- Croatia v Morocco
- Saturday, December 17, 2022, 10:00 ET
- At the Khalifa International Stadium, Al Rayyan
It’s the game that no one wants to be involved in, but the Third Place Playoff can provide some entertaining football, with the pressure off and Croatia and Morocco can deliver.
Who do Bettors Favor?
Checking out the best-rated online sportsbooks it’s clear that bettors favor Croatia for this game, but not by much. The 2018 runner-up is rated as +130 to win this one, but Morocco is not far behind in the betting at +210 while the normal time draw is around +250.
|Croatia v Morocco|
World Cup Third Place Playoff Briefing
Few people remember which team finished third at a World Cup, but whereas the knockout games that preceded it can often be tense and scrappy encounters, the Third Place Play-off match often provides more entertainment as players can enjoy the game with little at stake.
In fact of the last ten of these games, eight have been higher-scoring matches than the Final, which suggests that we could be in for an enjoyable spectacle.
Of course, that relatively higher scoring rate for this particular game may also have something to do with the fact that some players will be rested and others may not play with the same intensity that would be the case in a game with more on the line.
We can certainly hope for something a little more entertaining than the Group game that these two teams played out earlier in the tournament, which ended in a 0-0 draw. That was only the second meeting between these soccer nations, the first being a 2-2 draw in the 1996 Hassan II Trophy.
Croatia Aiming to Sign Off in Style
Zlatko Dalic and his Croatian team deserve a huge amount of praise for reaching the last four at two consecutive World Cups, despite having one of the smallest talent pools in Europe to choose from.
Of course, there are some world-class talents in the Croatia squad, most notably Luka Modric, but Dalic is to be applauded for the way that he has renewed the team in the last four years. In fact, only nine of the current squad were involved in the 2018 tournament.
This is no team of veterans at the end of their careers, but a good blend of youth and experience. In fact, two of the most exciting players of the tournament: Dominik Livakovic and Josko Gvardiol are aged 27 and 20 respectively and both have significantly enhanced their reputations in Qatar.
Up against Morocco, which has shown itself to be a tough opponent, it could be expected for Croatia to take this game easy, but I suspect that pride will take over and that Croatia will be aiming to sign off in style.
History Makers Morocco Aiming for Third
The first African team to reach the last four of a World Cup, Morocco has achieved a huge amount in this tournament, but given the hard-working and committed nature of its play, it would not be a surprise to see these players going all out again here, in a bid to finish third in the tournament.
Along the way, Morocco has matched some of the best teams in the world, securing successes that will long be remembered.
Most impressive of all has been the fact that Morocco has been able to go toe-to-toe with soccer’s big guns, without resorting to the sort of tactics that took Greece to the 2004 European Championships. It has defended intensely where required, but has been able to create plenty of chances, and only a lack of composure in front of goal cost it against France in the semi-final.
Given the effort that they have put in, the Moroccan players must be exhausted, but it is likely that they will be going all out again here, to finish on a high.
World Cup Third Place Playoff Match Betting
While the Third Place Playoff game is often entertaining, it is also tough to predict. At this point we can’t be sure which players will be rested and nor can we realistically estimate which players will be going all out for the win and which will be taking it a little easier.
The fact that this World Cup takes place during the regular season and all of these players will already be thinking about returning to their clubs adds a further layer of complication.
The one thing we can probably count on is goals. Although both teams have got this far through solid organization and strong defense, this will be an opportunity for them to cut loose and show a little more flair. Hopefully, this will be another entertaining Third Place playoff with plenty of action.