Defending champions, France, have ended Morocco’s incredible run at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar with a 2-0 win at the Al Bayt Stadium in the semi-final game on Wednesday night.
The North African side, who are the first African and Arab country to make it to the semi-finals in the World Cup’s 92-year history, were given a reality check in the 4th minute when left back Theo Hernadez scrambled onto the ball to open the scoring and in the process set a record of the fastest goal scored in a World Cup semifinal since 1958.
Morocco also lost the clearly unfit Romain Saiss to injury before half-time but came close to drawing level, especially when Jawad El Yamiq’s overhead kick was kept out by a combination of the post and France goalkeeper Hugo Lloris.
France, with Liverpool defender Ibrahima Konate outstanding, kept their composure in the hothouse atmosphere of Al Bayt Stadium and had chances of their own, Olivier Giroud striking the post in the first half.
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With the goal, the Moroccans who had the support of the majority of the fans severally attempted to get back into the game while putting their former colonial masters under pressure but it seemed their luck had run out completely.
The French who have better experience bided their time despite the game becoming a feisty affair.
In the second half, the Moroccans completely dominated the match, wasting many chances but the French were brilliant defensively.
In the 80th minute, Randal Kolo Muaniwas, who had entered the game 44 seconds earlier, connected to Kylian Mbappe’s pass after a mazy run to make it 2-0.
Following this result, France has set up a Sunday final date with the Lionel Messi-led Argentina while Morocco battle Croatia for third place spot on Saturday.