Morocco were on a brilliant undefeated run headed into the semi-finals of the FIFA World Cup to face the defending World champions, France. Along their incredible run they’ve captured the hearts of many football fans with their valiant effort and their great underdog story. France were the villains to bloody the many sheets that Morocco had put up when they beat the Atlas Lions 2-0 to advance through to the final for the second successive time in the World Cup.
France took an early advantage in the game after just 5 minutes through Theo Hernandez, after Morocco failed to clear lines, the full-back was able to capitalise by firing a close-range volley home to give the French an early lead.
Celebrations rightly ringing around the stadium for the French goal, and just 10 minutes later Giroud came very close to giving them even more reason to keep the noise level at a high when he struck the pole from a Konate long-ball which found in the right place at the right time. Morocco were really taking the fight to the champions and playing like a team worthy to be in the top 4 teams in Qatar, and they came close to an equaliser at 45 minutes when their own chance was parried onto the post by Lloris, from El Yamiq’s attempted ovrhead kick. The scores at the break were at 1-0 and France 45 minutes from a place in the final.
Morocco put up a very valiant performance against the world champions but it didn’t seem enough to nullify the threat of Antoine Griezmann (who won Man of the Match) in that French midfield, and the dancing Kylian Mbappe out wide. Though the PSG forward did not score in this match, his twists and turns in the opposition causing panic for the Moroccan defenders, a loose defensive touch by the defenders, to nick the ball away from Mbappe, fell to French substitute Kolo Mauni at the back post to tap it into the back of net at 79 minutes to ultimately seal France’s passage through to the final.
Mbappe was down the wing against his PSG teammate, fullback Achraf Hakimi and the two friends even exchanged shirt at the end to showcase their respect for one another, and Mbappe even consoling his friend through his Twitter account after a very tight contest between 2 very excellent teams in the 2022 World Cup edition.
France have now set up a very lucrative date with Argentina on Sunday at the Lusail Stadium to determine who walks away with gold strapped around their necks. Argentina looking to win it for the first time since 1986, while France are aiming to be the first team in 60 years to successfully defend their World Cup title, since Brazil last did in 1962. Morocco, having already made history having reached the farthest round an African team has reached in the history of the World Cup, will face Croatia on Saturday aiming for a best possible 3rd-placed finish. Croatia will be looking their previous edition’s 2nd-placed finish with a 3rd placed finish this time around. As we’re looking to conclude the competition in big fireworks.