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Morocco and Croatia meet in the only World Cup game that neither team wants to play

2022-12-17T12:36:32.541Z


Morocco and Croatia played out a tense draw in their opener and Saturday's clash will likely be just as close.


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(CNN) --

Your team just lost in the World Cup semifinal.

You are understandably heartbroken, thinking about what could have been.

After a month-long stay ended in devastating defeat, you can't wait to go home to see family and friends, but instead you have to stay and play in the third-place playoff.

To many, it seems like a largely pointless exercise.

Does it really matter who makes it to third or fourth?

However, there is some glory to be had.

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If finishing third instead of fourth isn't incentive enough, the winner of the match will also get a bronze medal and a bit more cash for their efforts: $27 million instead of $25 million.

All but two World Cup tournaments in history, the first edition in 1930 and then again in 1950, have had third-place ties and could be seen as a good way to end your tournament on a high after a disappointing loss. .

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The importance of the game for third place in each World Cup depends entirely on the teams that contest them.

Four years ago in Russia, England played like they didn't care about the game, while Uruguay were considerably more eager to try and win, though they lost to Germany in 2010 and Croatia in 1998.

Morocco players lift head coach Walid Regragui into the air.

(Francois Nel/Getty Images)

This year, in the third-place match between Morocco and Croatia, there are two teams that are apparently itching to try for the bronze medal and an extra $2 million for their respective federations.

Morocco's astonishing run to the semi-finals, which saw the Atlas lions become the first African country and Arab nation in history to reach the quarter-finals of a World Cup, ended in a 2-0 loss to France on Wednesday.

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The team have been impressive in Qatar, surprising Belgium, Spain and Portugal thanks to their defensive organization and attacking energy.

Even in the second half of the loss to France, Morocco were by far the better of the two teams and could have taken the game to extra time if not for the lack of quality in the box.

After making history, Morocco and head coach Walid Regragui will want to further cement themselves in the record books by also becoming the first African team to finish third.

Meanwhile, Croatia fell within a game of reaching back-to-back World Cup finals after being outclassed and dominated 3-0 by Argentina in the semifinals.

Saturday will be Luka Modric's last World Cup match.

ANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULAT/AFP/AFP via Getty Images

After playing extra time and penalties in their previous two rounds, the Croatian players looked understandably exhausted against the South Americans and were outplayed from start to finish.

Captain Luka Modric will no doubt want to end his international career on a high in what will be his final World Cup game and this group will want to secure their place as the greatest team in Croatian history with second and third consecutive finishes, a remarkable achievement for a country with a population of less than four million.

These two teams played out a tense 0-0 draw in their opening group game three weeks ago and Saturday's clash is likely to be just as close.

World Cup 2022

Source: cnnespanol

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