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Homechevron_rightSportschevron_rightFootballchevron_rightMorocco concedes 2-0...

Morocco concedes 2-0 defeat to reigning champions France

Morocco concedes 2-0 defeat to reigning champions France

Doha: By defeating Morocco 2-0 in their semifinal match, the defending champions France put an end to Morocco's World Cup hopes and advanced to face Argentina and Lionel Messi on Sunday.

Hernandez's goal at Al Bayt Stadium in the first five minutes gave France hope that they may defeat their opponents easily despite the hostile home crowd.

But Morocco, the first African and Arab team to ever make it to the World Cup's last four, persevered despite losing several important players to injury, only for Kolo Muani, a substitute, to score a late second to give Les Bleus the victory.

France will face Argentina in the World Cup final. This is the fourth time in seven years that the team has reached the World Cup finals, and they will try to become the first team to retain the trophy since Brazil 60 years ago when they face Argentina at Lusail Stadium on Sunday.

This game was not about Kylian Mbappe's individual brilliance, despite the fact that it will be promoted as a matchup between Messi and his Paris Saint-Germain teammate.

The Moroccan team, who will now play Croatia on Saturday for third place, was defeated by France thanks to a team effort.

Morocco advanced to the semifinals by defeating Belgium in the group round and then defeating Spain and Portugal.

The question was whether they could replicate the feat against the holders, and coach Walid Regragui's plans were thrown into disarray due to a string of injuries.

After missing the quarter-finals, Nayef Aguerd was summoned only to withdraw at the last minute, with Achraf Dari filling in, AFP reported.

Then, after only 21 minutes, fellow defender and captain Romain Saiss had to depart his teammates, and Morocco had fallen behind.

France was welcomed with thunderous whistles from the enormous Moroccan crowd when in control, but they silenced the fans with an early opener, Hernandez scored with an acrobatic volley at the back post after Mbappe's attempt was deflected.

It was also only Morocco's second goal surrendered at this World Cup, and the first scored by an opponent.

If the great Azzedine Ounahi forced a fine save from Hugo Lloris soon after, the evening might swiftly turn into a rude reality check for them.

Olivier Giroud broke away when Saiss let a simple forward ball bounce over his head, but his shot struck the post.

When Saiss came off, Regragui dropped his back three to match France's 4-3-3.

Morocco completed the half strongly and came close to tying the game when defender Jawad El Yamiq's overhead kick was pushed onto the post by Lloris from a corner.

The Atlas Lions then lost Bayern Munich left-back Noussair Mazraoui at halftime, but France was not free from fitness concerns themselves.

Adrien Rabiot and Dayot Upamecano, both starters in their quarter-final triumph over England, were out due to sickness.

As Mbappe stepped inside, coach Didier Deschamps replaced Giroud with Marcus Thuram, the son of Lilian.

Kolo Muani then replaced Ousmane Dembele and scored with his first touch with 11 minutes remaining, tapping in after another Mbappe attempt was deflected.

The Moroccan players knew it was game over, as did French President Emmanuel Macron, who stood in the crowd to clap.

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