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Morocco Ready for Third Place Show down


Moroccan players and staff show gratitude despite their quarterfinals loss to France at the 2022 FIFA World Cup

African football fans say they are saddened that Morocco will not be featuring in Sunday’s 2022 FIFA World Cup final - but they are are confident that the Atlas Lions will return to Africa with bronze medals after defeating Croatia in their third-place match scheduled for Saturday.

Global football fans have taken their hats off to Morocco’s Atlas Lions who have displayed a world class performance at the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

The North African team was labelled the “dark horse” of Qatar's World Cup by experts, having defeated giants such as Spain and Portugal to make it to the quarterfinals at the global tournament.

Football experts say despite the outcome of the loss to France that left African and Arabic hearts shattered, fans should still take pride in Morocco leaving Qatar having made it to the final four, and potentially with bronze medals.

Walid Regragui, the Atlas Lions coach said he is heartbroken that his team did not make it to the finals, but proud that they made history by becoming the first Moroccan team to play seven fixtures at the World Cup.

Morocco's coach Walid Regragui addresses a press conference ahead of their 2022 FIFA World Cup third place match against Croatia, Main Media Center, Doha, Qatar, December 16, 2022
Morocco's coach Walid Regragui addresses a press conference ahead of their 2022 FIFA World Cup third place match against Croatia, Main Media Center, Doha, Qatar, December 16, 2022

“Morocco last played six World Cup games 20-odd years ago and now we’ve played six games in a month which is priceless,” said Regragui.

“It’s as if we played two World Cups or more which is beautiful from an experience point of view,” added the Atlas Lions coach.

The 47-year-old Moroccan coach also said he is looking forward to the rematch of their opening Group F fixture against the 2018 World Cup finalists.

“There was a lot of hesitation in the first game, but both teams will want to win it so I’m looking forward to a great game,” said Regragui.

Zlatko Dalic, Croatia’s coach applauded the Atlas Lions for their historic performance and said the North African nation reminded him of their performance in 2018.

Croatian coach Zlatko Dalic addresses a press conference ahead of their 2022 FIFA World Cup third place match against Morocco, Main Media Center, Doha, Qatar, December 16, 2022
Croatian coach Zlatko Dalic addresses a press conference ahead of their 2022 FIFA World Cup third place match against Morocco, Main Media Center, Doha, Qatar, December 16, 2022

“Morocco resemble us from four years ago because no one expected them to reach this stage,” said Dalic.

“They deserve to be here, and they will be a more challenging opponent than in the first match,” added the Croatian coach.

The Croatians have several injury concerns as they prepare for their final World Cup showdown in Qatar, and coach Dalic says he will cautiously address the injuries.

“This is the seventh match in a month, and we are a bit tired and drained,” said Dalic.

“We have issues with Josko, Gvardiol, Juranovic and Brozovic, so we will see what will happen, but we have to be cautious.”

Some of the information in this report was sourced rom Reuters.

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