..After defeating England in the last eight heavyweight matches, France will face Morocco in the 2022 FIFA World Cup semi-finals.
Although France will start as the favorite, Morocco is accustomed to being the underdog after defeating European rivals Belgium, Spain, and Portugal during their impressive unbeaten run.
The victory for France was secured by Aurelien Tchouameni’s thunderbolt and Olivier Giroud’s header on either side of a precise Kane penalty. However, Bleus supporters were relieved and shocked when the England captain blazed a second spot kick over the bar.
The French team, who had dreams of winning back-to-back championships, had to suffer a late Marcus Rashford free kick that nestled against the roof of the net, and referee Wilton Sampaio was also the subject of debate. Still, a spot in the semi-final was richly merited for them.
Before their semi-final match with Morocco, France ensured they would still be without a World Cup 2022 clean sheet by surrendering to Kane from the penalty spot.
It has been 84 years since a European country advanced to the World Cup final as the reigning champions; the Italian greats of 1934 and 1938 were the most recent to do so.
Les Bleus did not win any of their first three World Cup semi-final, but they have since won on their last three occasions in 1998, 2006, and 2018.
France World Cup Form: W W L W W
All of these players are injured and France are still two wins away from defending their World Cup title…
Unreal depth 😳 pic.twitter.com/933O08gquL
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) December 10, 2022
Walid Regragui’s stand-ins performed admirably to hold back A Selecao, and a Youssef En-Nesyri header was all it took for the Atlas Lions to make African history.
Walid Regragui was forced to play without Nayef Aguerd and Noussair Mazraoui while facing a Portugal side that had hit Switzerland for six goals.
Morocco would be deserving champions after defeating Belgium, Spain, and Portugal to the hilt.
Regragui’s team has kept four clean sheets so far in Qatar, with Aguerd’s own goal against Canada the lone exception. Moroccan supporters should take pride in this statistic, as the last two teams to do so at the same World Cup was Italy in 2006 and Spain in 2010, both of whom went on to win the title.
Morocco World Cup Form: D W W W W
Incredible! Morocco is the first ever African country to make it to the semi finals. The entire continent is rooting for you 👏🏿 pic.twitter.com/TtUZZrl3jr
— Samuel Eto'o (@SamuelEtoo) December 10, 2022
Dayot Upamecano and Adrien Rabiot, who both have cold-like symptoms and skipped training on Tuesday, are now doubts about France’s match against Morocco as they enter the final four. If necessary, Ibrahima Konate and Youssouf Fofana would fill in.
Walid Cheddira, a Moroccan striker, will miss the semi-final after receiving two yellow cards against Portugal quickly.
Aguerd missed the quarterfinal victory over Portugal after suffering an adductor injury in the round-of-16 matches against France.
However, Regragui will make every effort to have him available after Romain Saiss had to be carried off on Saturday due to a persistent hamstring problem.
Saiss has stated that he will exert every effort to prepare for the semi-final. At the same time, Mazraoui may force his way back into the action after a hip flexor injury and Hakim Ziyech will anticipate being fine despite being forced to leave the match over the weekend.
Morocco are in the World Cup semifinals and not a single team has scored on them all tournament 😳 pic.twitter.com/s7ibpQN3QH
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) December 10, 2022
France’s possible starting lineup:
Lloris; Kounde, Varane, Upamecano, T. Hernandez; Tchouameni, Rabiot; Dembele, Griezmann, Mbappe; Giroud
Morocco’s possible starting lineup:
Bono; Hakimi, El Yamiq, Aguerd, Mazraoui; Ounahi, Amrabat, Amallah; Ziyech, En-Nesyri, Boufal
Head to Head
Eleven encounters have taken place between the two countries. Seven of those games have been won by France, while Morocco has won just one.
There have been three draws between the two teams, including their most recent encounter, which ended 2-2.
Since 1966, France has gone unbeaten in ten contests against the Atlas Lions.
Time, Date & Venue
Date: Wednesday, December 14
Time: 07:00 pm, GMT
Venue: Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor
A second straight final should be on the menu for Les Bleus, given that Regragui’s injured warriors may try to rush themselves back for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
And a France team who has only needed Mbappe to be in the starting lineup to win World Cup matches will no doubt take advantage.