The FIFA World Cup is one of the few knockout competitions that does a consolation game for some reason at the very end in addition to the actual final — the Euros haven’t done a third-place game since 1980, and there are certainly no such things for losers in the Champions League or the FA Cup, for example.
But the World Cup is special that way. Do they even hand out a bronze medal?
With nothing on the line, the third-place match is thus little more than an exhibition for the teams who had lost in the semifinals, which usually means a higher-scoring, more freewheeling affair, and that can make it watchable sometimes. Let’s hope we get a nice show today.
CROATIA vs MOROCCO
Date / Time: Saturday, December 17, 2022, 15.00 GMT; 10am EST
Venue: Khalifa International Stadium, Al Rayyan, Qatar
Referee: Abdulrahman Al Jassim (Qatar)
On TV: BBC One (UK); Fox, Telemundo (USA); elsewhere
Streaming online: BBC iPlayer (UK); FOX Sports Live, Telemundo Deportes En Vivo (USA)
Chelsea interest: We have no active representation in the final, but we do have direct interest in this one, with two of the better performers at the tournament facing each other in Mateo Kovačić and Hakim Ziyech. The latter’s contributions have been especially nice to see given his struggles for form and consistency at Chelsea over the past couple years.
Incidentally, these two played each other already at this World Cup, a scoreless draw to begin group play. It’s pretty rare that a team would play another team more than once in any given World Cup — 1954 (Hungary & West Germany), 1962 (Brazil & Czechoslovakia), and 2002 (Brazil & Turkey) come to mind — but either way hopefully we’ll get a few more goals this time around.