“This medal is very important for us, for me, for my country, for the Croatian national team,” Modric said. “With this medal we confirm that Croatia plays an important role in the football world. We will leave Qatar as winners.”
The World Cup final between defending champions France and Argentina is scheduled for Sunday at the Lusail Stadium.
Mislav Orsic scored the decisive goal for Croatia shortly before half-time, ensuring that Modric would end the game in triumph, if indeed it would be his last World Cup game.
Defender Josko Gvardio put Croatia ahead with a diving header in the seventh minute, but Ashraf Dari equalized in the ninth.
This is the second time Croatia has finished third in the World Cup. The team also achieved the feat in 1998, when they entered the tournament for the first time as an independent nation.
“These are the moments we live for, work for, train for,” Dalic said. “That was the most exciting moment of our World Cup, the game and the win tonight.”
Morocco’s campaign ended with two defeats after becoming the first African team to reach the World Cup semi-finals. But the team’s achievements in Qatar will be remembered with Arab pride.
“Of course we are disappointed, but when we wake up tomorrow we will realize how much we have achieved,” Regragui said. “We started with a 0.01% chance of winning this World Cup and we made it to the semi-finals. We played against some of the best football teams in the world.
“We are now one of the top four teams in the world and if you told me before the World Cup that Morocco would be fourth in the world, I would have taken it straight away.”
Morocco’s run to the semi-finals was the tournament’s most incredible story, topping a group that included Croatia and second-placed Belgium. The team then beat Spain and Portugal in the knockout stages. “Football, for me, is a dream, especially for kids,” Regga said. “In Morocco and Africa, we’ve kept those dreams alive. It’s not just about winning at the World Cup.”
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