Croatia forward Andrej Kramaric has dismissed the idea Saturday’s third-place playoff with Morocco is an empty contest, suggesting the winner will become “immortal”.
The two teams will meet at Khalifa International Stadium following their respective semi-final defeats to Argentina and France.
For Zlatko Dalic’s side, they fell short of a second successive final, having been beaten by Les Bleus at Russia 2018, while Walid Regragui’s men saw their underdog story come up short of the showpiece game as well.
But Kramaric says there will be no short-changing their bronze-medal match despite their heartbreak, arguing the winner stakes a place in history and becomes entrenched in sporting folklore.
“I think if you ask this question to Moroccan players, I don’t think they will look that way,” he said
“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.
3 – Youssef En-Nesyri had three touches against France, the fewest on record (since 1966) by any player to play 45+ minutes in a World Cup match. Isolated.
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe)
“Eight of us from [the tournament in] Russia understand that feeling of winning a medal at the World Cup.
“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.”
Croatia – whose prior best performance in a World Cup had been third at France 1998 before Russia – are looking to claim a third tournament medal in their history.
For Morocco, regardless of their result, they will already go down as the greatest World Cup side in African history, having become the first from the continent to make the semi-finals.