Antoine Griezmann (left), the unsung star of French football, alongside prodigy Kylian Mbappé
Lars Baron/Getty Images
Player of the game:
Player of the game:
Of course, the focus this time was Kylian Mbappé.
In the semi-final against Morocco he prepared both goals.
However, another player deserves more attention: Antoine Griezmann.
The bleached genius with flair, he seems to float on the pitch, he's everywhere.
Without him nothing would work in the French game.
Griezmann orchestrates the pressing when it comes to that.
He initiates almost every attack, runs down the paths that Mbappé leaves open through the airs and graces he has been granted.
One scene exemplified what Griezmann brings to the French game: in the second half he was ready for a corner kick but gestured wildly towards the halfway line.
He didn't like the protection given this set piece, as Morocco dropped an extra counterattacker.
In such a sadly destructive team that actually just bubbles with individual world class, Griezmann is the player who holds everything together.
It's just that it doesn't get the attention it deserves very often.
In the end, it's the hard statistics that are of most interest in football.
Therefore also at this point: France won 2-0 (1-0) against Morocco and thus moves into the World Cup final on Sunday.
Theo Hernández (5th minute) and Randal Kolo Muani (79th) scored.
Read the match report here.
Moroccan holiday in Qatar:
Moroccan holiday in Qatar:
There aren't many anthems that can rival the French »Marseillaise« in world football.
The war song, sung with fervor by players like Olivier Giroud or Raphaël Varane, is too established for that.
On Wednesday evening, however, she was defeated by the Moroccan anthem "an-Nashid al-Sharif".
Not only that goalkeeper Bono could not resist his mischievous grin, which is already known at this World Cup, because of the crowd with almost 70,000 mainly Arab, so on this evening Moroccan football fans singing along.
Coach Walid Regragui almost screamed his heart out in front of the coaching bench, ZDF reporter legend Béla Réthy said at the beginning of his farewell game: »Have you seen the coach?
He roared like a lion!”
Morocco started a little nervously: Achraf Dari, who slipped into the game just before kick-off for the injured star defender Nayef Aguerd, let the kick-off slip over his foot.
A technical error that happens dozens of times.
But also a sign of excitement, which a few minutes later might also have favored the French lead: Griezmann let Jawad El-Yamiq, who had come out a little too hastily, slip past with a body trick and played into the penalty area.
In the end, Mbappé blocked the shot at Theo Hernández, who scored the lead with a slow-motion side kick (5th).
Morocco also became dangerous, most dangerously with a shin kick by El-Yamiq, which landed on the post (44th).
Morocco pressed France deep on their own sixteen, had more possession of the ball, the nicer combinations, the more dangerous scenes.
There was a lot of discussion before the game about the match between the two nations with their complex colonial and immigration history.
French President Emmanuel Macron spoke of a “brotherly and friendly game”, also with regard to a tense situation in Paris, for example, where riots were expected.
However, always implying that France is the big brother.
It is probably the greatest victory for the Moroccans that reigning world champions France were in a state of permanent defense for long stretches in a head-to-head encounter, especially in the second half.
In the second half, France barely managed to find a moment of relief.
And Morocco certainly had chances: Abderazzak Hamdallah dribbled his way elegantly into the French penalty area, past Varane, among others.
However, he then missed the time to finish (76').
Then France did France things: Frankfurt Randal Kolo Muani came on and while Béla Réthy was telling one of those wonderful Béla Réthy stories, namely that Kolo Muani was just 15 days before Kylian Mbappé in the same hospital in Bondy in a Parisian banlieue was born, Kolo Muani made the preliminary decision: after winning the ball, France switched well, Mbappé got them into the penalty area, which tied six Moroccan players.
To the Moroccan misfortune, the following ending was deflected,
Kolo Muani scored (79').
In the 73rd minute he was shown again.
He, whose voice comes to mind when you think of World Cup soccer or other important soccer games: "Béla Réthy, reporter" was the message on ZDF, knowing full well that it would be the last of its kind.
Réthy ended his career after this tournament, after this game on his 66th birthday.
Before the game he had wished for five or six goals.
He didn't get to see them, but even so he seemed quite satisfied: "We had many, many spectators at tournaments.
Even those who only watched on these occasions.
I tried to support everyone and take everyone with me.
I'm glad if you liked it.
And sorry to those I couldn't reach,' he said after the game.
»Dear spectators, it was a great, great honor for me.
Bye and farewell.