The Atlas Lions of Morocco despite losing to France in the semi-finals of the 2022 FIFA World Cup ongoing in Qatar, might be the first African country to win a medal at the FIFA World Cup.
Morocco stands a chance to ink their names in the history books of world football as they come up against Croatia in the 3rd place play-off at the Khalifa International Stadium on Saturday evening.
Walid Regragui’s side gave France a run for their money in Wednesday’s semi-final, but Theo Hernandez’s acrobatic effort and Randal Kolo Muani’s tap-in 44 seconds after coming onto the pitch ended their dreams of laying hands on the ultimate prize.
Morocco’s current crop of players will no doubt return to North Africa as national heroes with a possible bronze medals around their necks should things go well against Croatia.
Having won against Canada, Belgium and a draw with Croatia in the group stages, the Atlas Lions saw off Spain in the round of 16 on penalties and later defeated European heavyweights Portugal in the quarter finals before falling to the reigning world champions, France.
Zlatko Dalic’s side on the other hand drew with the North Africans in their opening before defeating Canada and drawing Belgium.
Croatia saw off Japan on penalty shootouts in the round of 16 and again edging past one of the tournament favourites Brazil in the quarter finals.
The 2018 finalists were comfortably seen off by Argentina in their semi-final with a 3-0 defeat to deny them a place in the finals.
All prayers will be for Morocco from the African continent as most would wish the football gods will rule in favour of the Atlas Lions.
Croatia possible starting lineup:
Livakovic; Stanisic, Lovren, Gvardiol, Sosa; Modric, Jakic, Kovacic; Vlasic, Kramaric, Perisic
Morocco possible starting lineup:
Bono; Hakimi, El-Yamiq, Dari, Attiyat-Allah; Ounahi, Amrabat, Amallah; Ziyech, En-Nesyri, Boufal