livakovic, the goalkeeper who saved Croatia from the cusp of defeat, not as soon as, however twice. It was Livakovic between the sticks that noticed five-time World Champion, Brazil, get eradicated within the quarterfinals.
Morocco’s Youssef En-Nesyri in motion in entrance of Croatia’s goalie Dominik Livakovic within the group-stage match, earlier within the event.
| Photo Credit: REUTERS
While Livakovic may miss out on the golden glove, regardless of his heroics, this match may be an opportunity to indicate who’s boss in a match which options one other ‘keeper who had a great campaign, Yassine Bounou.
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Hakim Ziyech vs Josko Gvardiol
Hakim Ziyech is not a No.9, but what he brings to the table is his flow of attacks from the flank – which was a common sight at Ajax and can still be seen when the Moroccan stars with Chelsea.
Already a Champions League winner, Ziyech has been the heart of set pieces and attacks along the right flank, scoring and assisting a goal each in this World Cup so far.
Croatia’s Josko Gvardiol, left, and Morocco’s Hakim Ziyech compete for possession throughout the World Cup group F match in Qatar.
| Photo Credit: AP
Josko Gvardiol, then again, has been a revelation for Croatia. He has been a significant cog in defence because it remained the one undefeated facet (alongside Morocco) as much as the semifinal.
The third-place match may be his shot at redemption after he was embarrassed by Lionel Messi, when the Argentine rounded him, and went on to help in his facet’s third objective int the semifinal.