After his team defeated Morocco in a play-off, Croatia manager Zlatko Dalic stated his team's third top-three performance at the World Cup has a "golden coating." Dalic's team, which finished second to France four years ago, reaffirmed their place among the world's top footballing powers by taking third place once again, adding to their 1998 competition debut victory.
Josko Gvardiol gave Croatia the lead on minute seven with a spectacular diving header, but Achraf Dari equalised just two minutes later with a close-range nod. Three minutes before halftime, Mislav Orsic curled in an exquisite second goal for Croatia via the post, and three minutes after the break, he fired a thunderous, deflected shot into the side-netting. Morocco's successful campaign came to an end with back-to-back losses because the second half lacked the vigour of the enthralling first.
Dalic said: "We won the bronze medal and it has a golden layer, it is like we have won the gold medal tonight. Fighting for the third place play-off and losing would have been a disaster. This is the end of a cycle, end of a journey. My players spared no efforts and these are what we work for."