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A tough match for France ahead in semis with Morrocco


In an effort to retain the trophy for the first time in 60 years, France, which overcame England on Saturday, will face stiff opposition from the tournament’s biggest surprise package.
The first African nation to go to the final four, Morocco’s giant-killing run has thrilled Moroccan fans at home and delighted the Moroccan diaspora in Europe and abroad.

As the first Arab team to ever go to the final four, the Atlas Lions will once again be cheered on by thousands of fervent fans in the stadium on the outskirts of Doha in the desert. They can also count on support from Qataris living nearby.
Aziz Bouderbala, a former Moroccan international who was a member of the 1986 World Cup squad that advanced to the round of 16, told AFP that “it’s not over yet, our objective is to progress to the final.”

““We are experiencing a historic period. Although we are one of the top four teams in the world, the excitement is delirious.””

Given that France was Morocco’s former colonial power and that tens of thousands of individuals with Moroccan ancestry reside and work there, the game will have extra spice. Morocco coach Walid Regragui, who was born near Paris and spent most of his playing career in the French league, believes his team have become the neutral’s favourite. At this World Cup, “we’ve become the team people feel good about,” claimed Regragui.
“We’re showing the world what can be done with less talent, less quality, and less money, as well as what can be done with passion, hard effort, and belief,” the statement reads.

There will be fewer supporters of France at the stadium, but President Emmanuel Macron will be there to cheer them on.
According to the stats, Didier Deschamps’ team, which is stacked with skill and expertise, should advance with some ease.
But if the France coach—who also won the World Cup as a player in 1998—is concerned that his team could fall victim to complacency, he only needs to remind them of how Morocco reached this point.
In the round of 16, playing aggressive, hard-running football, Regragui’s team knocked out 2010 winners Spain on penalties before eliminating highly rated Portugal, leaving Cristiano Ronaldo in tears.
Earlier, Morocco had given notice of their intentions by winning Group F, defeating Belgium and Canada, and drawing with Croatia, who finished second in 2018.

They have only given up one goal during the entire campaign, but if they want to stop a strong France attack, they will need to put up another night of valiant defence.

Kylian Mbappe, the tournament’s top scorer with five goals, attacks from the left while Olivier Giroud, level with Lionel Messi on four goals, occupies the traditional centre-forward role.
Antoine Griezmann has been outstanding in a deeper, creative role.
In their two knockout matches, France overcame Poland and England, allaying pre-tournament worries about their injury losses of Paul Pogba, N’Golo Kante, and Karim Benzema.
However, the French will also need to be on guard against Morocco’s quick counterattacks, as Sevilla attacker Youssef En-Nesyri and Chelsea winger Hakim Ziyech will both be seeking to exploit holes in Deschamps’ defensive line. A high-intensity match should result from Morocco’s willingness to run with the ball and then hustle to recover it. Jules Kounde, a right-back for France, stated, “Obviously we know they are having an exceptional World Cup and have beaten some big nations, so it is a match we will be taking seriously.”

““They are no longer a surprise package, they deserve to be here. We hope to make things difficult for them and qualify.””


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