On Thursday night in the Al Bayt Stadium, France and Morocco will compete for a spot in the FIFA World Cup 2022 championship match.
The defending champion France, Argentina, Croatia, and the African powerhouse Morocco all advanced to the semifinals, making history by becoming the first African and Arab nation to do so in the history of the FIFA World Cup.
On Thursday night, France will play the Atlas Lions, the tournament’s giant-killers, while Argentina will meet Croatia in the first semifinal.
Morocco, a former French colony, is one of just two unbeaten teams to go to the World Cup semifinals; Croatia is the other.
In the group stage, Morocco overcame Belgium and Canada, and the 2010 winner Spain in the round of 16. It defeated Euro 2016 champion Portugal in the quarterfinals to get to the semifinals. In order to advance to the semifinal matchup with Canada, Walid Regragui’s defensively solid team has only given up one goal.
In the opening matches of its title defence, France, which won its second World Cup in Russia four years ago, defeated Australia and Denmark but fell to Tunisia 1-0. Les Blues defeated Poland with a commanding score of 3-1 in the pre-quarterfinals, and then they triumphed over England with a stunning score of 2-1 in the quarterfinals.
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Following Portugal’s victory, Morocco becomes the first African team to reach a World Cup semifinal.
Didier Deschamps acknowledges France was “fortunate” in its quarterfinal matchup with a “strong” England.
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Following is a breakdown of how France and Morocco have performed in prior encounters as the stage is set for yet another tantalising match.
Five international friendly between France and Morocco have already taken place. But they haven’t ever faced off in a World Cup. It will be their first encounter at the main event.
In 1988, France defeated Morocco 2-1 in their first encounter. The 1960s saw many unofficial games between the two teams, nevertheless.
Morocco defeated France in a penalty shootout in a friendly match in 1998. Salaheddine Bassir’s two goals gave the Atlas Lions a 2-0 lead until Laurent Blanc and Youri Djorkaeff tied the game. Morocco’s sole victory versus France came in the shootout.
In their subsequent matches in 1999 and 2000, France defeated Morocco 1-0 and 5-1, respectively. France scored goals through Thierry Henry, Sylvain Wiltord, Nicolas Anelka, Christophe Dugarry, and Djorkaeff.
In their most recent encounter, France and Morocco played to a 2-2 tie at Stade de France in Paris during a friendly match.
Tarik Sektioui gave Morocco the lead in the eighth minute. Within seven minutes, Sidney Govou found a solution. A late goal by Youssef Mokhtari caused the game to conclude in a tie after Samir Nasri gave France a 2-1 lead in the second half.
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