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FIFA World Cup 2022: Morocco’s Dream Run Ends, France to Face Argentina in Final

FIFA World Cup 2022: Despite creating a plethora of opportunities, Morocco could not breach the French defence.

Updated
Football
2 min read
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Morocco dared to dream. It was more audacious than any other team from their continent, more intrepid than many had presumed it to be. The Atlas Lions etched their name on tales of valour by becoming the first African nation to qualify for a FIFA World Cup semi-final, but it won’t be etched on the glittering trophy following their 0-2 defeat against France on Wednesday, 14 December.

Unlike the predictions, Walid Regragui’s team dominated possession instead of forming a defensive shell early on, but France were at their lethal best as they scored from their first opportunity in the fifth minute.

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Antoine Greizmann played a pass for wonderkid Kylian Mbappe, who did well to shoot despite being surrounded by a host of Moroccan players. The ball took a deflection before finding left-back Theo Hernandez, who struck his shot past the opposition’s goalkeeper, Yassine Bounou.

Known for frustrating opponents by not allowing easy goals, it seemed that Walid Regragui’s team will crumble after conceding early. The response, however, was beyond spectacular as Morocco launched one chance after another.

Azzedine Ounahi’s 8th-minute shot needed a brilliant save by French skipper Hugo Boumous, while Hakim Ziyech squandered an opportunity not long after. The elusive equaliser nearly arrived just before the lemon break when centre-back Jawad El Yamiq went for a bicycle kick – his attempt matching the unmatched audacity of his team. Lloris, however, came to his team’s rescue once again.

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France Struck Again in the Second Half After Withstanding Pressure

The general assumption was that the break will help Didier Deschamps instil composure in his players, but Regragui’s boys prevented such an occurrence by continuing with their onslaught. The likes of Youssef En-Nesyri, Ziyech and Ounahi had chances to score, but they were not as accurate as their French counterparts.

Substitute Abderazzak Hamdallah dribbled past almost the entire French defence but could not score. However, another substitute scored in the 79th minute, except that he was wearing blue. Mbappe provided another assist as his pass found Randal Kolo Muani standing in front of an empty goal, and the Eintracht Frankfurt player made his mark by adding his name to the scoresheet.

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France will now take on Argentina in the final of the showpiece event on Sunday, 18 December, at the Lusail Iconic Stadium. Les Bleus will be playing their fourth final, with La Albiceleste making their sixth appearance at the last hurdle.

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