France spoil Morocco’s World Cup dreams, advance to their second straight finals appearance
Lionel Messi and Argentina await the French in the grand finale on Sunday, Dec. 18.
MORE IN THIS SECTION
Kylian Mbappe and France spoiled Morocco's dream World Cup run as they defeated them 2-0 earlier today, Dec. 14, to advance to their second straight World Cup finals appearance. With the win, France also became the first nation in more than two decades to play in consecutive finals with the last being Brazil, which made it to three straight between 1994-2002.
It is sure to be the Blockbuster final that FIFA was looking for entering Qatar with France taking on Lionel Messi and Argentina.
The Morocaans and their fanbase roared throughout the game, but it was not enough for their team as they struggled to finish any opportunities despite creating a handful they will definitely want back. They gave it their all, but needed a little bit more if they wanted to get through the reigning champions.
The French defense has been questionable all throughout the tournament, especially in their quarterfinals match up vs. England last Saturday, where they looked the most vulnerable that they have looked in a while.
With that, the Moroccans came in with a lot of momentum carried over from their triumphant and emotional quarterfinals win that eliminated Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal in his last World Cup tournament. However, the France defense, anchored by Raphaël Varane, proved to be enough to keep Morocco from getting any balls into the back of the net.
But it should be said, it was a terrible start for the Moroccans.
It would only take France five minutes to get their first goal, who were able to capitalize on a mistake from the Moroccan defense.
AC Milan defender Theo Hernandez got in front of a loose ball by the near post and with great athleticism, got on top of the ball with his left foot and got enough on it to get it past the Moroccan goalkeeper, Bono. It was the first goal conceded by Morocco all tournament, aside from an own goal earlier in the tournament.
Unlike the Croatians yesterday in their loss to Argentina, the Moroccans didn’t panic after going down early and managed to get back into the game for the rest of the first and even parts of the second half. They pushed the French into their half of the pitch and forced them to commit silly and desperate tackles as a result. They were able to neutralize Olivier Giroud and at least somewhat contain Mbappe from running wild.
Minutes after the kickoff of the second half, Jawad El Yamiq almost scored one of the great goals in World Cup history as he attempted a bicycle kick with the ball hitting Hugo Lloris’s right post, in what surely would have been an astonishing way to tie it up.
Morocco held their own for a lot of the second 45 but looked quite vulnerable anytime the French came at them with any kind of counterattack, as their speed looked to be too much to handle. But ultimately for the Moroccans, tragedy would come as the game neared its final 10 minutes.
Randal Kolo Muani made quite the entrance,as he had only just come in moments earlier and scored France’s second of the game with his first touch on the ball. Mbappé displayed some of his tricks with tight dribbling inside the penalty area. He made it past a few Moroccan defenders and kicked it off to his right, finding a wide open Kolo Muani who just had to get a foot on it.
The goal effectively killed the game off.
It was a tough and brutal ending to Morocco, who had one of the best tournaments ever for an African and Arab nation. Though losing out to the reigning champions is not something to be ashamed of, it was obviously not the result they were hoping for after such an impressive defensive performance throughout the tournament.
For Mbappe and France, they have a chance to put themselves in the history books, as they will look to win their second straight World Cup, one of the toughest tasks in soccer.
The French will look to spoil Lionel Messi’s last chance at taking home the World Cup trophy as the blockbuster finale will take place on upcoming Sunday, Dec. 18.