The Atlas Lions will be looking to end the tournament on a high note.

The Albiceleste and the Les Blues have made it to the finals of the 2022 FIFA World Cup. But there’s all to play for in order to brag about a bronze medal between Croatia and Morocco. Croatia accomplished something impossible to comprehend when they knocked off the tournament’s favourites Brazil in the Quarterfinals. The Vatreni fell short of fuel when Argentina thrashed them 3-0 in their semi-final clash.

Now they will be up against the hungry Atlas Lions who have had quite a run in this tournament. They are looking to end it on a high note. Morocco under Walid Regragui has resurrected from the ashes and blown the world away by a storm. In the Last World Cup, it was the Croats who stunned everyone with their exceptional game.

In this edition, Moroccans have done the same. Starting from a 0-0 draw against Croatia to beating giants like Belgium, Spain, and Portugal this team has impressed everyone with their resistance. Becoming the first African nation to reach the semi-finals of a World Cup. The French side defeated them 2-0 in what was a feisty encounter. There’s all to play for in the Third place play-off match as we go ahead. We have a look at what could be the predicted XI for Regragui’s side against Croatia at the Khalifa International Stadium on Saturday:

Morocco’s predicted formation against Croatia (4-3-3)

1. Yassin Bounou (Goalkeeper)

The man who has kept four clean sheets in the tournament so far and impressed everyone with his heroics, he is undeniably a forerunner in the race for the Golden Glove award. He will be keeping his form intact and looking out to play another clean sheet in order to secure the prestigious bronze medal and also the Golden Glove award.

2. Achraf Hakimi (Right Back)

His most valuable attribute in the final third is his creativity, not his goalscoring. He can cross from deep with an upright body posture to find a forward at the back post. From a defensive perspective, Hakimi is really adept at not conceding fouls. Although he tackles with intensity, he usually engages in defensive duels from a distance, opting to stretch a leg out to tackle the ball, rather than use his whole body to win the ball back making him the most important player for Morocco.

3. Jawad El Yamiq (Centre-Back)

Though he has been used as a substitute for Nayef Aguerd who missed the Quarterfinal and semi-final due to an ankle injury, he has lived up to the expectations. The 6’2” inches defender is a massive presence in the box and is a plus to win aerial battles. He can also be a threat to Livakovic’s goal during set pieces.

4. Badr Benoun (Centre-Back)

It is very likely that Regragui won’t be risking Roman Saiss anymore as he has already played the entirety of the tournament with an injury. Badr Benoun is a like-for-like replacement for Saiss. Badr plays for Qatar Stars League Club Qatar SC and very less is known about him. But what we have seen of him when he has been brought off as a substitute is that he has the ability to defend deep and be aware of his surroundings.

5. Yahya Attiyat Allah (Left Back)

Yahya Attiyat Allah is known for his creative and offensive style of play which has led him to be regarded as one of the prospering left-backs in the world at the moment. A massive target for renowned clubs around Europe. He has a great vision of the game and his darting runs down the left flank is praised by many. He will be looking to end the tournament on a high note and prove his worth yet again.

6. Azzedine Ounahi (Central Midfielder)

An agile midfielder with excellent dribbling skills and outstanding tactical awareness, he never shirked a tackle against Spain and Portugal. Often described as quiet and reserved in the dressing room, he brings the same attitude on the pitch and calms the nerves down in the heart of the midfield. A player of these abilities, it is worth a clash between him and the likes of Brozovic and Modric.

7. Sofyan Amrabat (Central Midfielder)

The 26-year-old midfielder is proving to be a real gem for Morocco. In a tournament like the World Cup, often attackers shine and make the headlines. However, for Morocco, Amrabat is their key player in midfield. The most important key of the Atlas Lions’ in protecting the backline, he has developed into a deep-lying playmaker. A target for Newcastle and Liverpool FC, his prices are touching sky-high in the market.

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8. Selim Amallah (Central Midfielder)

Box-to-box midfielders are arguably the most important player on a team when it comes to launching counter-attacks and moving from one end of the pitch to the other. A key part of the effective counter-attacking play is sharp, accurate, quick passing and he has certainly provided the goods to Regragui with his abilities. He will be vital against the formidable midfield of the Kockasti.

9. Hakim Ziyech (Right Winger)

Ziyech plays as a right winger who likes to take up a wide starting position and then drive infield with the ball, onto his stronger left foot and into positions where he poses a threat on goal, either with shots, through balls or crosses. Though he has not been in the starting XI of Chelsea for many months now, he has certainly made his case in this World Cup. He will be looking to claw out another impressive performance and finish off a dream of a campaign.

10. Youssef En-Nesyri (Central Striker)

Having had 2 goals in the tournament and scoring a peach of a goal against Portugal to knock them out in the Quarterfinal, he has been the stand-out performer for Morocco in this tournament. Though he was kept relatively at bay by Otamendi and Romero, his height and physicality have been a menace for defences throughout the tournament and will certainly trouble the likes of Lovren and Gvardiol too.

11. Sofiane Boufal (Left Winger)

Football fans have hailed Sofiane Boufal’s outrageous piece of skill to embarrass Marcos Llorente in Morocco’s World Cup clash with Spain. In the first half, Morocco winger Boufal twisted one way, the other and then back again as his opposite man Llorente was left for dead. His wriggling abilities, possessional play and wonderful sense of dribbling have proved essential to the resurrection of the Atlas Lions.

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