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Morocco - France: the African team is one step away from the World Cup final, but now they will face the champion

2022-12-14T09:59:13.338Z


To reach the semifinal phase, Morocco has beaten European heavyweights such as Belgium, Spain and Portugal. Now it's France.


France vs.

Morocco: what to expect from the other semifinal crossing 3:59

(CNN) --

Morocco has lived through a fairytale World Cup like no other.

The Atlas Lions are already the most successful African team in World Cup history, becoming the first nation from the continent to finish in the tournament's best four.

To reach the semifinal phase, Morocco has beaten European heavyweights such as Belgium, Spain and Portugal.

Morocco, the first African semifinalist in history!

1:27

Now, the Atlas Lions face the best Europe has to offer: world champion France.

After Morocco defeated Portugal, head coach Walid Regragui compared his team to “Rocky”.

“We have made our people and our continent so happy and proud.

When you see 'Rocky', you want to support Rocky Balboa and I think we are the 'Rocky' of this World Cup”, said Regragui.

"I think now the world is with Morocco."

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Morocco have undoubtedly exceeded expectations at Qatar 2022, thanks in part to the team's "number 12 player" in the stands.

Thousands of Moroccans live in Doha and thousands more have made the short trip across the Middle East to support their nation, creating a non-stop uproar at every game.

After the victory against Portugal, Morocco's national airline Royal Air Maroc (RAM) said it would offer almost 30 flights to Doha before the game against France, the state news agency MAP reported on Monday.

Add to those fans the support of Africans and Arabs around the world and the goodwill of a planet that expects the Rocky Balboa of the World Cup to land two more knockout punches in this tournament, and there is a growing sense that France will not play in the Al Bayt Stadium in Doha but in the Mohammed V Stadium in Casablanca.

The Atlas Lions are also being boosted by perhaps the most unlikely source: their mothers.

After Morocco's victories against Spain and Portugal, players like Achraf Hakimi and Sofiane Boufal have been photographed kissing or dancing with their mothers.

His presence followed Regragui's decision to invite the players' families to stay with the team in Doha.

Regragui's own mother has been present throughout the tournament, a first for Fatima.

"During his entire career as a player and as a coach, I never traveled to see him," he told Moroccan broadcaster Arriyadia.

The great team behind the success of the Moroccan team 1:24

"I have lived in France for more than 50 years and this is the first competition for which I left Paris."

If the fans want to see tears of joy instead of sadness after the game, then Morocco will have to do something they have never done before and that is beat France.

Despite the close ties between the nations, Morocco and France have only played five times, with Morocco losing four times and drawing one.

France, meanwhile, is at its best, dispelling all the doubts that hung over the 2018 World Cup champion.

Despite losing at least five key players, the French have emerged as strong contenders to retain their title after picking up a win against England in the quarter-final.

Kylian Mbappé has once again been the star of the show and the tournament's top scorer has underlined his position as heir to Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo as the best player in the world.

But against England, France showed that they have many other threats besides the Paris Saint-Germain striker.

Antoine Griezmann has reinvented himself as a midfielder and was instrumental in the win against England, with a pass to another unlikely hero, Olivier Giroud, who headed in the winner.

Olivier Giroud

Like Griezmann, Giroud has had a renaissance at this World Cup.

After failing to score a single goal in 2018 and with Ballon d'Or winner Karim Benzema returning to the squad, it looked as if Giroud would never play for France again.

Since then, he has scored four World Cup goals, just one behind Mbappé, and has become France's all-time top scorer.

And the rest of France's players will need to be at their best, as Mbappé will be up against not only the best right-back in the world, but also his closest friend, Hakimi.

Hakimi sends a message to Mbappé in the preview of France-Morocco 0:50

Both play for PSG and have become inseparable over the past year, making Hakimi the perfect candidate to stop their unpredictable friend.

But the love will not end when the pair play on Wednesday, something that Mbappé already predicted long before the tournament.

In January, when PSG was in Doha, Mbappé made the prediction that he would play against his friend.

“France, Tunisia, I hope we win and then we will play Morocco and I have to destroy my friend [Hakimi],” he said in a video filmed by BeIN Sports.

“That will break my heart a bit, but it is football.

It is what it is, I have to kill it."

Hakimi responded by saying, “I have to kick it.”

Mbappé and company will have to do their best to overcome this determined Moroccan team and reach the final.

France vs.

Morocco: Wednesday, December 14

  • Argentina (Buenos Aires): 4 p.m.

  • Mexico (CDMX): 1 pm

  • United States (Miami): 2 pm

  • Colombia (Bogotá): 2 p.m.

  • Spain (Madrid): 8 p.m.

  • Ecuador (Quito): 2 p.m.

  • Peru (Lima): 2 pm

  • Qatar (Doha): 10 p.m.

Morocco World Cup Qatar 2022

Source: cnnespanol

All news articles on 2022-12-14

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