African trailblazers from Morocco will look to continue their magical journey towards the Football World Cup when they face a monumental test of strength against current holders France in Wednesday’s semi-final at Al Bayt Stadium. The Atlas Lions stunned Portugal 1-0 to advance to the final four, while Les Bleus sent a hard-fought English team home 2-1 to keep their hopes of two back-to-back titles alive with either Argentina or Croatia waiting for the winners in a showcase event.
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Harry Kane’s missed penalty is a collector’s item in football and France were lucky according to Didier Deschamps as the defending champions prevented England from taking football home in a memorable quarter-final.
A lightning strike by Aurélien Chouameni and a header by Olivier Giroud on either side of Kane’s accurate penalty did the trick for France, although the Blues’ fans were relieved and stunned in equal measure when the England captain took the second penalty.
France also had to endure a late free-kick from Marcus Rashford, who was pinned to the roof of the goal, and referee Wilton Sampaio was also at the center of controversy, but a place in the semi-finals was fully deserved for the Bleus team, whose successive title aspirations are still alive.
Les Bleus failed to win in any of their first three Football World Cup semi-finals, but they have since won their last three in 1998, 2006 and 2018, and it has been 84 years since a European nation has been able to reach the final world championship. as defending champions – the 1934 and 1938 Italian luminaries were the last to do so.
By dropping Kane off the ground, France ensured they still didn’t have a clean slate at the Qatar World Cup ahead of their semi-final against Morocco, who, by contrast, definitely know a thing or two about keeping opponents at bay, even defensively. they are forced to change.
Whatever happens at Al Bayt Stadium on Wednesday, Morocco’s current crop has already cemented its place in national and continental folklore as the first African nation to reach the semi-finals of the Football World Cup.
Having to cope without Nayef Agerd and Nussair Mazraoui during the meeting with the Portuguese team that hit Switzerland in six was not what the doctor ordered Walid Regragi, but his backups did a great job of keeping Celesao and Youssef En-Nessiri at bay. A headline is all it took for the Atlas Lions to go down in African history.
Having secured maximum trophies against three international giants in Belgium, Spain and Portugal, Morocco would indeed be a worthy finalist and the Atlas Lions advance to the semi-finals, visibly preventing opposing players from scoring throughout the tournament.
Agerd’s own goal against Canada represents the only time Yassine Bounou has been beaten in Qatar – Regraga’s team otherwise has four clean sheets to their credit and Morocco’s loyalists should enjoy that statistic as the latter two teams have kept five clean sheets in the only Football World Cup. were Italy in 2006 and Spain in 2010, both of which were champions.
Extravagance has also been of great benefit to Morocco, as only nine of the 45 shots they have faced in the Football World Cup have landed on target, but facing a French side that has never been defeated by the Atlas Lions in five matches shouldn’t scare Regragi. players or their noisy fans. France enter the final four with no new injuries or suspension issues, although some feel that Theo Hernandez’s barge on Mason Mount for Kane’s second penalty deserves more than just a yellow card.
The Bleus XI is gaining momentum at this point, with Jules Kunde decisively ousting Benjamin Pavard at right-back and Theo Hernandez doing his job competently in the absence of his injured brother Lucas Hernandez, who suffered an ACL tear in their first match against Australia.
France’s leading men’s scorer of all time, Giroud could become the oldest player in history to score five goals in a single Football World Cup if he scores a goal wave here, and while Kylian Mbappé was held relatively quietly by England, Les Bleus has now won all 10 FIFA World Cup games , in which the 23-year-old football player started.
Meanwhile, Morocco striker Walid Cheddira was quickly booked two yellow cards against Portugal and would be suspended until the semi-finals, but no one expected the 24-year-old to be aiming for the starting spot. For more know about Football World Cup Tickets.
West Ham United’s Agerd missed out on a quarter-final win over Portugal with an adductor injury against France in the round of 16, but Regragui will do his best to keep him available after Romain Saissa had to be stretched out on Saturday. -for an ongoing hamstring problem.
Saiss confirmed that he will do everything in his power to be ready for the semi-finals, where Mazraoui could also return due to a hip flexor problem and Hakim Ziyech will expect everything to be fine despite that he was also kicked out. on the weekend.
However, Regragui can rest easy after witnessing Yahia Attiyat Allah and Jawad El-Yamik’s decisive performances against Portugal, and at least one of the duo is required here to some extent.
France possible starting lineup:
Lloris; Kounde, Varane, Upamecano, T. Hernandez; Tchouameni, Rabiot; Dembele, Griezmann, Mbappe; Giroud
Morocco possible starting lineup:
Bono; Hakimi, El Yamiq, Aguerd, Mazraoui; Ounahi, Amrabat, Amallah; Ziyech, En-Nesyri, Boufal
The exemplary defensive resilience of the Moroccans has not been affected by their injury concerns against Portugal, but more fitness issues in the rear will surely spell the end of their unbeaten streak and likely their inspiring performance at the Football World Cup.
Regraga’s wounded warriors may well try to throw themselves back for what could be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and the French team, who only needed Mbappe in the starting line-up to win Football World Cup matches, will no doubt take advantage of it. , so a second consecutive final should be on the menu for Les Bleus.
France squad were baffled by player picked as ‘weak link’ in England game, it motivated them
France players were shocked by what the English media called the “weakest link” ahead of the Football World Cup quarter-final against England on Saturday night. Didier Deschamps’ team lost 2-1 at Al-Bayt Stadium thanks to goals in both halves by Aurélien Choyameny and Olivier Giroud.
Harry Kane converted a penalty in between but then shot a second over the crossbar with five minutes left. England were in the lead for most of the match but failed to convert their chances. This was partly due to the performance of France goalkeeper Hugo Lloris, who made some vital saves. One in particular saw him use his fingertips to knock Jude Bellingham’s effort over the bar right after the break.
According to RMC Sport, the younger members of Les Bleus were motivated to play after the English press named their captain as a player to look out for. Tottenham Hotspur star Lloris has been instrumental in bringing France one step closer to retaining the Football World Cup. Lloris made his debut in France in 2008 and is the most capped player in the history of the national team with 143 caps.
France will now face Morocco in a huge semi-final on Wednesday night. The winner will play either Argentina or Croatia, who play on Tuesday, in the Football World Cup final in six days. England’s defeat means their 56-year wait for an international trophy continues. Under the management of Gareth Southgate, they have been eliminated from three major competitions.
The Three Lions have had a good Football World Cup overall, but Southgate could still leave after a tough 18 months. Last summer, England lost to Italy in the Euro 2020 final and then failed in the UEFA Nations League.
Much of the last 18 months have been difficult for me, Southgate told The Guardian. Despite everything I’ve enjoyed over the past few weeks, I still have… how things have been for 18 months. What is said and what is written. Night with the wolves. There are a lot of things in my head right now that really contradict each other. For more know about Football World Cup Semi Final Tickets.
“What I want to make sure, if this is right, is that I definitely have the energy for this. I don’t want to think in four or five months, I made the wrong call. It’s too important for everyone to get it wrong.”
Raphael Varane’s dreams of playing in the Football World Cup
Just 52 days ago at Stamford Bridge, Raphael Varane looked like a man at the end of the world. He fell awkwardly, straining his hamstring, after an hour of Manchester United’s deadlock against Chelsea was a thing of the past, and although the displeasure he showed when he was offered a stretcher showed he didn’t want it to look like like a crisis, the signs were not good. He covered his face with a jersey and wept as he was led across the field to the dressing room.
What happened next was crucial to France’s arrival in the Football World Cup semi-final against Morocco on Wednesday. Varane missed his country’s first group stage match against Australia but has since been present in four games, cementing an impromptu back four.
A French journalist on Monday told the 29-year-old that he, Olivier Giroud, Antoine Griezmann and Hugo Lloris were “historic soldiers” of this team and there is no doubt that his intervention after a poor first half against Poland in the last 16 years was trench material.
Varane told his teammates in a hushed dressing room: We are in the round of 16 of the Football World Cup, we are living the dream, but this dream can end at any moment if we continue like this. We don’t work hard for each other, we don’t work well. I’m not aiming it at anyone. I’m thinking of everyone boys. You must show something else.
Giroud described the moment of motivation as a “quick shot” that secured France’s takeover of the game. It will be a much talked about part of the retrospective if they beat Morocco to become the first team to win back-to-back FIFA World Cups since Brazil in 1962.
We weren’t in the game as much as we could have been, Varane, the vice-captain, said on Monday. Sometimes we can’t be as comfortable as we should be and I felt like the team needed a bit of a boost. I needed to express myself and that’s what I did at halftime. If I want to talk, I talk. And this is what is expected.
This conversation was also palpable on the pitch, as Varane managed 24-year-old impromptu right-back Jules Kundet, who worked off of him. Kunde is a centre-back and is considered to be playing out of position because Ousmane Dembele told manager Didier Deschamps that he would have preferred this over Benjamin Pavard behind him in that position. Deschamps was also apparently convinced that Kunde was the best option.
Kunde said on Monday that France’s pre-match video analysis had convinced them that England’s left flank – Phil Foden, Jude Bellingham and Luke Shaw – posed the greatest danger and that they were targeting that flank on Saturday night. It was a collective effort, Kunde said. We defended better than against Poland.
“We closed the acceleration lines and made our work a little easier. Their left side was the strongest and we managed to adjust to that. I tried to leave as little space as possible and I thought we did very well. Varane, who joined United from Real Madrid 16 months ago, looks and sounds like a risk-taker that could have been taken from him. I thought the injury was more serious than it actually was, he said during his time in Qatar. I thought the Football World Cup was over for me. The diagnosis was this: if I work hard in rehab, I can come back and be ready. I guess a footballer’s career goes up and down.”
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