The Moroccan national team will play a match against its Croatian counterpart at Khalifa International Stadium to determine third place in the World Cup.
Morocco became the first Arab and African team to reach the semi-finals, but its chances stopped, on Wednesday, after the defeat against the French team.
And the coach of the Moroccan national team, Walid Regragui, believes that his team feels proud and proud, because it will play a seventh match, in the World Cup finals, although it is not the final match, which he had hoped for.
“We had hoped to play the final, but that did not happen,” Regragui said.
He added, “This is another match ahead of us, which we will play in order to climb onto the podium.”
And he added, “I know that third place is better than fourth place. But for me, we did not qualify for the final. We wanted to play the final on Sunday, not today.”
“But I told the players, this is the seventh match that we will play in the 2022 World Cup finals, and if I tell any fan that we will play the seventh match, on December 17, he will be proud,” Regragui said.
He added, “The Moroccan national team played 6 matches in the World Cup in the past twenty years, and we play 7 matches in one tournament. This is great, as if we played two tournaments or more. It is a wonderful experience.”
Morocco and Croatia will end their participation in the 2022 World Cup, as they began, with a confrontation between them.
The two teams drew, without goals, in the first match of the group stage, but Regragui expects the second confrontation to be more exciting.
He said, “We knew that Croatia would be one of the best teams in this tournament. After the first match, its good level appeared.”
“Many people thought, after the first match, that the Croatian national team had reached the end of its career, and was criticized for not beating the “small” Moroccan team, but the two teams reached the semi-finals, Rekragui added.
And he added, “The first match was dominated by a lot of hesitation. Now every team wants to win, so the match will be better.”
The confrontation against Morocco may be the last match that Luka Modric will play with the Croatian national team. Regragui was not late in praising the Real Madrid player.
He said, “I don’t know if this is his last match, but he is a fierce fighter, and he wants to end his World Cup campaign by winning, so we have to be careful in this aspect.”
He added, “I salute Modric, what he is doing at the age of 37 is amazing. He won the Golden Ball, and this is proof of his value.”
But the coach of the Croatian national team, Zlatko Dalic, believes that Modric will continue to play with the national team and will participate in the European Championship in 2024.
He said, “I hope he will participate in the European Championship. The decision is in his hands, but I feel that he will be with the national team.”
He added that his team wants to end its participation with a win and expects the match to be exciting.
And Dalic added, “We have a lot of respect for the Moroccan national team for what it accomplished in this tournament, and it deserved the title of surprise.”
He explained that the Moroccan players “have a mentality similar to ours. The match will be strong, as they have a good squad, but we do not think about what the opponent says, because we are competing for third place. The match will be very strong.”
He added, “Morocco did what we did in the last round. No one expected them to reach what they have reached, and they deserve it. They are a mature and developed team, and they played at high levels in every match.”
He concluded by saying, “They are really the most beautiful surprise in this tournament. If we talk about teams that should have provided more than they did, such as Spain, Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, England, and Italy, which did not even qualify for the finals.”
The news of the two formations
- Regragui confirmed the absence of middle defender and national team captain Romain Sayes due to injury
- The possibility of Marcelo Brozovic’s absence from the center of the Croatian field after leaving the Argentina match
- The participation of the outstanding Croatian defender Josko Gvardiol is possible despite his light injury