Croatia vs Morocco: Predicted lineup, injury news, head-to-head

Croatia vs Morocco: Predicted lineup, injury news, head-to-head

Both the underdogs of the tournament will be vying for the third-place finish.

Croatia will play Morocco at the Khalifa International Stadium on Saturday in the third place play-off at the FIFA World Cup 2022. In their semi-final, Zlatko Dalic’s side was comfortably seen off 3-0 by Argentina. While the Atlas Lions fought valiantly against France but were put to the sword by two goals to nil. For Morocco, their fans have flooded the stadiums in Qatar to support their Atlas Lions en masse as they pushed much further into the World Cup knockout stage than anyone expected. It will behove the Morocco squad to put on one more positive performance to see their fans out with a boom.

For a side that has consistently proven their prowess in extra time periods and penalty shootouts. Croatia will not be relieved to hear that the third-placed playoff has never been decided on spot kicks, and the uninhibited Morocco fanbase will no doubt continue to bang their drums to the maximum for one last ride.

Croatia Form(all competitions): D-W-D-W-W-L

Morocco Form(all competitions): D-W-W-W-W-L

Injury and Team News

The injury added insult for Croatia in their semi-final loss to Argentina. As midfield fulcrum, Marcelo Brozovic was a 50th-minute withdrawal due to discomfort and is classed as a significant doubt for the third-placed playoff. Twenty-year-old centre-back Gvardiol needed injections to play through the pain of a foot injury in midweek. Dalic has insisted that he will not risk any player who is not 100% fit. So Lovro Majer and Kristijan Jakic should be on standby to cover for Brozovic in the middle if needed.

Saiss also hauled off after 20 minutes after getting beaten for pace by Olivier Giroud. Mazraoui came off during the half-time interval to leave Regragui back where he started on the injury front. Although the severity of their problems is currently unclear. It is difficult to envisage Regragui risking either member of the trio for Saturday’s contest, so a return to a 4-3-3 may be in order as Yahia Attiyat Allah and Selim Amallah aim to force their way back into the starting lineup.

Players to watch

Marcelo Brozović

Marcelo Brozović is the heart of the Croatian Midfield. (Courtesy – The Sun)

Brozović is quality in manipulating the ball in tight spaces, doing everything to avoid a turnover in possession. Brozović’s ability to keep hold of the ball is crucial in Croatian’s progression from deep.  He takes it in his stride and moves the ball out of danger, carrying it past multiple men with limited space. He plays a one-two with his teammates to free himself momentarily, before playing a through ball to his forwards. This sequence sums up the Croat’s ability in possession, whilst having a keen desire to progress it forward. Out of possession, Brozović remains an important figure in his defensive duties for his team. He has been a key player in the midfield for his team.

Sofyan Amrabat

Sofyan Amrabat is a key in the Moroccon team. (Courtesy – Get Italian Football News)

The key performer of the Moroccan national team, and one of the best throughout the tournament so far overall, has been Fiorentina midfielder Sofyan Amrabat. Playing as the base of Regragui’s midfield trio, the 26-year-old has been a rock, acting as the team’s fulcrum in and out of possession. One may even go as far as to say that the Fiorentina midfielder has been the best player at the tournament given the gravity of his importance for Morocco. Amrabat the heart of Morrocan’s midfield and considered to be one of the best players in the World Cup.

Head-to-head stats

Matches: 1

Croatia: 0

Draw: 1

Morocco: 0

Predicted lineup

Croatia Predicted lineup(4-3-3):

Livakovic; Juranovic, Lovren, Sutalo, Sosa; Modric, Jakic, Kovacic; Vlasic, Kramaric, Perisic

Morocco Predicted lineup(4-3-3):

Bono; Hakimi, El-Yamiq, Dari, Attiyat-Allah; Ounahi, Amrabat, Amallah; Ziyech, En-Nesyri, Boufal

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Prediction

A trident of injured defenders would not spell optimism for any side. But Morocco’s backline stand-ins have put in performances to be proud of and now face an attacking master Croatia.

Rearguards will likely come out on top in this bronze medal battle, but Regragui’s side need only improve their final ball to make their periods of pressure count.

Prediction: Croatia 0-1 Morocco

Source

Sports