France Beats Morocco for Place in World Cup Final

After ending Morocco's impressive run, their final opponents will be Argentina
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 14, 2022 3:25 PM CST
France Will Face Argentina in World Cup Final
Morocco's Jawad El Yamiq, second right, fights for the ball with France's Raphael Varane, third right, and Randal Kolo Muani, right, during the World Cup semifinal soccer match between France and Morocco at the Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor, Qatar, Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2022.   (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)

France has beaten Morocco 2-0 to reach the World Cup final against Argentina. Theo Hernandez scored in the fifth minute and Randal Kolo Muani added a second in the 79th. The defending champion plays Lionel Messi’s Argentina on Sunday, the AP reports. Hernandez's goal was the first goal Morocco has conceded by an opposition player in the tournament. The other goal the team allowed was an own-goal against Canada in the first round. Morocco exceeded all expectations in Qatar by beating second-ranked Belgium in the group stage and then eliminating European powerhouses Spain and Portugal in the knockout phase to reach the semifinal. The Wednesday match had cultural and political connotations because Morocco was under French rule from 1912 to 1956.

France will head into Sunday's title match against Argentina looking to become the first team to retain the World Cup title since Brazil in 1962. Kylian Mbappé , who played a part in both French goals, has the chance to cement his status as soccer's new superstar when he comes up against the 35-year-old Messi, who has dominated the game with Cristiano Ronaldo for the past 15 years, the AP reports. The World Cup trophy isn’t the only thing at stake on Sunday. Messi and Mbappé are tied as the leading scorers with five goals as they chase the Golden Boot award.

Speaking before dozens of African leaders gathered in Washington, President Joe Biden joked that he knew what they were thinking when he took the stage. "Make it short, Biden, there’s a semifinal game coming up," he said. Biden thanked the leaders, noting to big cheers from the room that Morocco, which sent its prime minister to the three-day summit, was about to play as the first "African nation in the semifinals." After the president was done speaking, the big screens in the conference center switched over to the match. The president watched the match with Moroccan Prime Minister Aziz Akhannouch and other leaders. (More 2022 World Cup stories.)

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