Morocco’s hopes of qualifying for the 2022 World Cup were dashed by a 2-0 defeat at the hands of defending champion France on Wednesday. Qatar’s Al Bayt Stadium, where the tournament’s finals will be played, hosted the game.
France took an early lead through Theo Hernández, who scored with a spectacular acrobatic finish after just five minutes. And substitute Randal Kolo Muani added some gloss to the score line late on, tapping home from close range after good work down the right by Kylian Mbappé.
Randal Kolo Muani doubled France’s lead with a deft touch late on, consigning Morocco to their fourth consecutive defeat in the semifinal stage of the FIFA World Cup and preventing them from becoming Africa’s first-ever finalist.
France reached the final of the World Cup for the second consecutive time after defeating Morocco in a thrilling match. This was also their fourth appearance in a World Cup final, and they are looking to win back-to-back titles for the first time.
“Here we go again. It’s just an amazing feeling,” France captain Hugo Lloris said afterward, per FIFA. “We suffered a lot, especially in the second half. We played too deep and they showed they’re not a team only focused on defending. They know how to attack. They deserve a lot of credit for this World Cup.
“Now the last step, the most difficult.” (Morse, 2022)
France has made it to the World Cup final for the first time in two decades, making history. France faces Lionel Messi and Argentina in their quest for a repeat World Cup victory.
Breaking of Hearts:
With all the Moroccan fans in attendance, it was easy to forget that the semifinal was being played in Al Khor, not Rabat or Casablanca.
Every time a Moroccan player touched the ball, they were greeted with rousing cheers from the crowd, whereas their French colleagues were met with jeers and whistles.
France wasn’t thrown off by the loud Moroccan fans at Al Bayt Stadium, as Didier Deschamps’ squad quickly took charge of the game.
Antoine Griezmann, who was outstanding in France’s victory against England in the quarterfinals, took advantage of a mistake made by Morocco’s defender Jawad El Yamiq to get inside the Morocco penalty area and then crossed the ball to Kylian Mbappé.
The forward for Paris Saint-Germain was wheeling and twisting inside the box when two of his goal attempts were stopped by desperate defenders. However, the ball spun to Hernández, who completed the game with an acrobatic finish to give France an early lead.
Unbelievably, it was the first goal that Morocco had given up to an opposing player during the tournament, and it was also the first time that the squad had been behind at any point during Qatar 2022.
From the restart, Morocco made no effort to slow down in its pursuit of an equalizer. Despite Morocco’s best efforts, the Atlas Lions could not create a balance due to poor touch or a last-ditch tackle from a French defender.
Despite Morocco’s best efforts, they could not score until substitute Kolo Muani secured France’s spot in the final on Sunday with a tap-in of a deflected shot just seconds after entering the game.
According to Opta, Eintracht Frankfurt striker Kolo Muani scored just 44 seconds after entering the game as a replacement, making his goal the third-fastest goal for a substitute in FIFA World Cup history.
The goal stunned the crowd at the Al Bayt Stadium, where Morocco was playing, but the team kept hoping for a miracle.
It was a tragic ending for Morocco’s hopes and dreams after they won the hearts of the footballing globe. Morocco may have lost to the eventual champions, France, but the team can take pride in more than just its on-field performance.