Moroccan unbelievable journey in the FIFA World Cup 2022 has been stopped on Wednesday night by the reigning champions France.
The Atlas Lions embraced the role of massive underdogs once again, but things felt different this time in comparison to the other two elimination games against Portugal and Spain. This team has defied the odds since day one and group stage duels against Croatia and Belgium, conceding just one goal in the entire tournament before the semi-finals.
The deadlock was broken just five minutes into the match by left-back Theo Hernandez, which was the first time Morocco was behind in the entire tournament. The efforts to find an equalizer were commendable, especially in the second half as Ziyech and Boufal stormed past French defenders on a couple of occasions. The final 2-0 score was set in the 79th minute by a substitute Randal Kolo Muani.
The Last Duel Between France and Argentina Ended with Seven Goals
France is one step away from becoming the first team to retain the World Cup title since 1962. The final match against Argentina is scheduled for Sunday afternoon at Lusail Stadium. At the moment of publishing this article, the odds on Les Bleus and La Albicelesti are at identical 9/5.
The last head-to-head meeting between these two opponents was in the World Cup 2018 Round of 16, being the best match in the entire tournament. A seven-goals thriller was eventually won by France 4-3! Everyone expects to see a narrow encounter and a fierce duel between Paris SG’s two stars Leo Messi and Kylian Mbappe. These two players are also the main candidates to win the Golden Boot, being tied at five goals each on the leaderboards. Messi is a warm favorite to claim the prize at 9/10, while Mbappe is at 21/20.
Potential Bronze Medal Would Be Huge for Morocco
Morocco has already broken the record by reaching the semi-finals, being the biggest surprise package in the entire tournament. They became the first African and Arab teams to reach this stage, causing massive upsets in the elimination phase. There is still a chance to make the journey even more successful. The Atlas Lions will play for the bronze medal on Saturday afternoon against Croatia.
Once again, the odds are not going in their favor, being at 21/10 to win in regular time. Morocco faced Croatia in the first round of group stages. That clash ended with a goalless draw where Blazers dominated the midfield and held possession. Mental strength is going to be one of the most important factors to determine who wins on Saturday.