Saturday sees the warm-up to the main event as the World Cup third-place game gets underway in Doha. World Cup odds have Croatia as a slight plus-money favorite at +138, with Morocco coming back at +200.
Will both teams be over their World Cup disappointment? How will those defeats in the week impact their build-up to this game? Check out our Croatia vs. Morocco World Cup picks and predictions.
Croatia vs Morocco odds
Croatia vs Morocco picks and predictions
To get a handle on this game we’re going to look back at recent trends, going across the past five third-place games at World Cups. In those five games, we’ve seen 19 goals, with all but one seeing Over 2.5 goals.
It’s also worth noting that in four of those five games, it’s been the more established, widely acclaimed team that has won. The only real exception is Brazil’s loss to the Netherlands in 2014, which even then is questionable.
That’s one of the reasons that I’ll be betting Croatia to win and Over 2.5 at +260. The Croatian team come into this game having one extra day of rest, having played on Tuesday. That is key, especially with Morocco having a number of players with knocks and minor injuries.
The manner of their semifinal defeats will have an impact, too. Croatia were outclassed and their exit didn’t seem to elicit quite the same tidal wave of emotion that we saw from Morocco. It’s fair to wonder if that extreme emotional reaction will make it harder to get motivated for this third-place game.
Croatia are a better, more experienced team, and with both teams now out of contention for the real prize, I’m expecting them to let off the handbrake and play more freely and more attacking.
My best bet: Croatia moneyline and Over 2.5 (+260 at bet365)
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Croatia vs Morocco side analysis
Morocco have been a more exciting side than Croatia and their campaign has been more memorable but I still believe that the Croatians are the better team, especially with Morocco’s fitness issues and the injuries to Romain Saiss and Nayef Aguerd, which will deprive them of their central defensive duo.
This will be the last time we ever see Luka Modric at a World Cup and he will want to put on a performance for his country in this game. His battle against Sofyan Ambrabat will be incredible, with the 26-year-old Moroccan arguably the breakout player of the World Cup.
I’m expecting Croatia to win this but the Atlas Lions have played incredibly well throughout the tournament, although I think their heart-breaking loss to France might be hard to get over here.
Croatia vs Morocco Over/Under analysis
Neither team has been that high scoring in this tournament. Croatia have scored six goals, but four were in one game against Canada and another one of them was in added time against Brazil.
Meanwhile, Morocco scored five goals, twice against Canada, twice against Belgium, and once against Portugal in the quarterfinal.
Historically, we’ve seen third-place playoff games be high scoring, because teams play less conservatively. For that reason, I’d back the Over here.
Croatia vs Morocco game info
|Location:||Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor, Qatar|
|Date:||Saturday, December 17, 2022|
|Time:||10:00 a.m. ET|
Croatia vs Morocco key injuries
Croatia: Josip Stanisic (Questionable).
Morocco: Nayef Aguerd (Out), Romain Saiss (Out).