Defending champions France will take on giant-killers Morocco at Al Bayt Stadium at midnight (PKT) in the second semi-final of the Qatar World Cup to determine the challengers to Argentina. 

France’s road to World Cup semifinal:

France suffered early injury blows to Cristopher Nkunku and Karim Benzema before the tournament even began to dent their hopes of a repeat but managed to beat Australia in their opening game.

A narrow win over Denmark earned them a spot in the round of 16 before they finished their group campaign with a loss to Tunisia. 

France eased past Poland in their first knockout game before eliminating England to reach the semifinal.

Morocco’s road to the semifinal:

Morocco came to the World Cup with very little expected of the African nation but quickly showed they meant business by holding 2018 finalists Croatia to a draw. 

They stunned dark horses Belgium in the next game before beating Canada to seal progress into the knockout rounds.

Walid Regragui’s men then turned the competition upside down by beating Spain in the round of 16 and eliminating Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal in the quarterfinals to set a date with France.

Key matchups in France vs Morocco semi-final:

Morocco has only conceded one goal at the tournament thus far, that to an own goal. But their watertight defence will be tested mightily by Kylian Mbappe and co.

Achraf Hakimi will have the responsibility of dealing with his club teammate in what could decide the outcome of the game.

Yassine Bounou, Morocco’s keeper, will also have to bring his A-game against the dangerous Olivier Giroud.

On the other end of the pitch, Hakim Ziyech and Sofiane Boufal will again have to shoulder most of the attacking duties with Youssef En-Nesyri a constant threat as well.

Insights:

  • France has never lost to Morocco before.
  • Morocco will become the first African side to play a FIFA World Cup final with the win.
  • France will play its 7th World Cup semifinal having won the previous three in a row.
  • Morocco has kept 4 clean sheets in five games, the last two sides (Spain and Italy) who recorded five clean sheets went on to win the trophy.