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FIFA World Cup | France overcome Morocco to reach final

France will play Argentina in the 2022 FIFA World Cup final after defeating Morocco 2-0 at Al Bayt Stadium on Thursday.

Theo Hernandez opened the scoring after five minutes for Les Bleus, before substitute Randal Kolo Muani swept home from close range in the 79th minute.

Morocco, who defeated Belgium, Spain and Portugal on a run which saw them become the first African nation to reach a World Cup semi-final, created plenty of chances against the world champions.

Morocco manager Walid Regragui switched to a back five to face the French, but lost centre half Nayef Aguerd to injury in the warmup in Qatar.

The Atlas Lions' success has been built on a watertight defence, but France broke the deadlock as early as the fifth minute.

Kyliann Mbappe's shot from Antione Griezmann's cutback was blocked, with left back Hernandez arriving at the back post to meet the rebound with a clever acrobatic finish.

Hernandez' goal was the first that an opposition player managed against Morocco in the tournament.

Morocco's Azzedine Ounahi drew a decent save from France captain Hugo Lloris, before Olivier Giroud struck the post at the other end for Les Bleus.

Morocco lost defender Roman Saiss to injury midway through the half, and it was another defender who almost drew them level on the stroke of half time.

Jawad El Yamiq produced a stunning bicycle kick from a corner in the 44th minute, which a sprawling Lloris touched on to the post.

The African nation dominated the opening period of the second half, with Ibrahima Konate producing a number of vital interceptions and tackles for France.

Kolo Muani put the game beyond doubt minutes after coming on, finding himself in the right place at the right time to apply a close-range finish to Mbappe's deflected shot.

France saw out the game to set up a final against Argentina, with Les Bleus aiming to become the first team to retain the World Cup trophy since Brazil in 1962.

Morocco will take on Croatia in the third-place play-off on Saturday, the day before the final.


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