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Croatia beats Morocco to finish third

The Croatian Luka Modric and the Moroccan Sofiane Boufal during the group match between their two nations, at the Al Bayt stadium in Qatar, November 23, 2022. BAGU BLANCO/PRESSINPHOTO/SHUTTER/SIPA

QATAR TIME. While waiting for the France-Argentina final on Sunday, the Croats won against the Moroccans in a great atmosphere (for a small final).

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The 2022 World Cup in Qatar

6 p.m. – Croatia wins and finishes third in the World Cup

Croatia won by a small goal (2-1) in a match dominated from start to finish against the Moroccans who were losing momentum. After second place in 2018, the Croatians this time leave Qatar on the last step of the podium. For their part, the Moroccans inherit the chocolate medal but above all the love of the public who supported them until the end of the match. The first African nation to reach the semi-finals will have undeniably left its mark (and its talent) on this World Cup.

4:50 p.m. – Croatia leads at the break

It’s half-time at the Khalifa stadium, Croatia leads with a small goal (2-1) thanks to a magnificent curl from Orsic who hits the opposite post before entering (42nd minute).

QATAR TIME

Every day, “l’Obs” tells you about the daily life and the strangeness of the World Cup in Qatar, which began on November 20. This World Cup full of controversies – environmental costs, human rights violated, construction sites in mourning, suspicions of corruption – is taking place in an unprecedented atmosphere. Hour by hour, follow behind the scenes of the competition of all excesses and find our reports and analysis in our special report.

4:10 p.m. – Already 1-1 between Croatia and Morocco

After several dangerous corners, Croatia consolidated its domination with a free kick from Majer, extended by Perisic and concluded with a diving header from central defender Gvardiol. But the lead race was short-lived. Also on a free kick, Dari equalized two minutes later for Morocco with a header from close range. 1-1.

4 p.m. – Coops sending off the little finale

Respectively defeated in the semi-finals by Argentina (3-0) and France (2-0), Croatia and Morocco will compete for third place in this World Cup. If the little prestige brought to this “ranking match” does not motivate the players, there is no doubt that both teams will be keen to give their all for their supporters. It is also an opportunity to salute Croatian captain Luka Modric, who will certainly play his last World Cup match. Hoping for a more spectacular match than their group confrontation which resulted in a sad 0-0.

Croatia: Livakovic, Stanisic, Sutalo, Gvardiol, Orsic, Majer, Kovacic, Perisic, Modric (C), Kramaric, Livaja.

Morocco : Bounou, Hakimi, Dari, El-Yamiq, Attiyat-Allah, Sabiri, Amrabat, El-Khannouss, Ziyech (C), En-Nesyri, Boufal.

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3 p.m. – The five sick or injured French players return to training

There were five of them who missed training on Friday but are back! Sick, Raphaël Varane, Ibrahima Konaté and Kingsely Coman were present with the Blues, as were Theo Hernandez (knee injury) and Aurélien Tchouaméni (hip).

The twenty-four players of the France team were therefore together for the last training before the World Cup final against Argentina. It remains to be seen whether the five players will be able to hold the entire session, of which only the first quarter of an hour is open to the media, recalls “L’Equipe”.

2 p.m. – In the event of victory, Macron will not take over the Blues

Remember in 2018, when the France team won the World Cup in Russia. The Blues had raced up the Champs-Elysées to join Emmanuel Macron at the presidential palace. Result: the supporters who came to celebrate with their champions left frustrated and the president was accused of monopolizing the players (and the sympathy offered to them by the French).

This time, the presidency has already decided not to force the Blues to come to the Elysée. “The President gave this instruction: the players, the staff and the Federation will do what they want and I will adapt,” explains one of the President’s close friends to the newspaper “L’Equipe”. Present in Qatar on Sunday and before a diplomatic summit in Jordan on Tuesday, Emmanuel Macron could still decide to make a return trip to Paris on Monday to welcome the French team.

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1 p.m. – Pole Szymon Marciniak will referee the final

Pole Szymon Marciniak (41) has been appointed to referee the upcoming final between France and Argentina on Sunday. This is the choice made by the boss of FIFA referees, the famous Italian Pierluigi Collina.

The choice was exclusively made among the referees still selectable at the end of the quarter-finals (therefore without the referees of Argentinian, Croatian, Moroccan or French nationality) and according to performance criteria during the World Cup and throughout the career, explains “La Voix du Nord”.

The Pole is a regular at high-level matches, having notably refereed 39 Champions League matches. In Qatar, he has already refereed two matches which involved the finalists. During France – Denmark (2-1) where he “shined by his pedagogy”, explains “L’Equipe”; then during Argentina – Australia (2-1) in the round of 16, during which he only handed out two yellow cards.

12 p.m. – The Blues are taking “maximum precautions” over the virus

On the eve of the final against Argentina (4 p.m.), the massacre continues for the Blues. Sick, Kingsley Coman, Ibrahima Konaté and Raphaël Varane did not participate in collective training on Friday, “spared” according to the framework.

“I’m not going to go into detail. We make sure to take as many precautions as possible, to adapt, to make do, without falling into excess, in one direction or the other. This is obviously a situation… if it could not have existed it would have been better. But we manage as best we can”explained Didier Deschamps at a press conference.

Victims of blows, Théo Hernandez and Aurélien Tchouaméni were also preserved on Friday, leaving the Blues with a squad of 19 players out of 24 two days before the final.

THE “viral syndrome” mentioned by the management had first affected Dayot Upamecano, then Adrien Rabiot, two starters of the typical team who did not participate in the semi-final against Morocco on Wednesday (2-0). Various symptoms have been mentioned in recent days by different players, staff members or sources close to the Blues: fever, stomach aches and even headaches.

Health precautions were taken at the Hôtel des Bleus, with hydroalcoholic gel, the implementation of barrier gestures and the isolation of contaminated players. But Covid-19 screening tests are no longer imposed by FIFA, organizer of the tournament

11 a.m. – More than 500 million euros in sports betting in France during the competition

If there’s anyone who has a 100% chance of winning when you bet, it’s… the sports betting site! Omnipresent on television and on the Internet through their advertisements, online betting sites seem to have succeeded in their democratization. According to a study by the Hellosafe site, more than 501 million euros could be bet in France during the World Cup.

If this trend is partly explained by the (long) journey of the French team until the final and by the weight of football in the sports betting sector (60% of bets in France according to the study), nevertheless, the sum remains Dantesque. For comparison, the study indicates that this corresponds to an increase in stakes of 15.2% compared to Euro 2020 and 31.5% compared to the 2018 World Cup.

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10 a.m. – Michel Platini refuses Macron’s invitation for the final

Acquitted on July 8 by the courts in his trial for corruption, Michel Platini clearly does not want to appear with the elite of world football. According to information from Europe 1, the former French international declined Emmanuel Macron’s invitation to the World Cup final on Sunday in Qatar.

The reason ? He does not wish to appear with certain members of FIFA, whom he considers responsible for his political-judicial torments. In a press release this summer, the ex-captain of the Blues already estimated that“there are culprits who did not appear during this trial”. At the top of the people he suspects: FIFA President Gianni Infantino, his former right-hand man at UEFA from 2007 to 2016.

9 a.m. – Before the small final, Morocco “in place of the idiot”

If it is obvious that the French team’s match on Sunday is the most anticipated, the day of this Saturday, December 17 offers Morocco, surprise team of the tournament, a final orbit against Croatia for third place. The two teams will face each other in the small final at the Khalifa Stadium at 4 p.m.

And if the Moroccans have the opportunity to score a little more this World Cup, this match does not please coach Walid Regragui: “To avoid being tongue-in-cheek, this ranking match bothers me a little. We’re a bit in the idiot’s place. In a World Cup, we only remember the winner”he declared at a press conference on Friday.

However, he made it clear that he wanted to win the match “for the fans”even going so far as to promise a better game than the one which opposed the two teams in the groups.

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