2022 World Cup odds have reached its end. Before France vs. Argentina Sunday for the title, Croatia and Morocco will take the field one last time in the third place game. Morocco will look for a podium finish as the first African nation to reach the semifinals. Croatia looks to finish strong, after another deep run following a runner-up finish in 2018. Let’s take a look at Croatia vs. Morocco odds for the third place game, along with Expected Goals metrics and potential bets to consider.
This game will be played Saturday, Dec. 17 at 10 a.m. ET, on FOX and Telemundo.
Croatia Vs. Morocco Odds
Bettors should be aware during the Knockout Rounds that the three-way moneyline is only for 90 minutes plus stoppage time. If tied after that but a team wins in extra time or penalty kicks, soccer’s version of overtime, all three-way moneyline bets are still graded as a draw. If you are looking for a moneyline bet that pays out no matter when the win comes, look for “To Advance” or “To Qualify” props.
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Croatia Team Preview
For as much as Croatia defied the critics throughout this World Cup, their impressive tournament run would finally come to an end on Tuesday. While it would largely come to an end because of one man.
That man was none other than Lionel Messi and with the PSG forward acting as the chief tormentor in midweek, it meant that this Croatian side was denied a second successive final appearance.
Instead, the Croats will have to make do with a showing in Saturday’s curtain-raiser instead and with Luka Modric already calling time on his international career after the tournament, he may be given one last hurrah.
A sendoff that although does not mean as much as it could, will certainly be fitting for a player who has dominated midfield play for the best part of a decade. While there is no doubt that he largely dominated proceedings in Qatar.
The metronomic midfield star was mostly untroubled on the way to helping his teammates to a second successive semi-final. It was only when going up against Argentina did the trouble start to emerge.
However, one below-par showing should not cloud what either Modric or the rest of the squad have done throughout the tournament, and what better way to say goodbye to their greatest ever than by finishing third at the expense of Morocco.
Morocco Team Preview
Although this Morocco squad will certainly have written their way into soccer immortality, the dream of reaching this year’s World Cup final became no more on Wednesday evening. They may have disposed of Spain and Portugal, but they could not dispose of France.
An early France goal was the one thing that either Morocco or supporters who had temporarily changed their allegiance did not want to see. Unfortunately, that was the one thing that they had to witness for themselves.
Had the Atlas Lions roared in front, the complexion of the semi-final would have been rather different. However, as many have learned before them, you simply cannot give Les Blues a one-goal headstart.
One that would eventually become two late on, as Moroccan hearts both in attendance and although over the world began to break. Although even with the deficit doubled, Walid Regragui’s men still endeavored to breach France’s defense.
An endeavor that could not be matched with anything in the way of a reward. Although Morocco arguably deserved to miss out on progress to the final, they certainly did not deserve not to score in midweek.
Now though, this group of history-makers is given one more opportunity to shine under the game’s brightest spotlight. They may not be World Cup champions but they are still champions in many people’s eyes.
World Cup Knockout Rounds Bracket
Croatia Vs. Morocco Expected Goals
In a sport where scoring has extremely high variance, opportunities to score and opportunities allowed has become a more respected measure of the quality of a team’s play. Expected goals (xG) measures the quality of a shot based on several factors, including shot type, shot angle and distance from goal. Similarly, expected goals allowed (xGA) measure the quality of a team’s defense. Subtracting expected goals allowed from expected goals equals expected goal differential (xGD) and offers an overall advanced measure of a team to use when handicapping World Cup odds.
Morocco continues to outperform their expected goals metrics, while Croatia has also been lifted in this tournament by goalkeeping and good fortune in their own end. Despite playing six games now, Morocco’s 4.54 xG is second-worst among teams that reached the Round of 16.
|Team||Goals For||Goals Against||Goal Difference||World Cup xG||World Cup xGA||World Cup xGD|
In terms of the history between Croatia and Morocco, it was written as recently as the group stage in Qatar. A group stage draw that saw the two nations play out a 0-0 draw in their opening fixture.
While previous to last month’s meeting in Doha, the pair have only met once before. That skirmish was 26 years ago, as the two played out a 2-2 draw in the wonderfully named Hassan II Trophy.
Although there is no trophy up for grabs on Saturday, there is the small matter of finishing third in this year’s World Cup. This fixture may be maligned by some quarters, but try telling that to the players of either side.
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Croatia Vs. Morocco Odds: Bets To Consider
Over 2.5 goals: ()
When it comes to a World Cup third place playoff, it is often considered the most difficult game to read from a betting perspective. Especially as effort levels have been known to wane after a semifinal exit.
Something that is truly understandable, if only because the two teams involved have given everything in their quest to reach the final. Now they have to see if they have anything more to give.
Not only that but this fixture is also used as an opportunity to give loyal squad members a game. This means wholesale changes could be on show for both Croatia and Morocco and this can distort the 3-way handicap market as well.
This is why I am keeping it rather safe for starters and the easiest way to do this is by backing at least two goals in total. Especially as the shackles are likely to be removed from the feet of either side.
Now that Morocco’s impressive defensive run has come to an end, it could mean that their previous principles may be abandoned. Should this be the case, it will only serve to make the game more entertaining.
Croatia to win in 90 minutes:
With Morocco’s quest to reach the final now coming to an abrupt halt, I have a feeling they could well be deflated by the time they get to Saturday. A feeling that will certainly be understandable after what they have achieved thus far.
To be deprived of playing a final and then having to play in this fixture instead is going to be a huge anti-climax. So much so, that players would almost go home early and not worry about competing for bronze.
In their mind, it is a case of what difference does it really make. Ask many soccer supporters who finished third in Russia four years ago and you would be hard-pushed to find an answer from the majority.
While this is often a game that sees those involved go through the motions, I do think that Croatia will profit from Morocco’s notable deflation. To the point where I am backing Zlatko Dalić’s men to come out on top.
Especially if Luka Modric is afforded one last international dance and if he is allowed to pull the strings, it will at least mean Croatia ends the week on some form of high. While it will also mean another boost to your World Cup betting account.
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