Croatia edges past Morocco to secure third-place finish

DOHA: Mislav Orsic’s brilliant goal helped Croatia beat Morocco 2-1 to secure third place in the FIFA World Cup on Saturday.

Zlatko Dalic’s side were runners-up to France four years ago and confirmed their status as one of the elite footballing nations with another third-place finish to go alongside that secured in their competition debut in 1998.

Croatia went ahead after seven minutes with a clever free kick routine as Ivan Perisic peeled away then headed the ball back across goal for the masked Josko Gvardiol to meet it with a diving header from 13 yards out.

The lead lasted less than two minutes as a Moroccan free kick looped up off the head of Lovro Majer and Achraf Dari bravely followed it to head in from close range.

Both teams created some good chances before Orsic struck with a brilliant shot over and beyond goalkeeper Yassine Bounou and in off the post to restore Croatia’s lead.

The second half could not match the energy of a thrilling opening period and Morocco failed to find an equalizer as a fruitful campaign ended in back-to-back defeats.

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