France has progressed to its second consecutive World Cup final. The reigning world champions beat Morocco 2-0 at the Al Bayt Stadium on Wednesday 14th December and will now face Argentina.
A tight, cagey game was expected, but France opened the scoring in the early stages. Théo Hernandez popped up in the right place at the right time to silence the 55,000 Morocco fans in attendance.
After their early shock, Morocco’s players steadied themselves. It was a historic occasion for the Atlas Lions as they became the first African country to ever reach the semi-final of the FIFA World Cup. Pre-match, Managaer Walid Regragui said that he wasn’t happy simply being in the semi-final and had his sights firmly set on reaching Sunday’s final.
Morocco then set about that task, dominating for a large spell in the second half, but without managing to create any clear-cut opportunities. As they committed more men to the offensive effort, it was always likely that they would be susceptible to the counter-attack, and so it proved.
Kylian Mbappé, who was relatively quiet on the night dribbled into the box and got a deflected shot away, which fell fortuitously to the feet of Randal Kolo Muani, who couldn’t miss from just a couple of yards out.
The French team, therefore, reaches its second World Cup final in just over four years. Should they beat Lionel Messi’s Argentina in Sunday’s final, Didier Deschamps’ side will become the first team to defend their title since Brazil in 1962.
French President Emmanuel Macron, who flew out for the match said, “They made me very proud. I want the French to enjoy this simple happiness. From tonight, we prepare for the final and to win it.”