Key facts as Morocco, Croatia play for pride

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Croatia and Morocco meet for the second time at FIFA World Cup 2022 as they both seek a victorious conclusion to a memorable campaign in the third-place play-off.

Their first encounter, in the opening Group F fixture, ended goalless. The nations’ only other meeting was also a draw, 2-2 in Casablanca in 1996 – though Croatia prevailed 7-6 on penalties.

While this fixture is new territory for Morocco – and indeed any African team – Croatia took the bronze medals on their finals debut in 1998, when they defeated the Netherlands 2-1 in Paris.

This is the second successive FIFA World Cup third-place play-off between teams who also met in the group stage, Belgium and England having also done so in 2018.

Croatia have yet to concede a goal against African opposition at the FIFA World Cup, wins against Cameroon (4-0 in 2014) and Nigeria (2-0 in 2018) preceding this year’s stalemate against Morocco.

Key facts

  • Croatia are unbeaten in their previous three FIFA World Cup matches against African nations (W2 D1) and kept clean sheets in each of those matches.
  • Croatia have lost only two of their last 22 international matches (Won 12;  Drew 8).
  • Victory for Morocco would see them record the best finish of a non-European or South American nation in the FIFA World Cup since 1930, when the USA finished third (note: there was no match for third place in 1930, the USA finished third via their overall record at the 1930 finals).
  • There has never been a penalty shoot-out in the play-off for third place in a FIFA World Cup final competition.
  • If selected, Hakim Ziyech and Achraf Hakimi will become the first Moroccan players to reach ten FIFA World Cup appearances.

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