France became the first team to qualify for back-to-back FIFA World Cup finals since Brazil in 1998 after they claimed a 2-0 defeat over Morocco in the second semi-final. Les Bleus scored in each half to dispatch the Atlas Lions and reach Sunday’s final.
Having made history by becoming the first African side to reach the FIFA World Cup semifinals, Morocco sought to go one step further when they faced world champions France. The Atlas Lions were looking to add another European scalp to those of Belgium, Spain and Portugal previously collected.
The Atlas Lions’ progress in the competition has been built on their impenetrable defence, but they conceded the opener inside five minutes of action against France. A shot from Antoine Griezmann was blocked and the ball bobbled up in the box, allowing Theo Hernandez to execute an acrobatic effort to open the scoring for Les Bleus.
Morocco responded well to going behind and nearly found a leveller in the first half, with defender Jawad El Yamiq seeing his overhead kick tipped onto the woodwork by France captain Hugo Lloris as the half wound down.
The Atlas Lions continued to ask questions of their illustrious opponents, but the defensive pairing of Ibrahima Konate and Raphael Varane stood firm in the face of pressure.
Having survived Morocco’s barrage, France landed a killer blow in the 79th minute through substitute Randal Kolo Muani, 44 seconds after his introduction. A mesmerising run from Kylian Mbappe saw him dance past four defenders in Morocco’s penalty area before he sent the ball into the path of the substitute to stab home from close range with his first touch.
France held on to claim a hard-fought win over the impressive Moroccans. Les Bleus will now face Argentina in Sunday’s final as they look to become the first country to retain the World Cup since 1962. Morocco, on the other hand, can hold their heads up high when they face Croatia in the third-place match.