World Cup 2022: Croatia, Morocco target third-place medal

The chances of winning the World Cup might have gone for Croatia and Morocco, but "immortality" is at stake when the two teams meet in Saturday’s third-place playoff.

Croatia forward Andrej Kramarić dispelled the notion it would be a meaningless contest at Khalifa International Stadium.

"I think if you ask this question to Moroccan players, I don’t think they will look that way," he said at a news conference Thursday. "They’re fighting for their lives because if you win a medal at a World Cup you become an immortal hero in your country. That’s the same thing we are going to do."

Morocco defied the odds to become the first African team to reach the World Cup semifinals. But the Atlas Lions' run came to an end with a 2-0 loss to defending champions France on Wednesday.

Croatia v Canada: Group F - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022

DOHA, QATAR - NOVEMBER 27: Andrej Kramaric of Croatia celebrates scoring his side's third goal during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Group F match between Croatia and Canada at Khalifa International Stadium on November 27, 2022 in Doha, Qatar. (Photo

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Croatia reached the final in Russia in 2018, but suffered a 3-0 loss to Argentina on Tuesday.

"Eight of us from (the tournament in) Russia understand that feeling of winning a medal at the World Cup and we have a lot of players who haven’t experienced that and would love to do that because it’s something that will stay with you for the rest of their life," Kramaric said.