France defeated Morocco in the semifinals and will play Argentina in the final of the World Cup in Qatar. Les Bleus reached the final of the World Cup for the fourth time in history and for the second time in a row.
The semifinals in Qatar passed without sensations. France beat Morocco 2-0 and qualified for the final.
There were two critical moments in the match – firstly, Morgan Saiss was not fully fit but was selected in starting lineup, which forced Maghrib’s plans to change, and secondly, a quick goal was scored by Didier Deschamps’ team in the 5th minute.
Morocco played with 5 defenders for the first time in this championship.
The score was opened after a mistake by El Yamiqi. The central defender of Valladolid tried to intercept the ball against Griezmann, but to no avail. In the end, Mbappe’s shot was deflected by defenders, and Theo Hernandez played first on the free ball. As a result, the defender of Milan scored the 2nd goal in the tournament.
Morocco conceded only the second goal of the tournament. Unfortunately, the author of the first (own goal), Nayef Aguerd, was injured while warming up before the match. In addition, the injury was not entirely healed by Morgan Sais, and it was already evident by the 20th minute of the match.
It was also clear that the head coach Walid Regragui was very dissatisfied with the medical staff or the player himself, and he did not hide it in the technical area. Therefore, the time for change has come soon. Injured defender Morgan Saiss was replaced by attacking midfielder Selim Amallah.
Finally, in the first half, Walid Regragui’s team was just a little behind the opponent, but despite 2 accurate shots, they still could not restore the balance. Hugo Lloris saved Les Bleus from an obvious goal at the last minute of the first 45 minutes.
The Moroccans started the second half with changes. Noussair Mazraoui replaced by Yahya Attia-Allah. The half was started more actively by first African team reaching the semifinal, but still without the result.
Didier Deschamps made only two changes. Marcus Thuram replaced Olivier Giroud. And Randal Kolo Muani – Ousmane Dembele. Milan’s forward had several chances, but he could not add anything to his 4-goal-tally.
Instead, the younger Thuram actively entered, and Randal Kolo Muani scored his debut goal at the World Cup. Interestingly, Deschamps did not bring Thuram Kolo Muani to Qatar at first. However, after the injuries of Nkunku and Benzema, the attackers of Borussia Mönchengladbach and Eintracht Frankfurt made it to the World Cup.
Kolo Muani’s goal is the third-fastest substitution goal in World Cup history. He was able to appear on scoreboard in 44 seconds.
Morocco had the most realistic scoring chance at 90+4 minutes, but Jules Kunde did not let Abderrazak Hamdallah to score. Finally, 2-0 and France is in the final, where Les Blues will face Argentina on 18 of December.
Key stats from Opta
- Didier Deschamps is the fourth manager to lead a nation to back-to-back World Cup finals, after Vittorio Pozzo with Italy (1934, 1938), Carlos Bilardo with Argentina (1986, 1990), and Franz Beckenbauer with Germany (1986, 1990).
- France are the first nation to reach back-to-back World Cup finals since Brazil in 2002, and first European country to do so since Germany in 1990.
- Randal Kolo Muani has scored the third-quickest goal for a substitute in World Cup history (44 seconds after coming on), only behind Morales in 2002 (16 seconds) and Sand in 1998 (26 seconds).
- 4:39 – Theo Hernández’s opener is the earliest scored by any side in a World Cup semi-final since 1958, when Vavá scored within two minutes for Brazil against France.
- 19 – Hugo Lloris made his 19th appearance at the World Cup, equalling Manuel Neuer as the goalkeeper with the most games in the history of the competition.
- France have never lost a World Cup match when leading at half-time, winning 25 times and drawing once.