Although neither club intended to compete in this match, they now have nothing to lose.
For Croatia and Morocco in this World Cup, it’s game over. No matter the outcome, neither team will take the trophy home.
These two teams have a rare opportunity for their swan song as this World Cup, which has brought so many surprises, so much drama, and seen so many dreams come true as well as be shattered, draws to a close: to say farewell to Qatar with heads held high and consider what has been done and what may come in the future.
Just three weeks have passed since their last encounter, a tense 0-0 draw in their Group F opener. That game was intense as both sides fought for control, making up for the lack of goals. On Saturday, however, those same nerves are unlikely to be there because neither Croatia nor Morocco currently have anything to lose.
Luka Modric, the midfield captain for Croatia, is probably saying goodbye. Over the past 15 years, Croatia’s rebirth as a footballing power has been greatly aided by the 37-year-old skipper. He participated in the teams for the 2008, 2012, 2016, and 2020 European Championships as well as the 2006, 2014, 2018, and 2022 World Cups.
The word is overused, but when Modric leaves international football, it will mark the end of an era.
It’s an opportunity for Morocco to earn praise and gratitude from a world that had dared to think the unthinkable for a short while, and it’s also a chance for the team to once again prove their mettle during the upcoming international competition.
Although many people may have considered the Atlas Lions to be underdogs, reaching a World Cup semifinal does not just happen by chance. They succeeded because of cunning, diligence, and talent. We all enjoy this game because of their story, their improbable tale of perseverance and success in the face of overwhelming circumstances.
David Webber, an expert on the cultural and political economy of football at Solent University, told Al Jazeera that Morocco and Walid Regragui’s team had the opportunity to make history once more after completing a hat-trick of World Cup firsts for Africa.
“After multiple unsuccessful attempts in the past, perhaps Morocco’s performance at 2018 World Cup will be enough to convince FIFA delegates to finally award the championship to Morocco.
“Regardless of the outcome on Saturday, the Moroccans will bring the energy and enthusiasm they have displayed throughout the competition and, in doing so, World Cup 2022 playoff preview celebrate a team that has given the country and the area of North Africa the most memorable month in its rich football history.”
Croatia are just as deserving as Morocco, World Cup 2022 playoff preview even though Morocco may have been the focus of this World Cup. The theme of this game is pride. When the fall is all that’s left, it matters, to quote James Goldman’s The Lion In Winter.
Like no other footballing power in Europe, Croatia punches beyond its weight. There are fewer than four million people living in this nation. Their first World Cup campaign finished with a third-place result just six years after FIFA only recognized them in 1992.
According to Webber, Modric now has the opportunity to leave the international scene with the grand finale that his extraordinary career has earned.
For so many of Modric’s contemporary players, “the last dance” has been the focus of this World Cup, he claimed.
And even though all eyes will be on Messi on Sunday night to see if he can finally lead Argentina to World Cup gold, Croatia’s own number 10 has the chance to leave the tournament on a high note by defeating Morocco on Saturday.
Nobody desires to participate in this game. But now that they are here, the Croatian warriors and the Moroccan dreamers will give it their all.
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