France defeated Morocco 2-0 on Thursday at the Al Bayt Stadium in the FIFA World Cup 2022 semifinal, thanks in large part to goals from Theo Hernandez and Randal Kolo Muani (IST).
Thus, France made history by becoming the first team to win consecutive championships since Brazil in 1998. Now, France will play Argentina in the tournament’s championship game on Sunday.
Morocco has been the surprise of Qatar 2022, and Walid Regragui’s team rallied magnificently following Hernandez’s opening goal in the fifth minute, holding the world champions at bay for sizable stretches in an impressive display of bravery and skill.
Kolo Muani of Eintracht Frankfurt, though, emerged as the surprise winner for France, scoring with his very first touch after Kylian Mbappe had an effort blocked 11 minutes from the end.
Morocco had only given up once all tournament as it made history by becoming the first African team to advance to the FIFA World Cup 2022 semifinals.
All three players — Romain Saiss, Nayef Aguard, and Noussair Mazraoui—were cleared to play, although Saiss was replaced midway through the first half despite visibly being unfit. Aguard, a West Ham player, withdrew after the warmup.
That doubt appeared to be a factor in the disorganized France opening, in which Antoine Griezmann took advantage of Jawad El Yamiq’s slip to pass the ball back to Mbappe. Hernandez was alert to the possibilities as he produced an acrobatic finish after Hernandez’s first effort was blocked and a second was looped up off Oliver Giroud.
Saiss’ thigh gave out, and Giroud hit the post. However, Hugo Lloris had already stopped Azzedine Ounahi at full stretch before that, and El Yamiq nearly made up for his mistake with an overhead kick that smacked the base of the post.
After the break, Mbappe attempted to put France back in the game, but Chelsea’s Hakim Ziyech emerged as the game’s best striker, directing a number of deft attacks down the right side.
Only after Dayot Upemacano was unable to play due to sickness did Ibrahima Konate make last-ditch clearances, and France only gained breathing room when Kylian Mbappe’s fast feet created space for a half-blocked shot that dropped nicely for Kolo Muani, who had played for only 44 seconds.
The memories of Morocco’s remarkable run will linger in the mind for a much longer.
France vs Morocco final score
FRA — Theo Hernandez (5 mins)
FRA — Randal Kolo Muani (79 mins)