World Cup 2022: France win over Morocco sets up Messi-Mbappe duel many craved


France dismantled one World Cup dream as they moved a step closer to fulfilling their own as the thrill ride that has been Morocco’s campaign in Qatar came to a painful conclusion at Al Bayt Stadium. On a night of raw emotion and a cacophony of noise in Al Khor, holders France ended the romantic notions Morocco, this tournament’s glorious surprise package, going even further than they already had in becoming the first African country to reach the semi-finals.

Morocco’s magnificent support, who flooded into Doha in their thousands to splash the stadium in red, were left tearful but proud as France finally made class and efficiency tell, striking at either end of a gripping encounter to win 2-0. As Morocco’s players, staff and their inspirational coach Walid Regragui took a prolonged and thoroughly merited ovation in front of those adoring fans with their dreams broken, so others came tantalisingly into view for Sunday’s final at Lusail Stadium.

Namely, France against Argentina – and Kylian Mbappe v Lionel Messi. The Paris St Germain team-mates will be international adversaries on the sport’s biggest stage. The 23-year-old Frenchman is going for his second World Cup winner’s medal, while the Argentine genius – 12 years his senior – has one last crack at winning the crown that would bolster his claims to be the greatest to have ever played the game.


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