It’s the second-to-last game of the 2022 World Cup as the Croatian team finds itself in the third-place playoff game. While it’s a debut appearance for the Moroccan nation.
Croatia vs. Morocco
Saturday, December 17, 2022 – 10:00 AM EST at Khalifa International Stadium
Besides their loss to France where Morocco conceded two goals, they had previously not allowed a goal all World Cup long (excluding the own goal they scored in the group stage). They have put up a total of 8 clean sheets across their previous 10 games in all competitions.
Sevilla striker Youssef En-Nesyri has been their main goalscorer in recent times and has netted twice for them during this World Cup and also scored during his only appearance at the 2018 World Cup during a 2-2 tie against Spain. Morocco went one better this year and knocked Spain out in the round of 16 during a penalty shootout.
It’s been another so-near-yet-so-far World Cup for Croatia after they became runners-up in 2018, they are set to become either third or fourth-place finishers in 2022. The biggest struggle for this Croatian team, without a doubt, has been their offense output, having only scored six goals in the entire World Cup, four of those coming in their 4-1 victory over Canada.
Croatia won’t mind this game going to penalty kicks as they have one of the best goalkeepers in this year’s tournament in the form of Dinamo Zagreb goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic.
The Zagreb goalkeeper has kept 4 regulation-time clean sheets from six games, and Croatia has seen 5 of their previous 7 World Cup knockout games going to penalty kicks.
With this being most likely Croatian midfielder Luka Modric’s final World Cup game ever, we believe he could be prone to wanting to get on the scoreboard. If you’re feeling that brave, you can bet Modric to score anytime at +400 betting odds, but we believe the better pick to be Modric over 1.5 match shots at +125 with the top-rated sportsbooks, or even Modric just to have one shot on target is available to bet at +120.
World Cup Third-Place Betting Picks
Over 1.5 Goals + Over 6.5 Corners
Usually, the third-place match is a lot more open, with both teams willing to go forward and create goalscoring opportunities. The proof is in the facts alone, as when looking back over the previous 11 third-place playoff games, we can see that ten of those have seen 3+ match goals. Therefore, we are more than happy to believe we should see at least two goals scored for the first part of our same game multi.
Our second selection is for the game to see over 6.5 corners, although Morocco’s players have not exactly been corner experts, having only generated on average 1.5 per game, but they have allowed 6 per game.
Elsewhere looking at Croatia, they have picked up an average of 4 per game and also allowed an average of 4 per game. With this expected to be a much more open game of soccer, we believe these two teams should hit seven corners at the very least.
Under 3.5 Cards
The referees have been reluctant to book players during this year’s World Cup and we are going to believe they will stick to that trend here. We like the under 3.5 cards not only because of the lack of cards shown for obvious violations throughout the tournament, but also because neither of these teams pick up many cards.
Our referee in charge of this game is from none other than the host nation themselves, referee Al Jassim, who has averaged 4 yellow cards domestically this season.
He did take charge of one World Cup game this tournament, which was the USA vs. Wales, a game in which he handed out six yellow cards.
Let’s not forget these two teams met in the group stage of this year’s tournament already. There was only one card shown on the day.
World Cup Pick: Over 1.5 Goals + Over 6.5 Corners (-140) at FanDuel
World Cup Pick: Under 3.5 Cards (-138) at Bet365