France ends Morocco’s fairy tale, books Mbappe vs Messi final

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France defeated Morocco 2-0 at the Al Bayt Stadium to book a final date with Lionel Messi and Argentina at the Lusail Iconic Stadium on Sunday.

The quest for France, to become the first team since Brazil in 1962 to successfully defend the World Cup is nearing fruition, as they saw off a stubborn Moroccan side that gave a very good account.

 

Morocco also struggled to cope with Nayef Aguerd ruled out for the encounter while captain Romain Saiss was patched up from his thigh injury and could only last 20 minutes before being taken off. Noussair Mazraoui could also not play beyond the 45th minutes in that thrilling encounter.

Until Wednesday’s encounter, Morocco had remained unbeaten and almost impregnable conceding only once, that meant they have never trailed in any match in this tournament.

But it all counted for little as the defending champions only needed five minutes to score the first goal.

Kylian Mbappe was found in the middle of the box and tried to skip past the bodies surrounding him, the PSG star unleashed a shot that was deflected kindly to the path of the incoming Theo Hernandez who showed great composure and technique to shoot past Yassine Bounou.

 

Morocco’s quest for a response was impressive as Azzedine Ounahi tested Hugo Lloris from range, before El Yamiq’s bicycle kick came off the post as the Atlas Lions came close to equalizing.

With morocco pushing for an equalizer, Olivier Giroud found space and joy but was wasteful, missing narrowly with the goal at his mercy.

Cheered on by their teeming Supporters in the stands, Morocco kept on asking questions, Didier Deschamps was a worried man and made some key changes that eventually paid off.

The France manager took off Giroud and moved Mbappe to center forward, as the French man was largely kept quiet by friend Achraf Hakimi and the Moroccan daring high line.

However, Mbappe only needed a moment of magic and found it as he took on the Moroccan defense almost single-handedly before his shot deflected again, but this time to the path of newly introduced Randal Kolo Muani who made no mistake to tap into an empty net to double the lead and book their place in the final against Argentina.

Morocco lost on the night, but, won the heart and admiration of many and will now take on Croatia for the losers final to determine third place.

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