Argentina and Lionel Messi have done it yet again. The South American powerhouse will play in the World Cup final after defeating Croatia 3-0.
It was the fifth time Argentina has played in a World Cup semifinal (defeating the USA in 1930, Belgium in 1986, Italy in 1990 and the Netherlands in 2014). And it is the sixth time it has advanced to a final. The last time Argentina won the World Cup was in 1986.
Can Morocco keep their dream alive, or will France prove too much?
The North African nation have surprised everyone after topping their group and then knocking Spain and Portugal out of the World Cup. Morocco’s coach, Walid Regragui, only joined in August and there was no pressure to excel in Qatar. Now, the World Cup dream is all that fans in the country and across the Arab world are hoping for.
As the first African nation to reach the semifinals of the World Cup, Morocco’s Cinderella story showcases their talent, fighting spirit and grit. Azzedine Ounahi is integral to the midfield creativity. Sofyan Amrabat is the enforcer, shutting down any sniff the opposition might have of attacking. Meanwhile, Achraf Hakimi and Hakim Ziyech are two superstars who can unlock the game from the wings. Given Morocco’s run, France will do well not to underestimate Regragui’s side.
Then there is also the support behind Morocco, making it essentially a “home tournament” for them. Thousands of Moroccans are traveling to Doha for the semifinal, while fans from across the Middle East and Africa root them on. Could that be the X factor to push them past the French?
France have been here before, and won, in 2018. They boast one of the best players in the world in Kylian Mbappe, a versatile No. 10 in Antoine Griezmann and their country’s all-time top scorer in Olivier Giroud. Against England, Didier Deschamps’ squad were outplayed but still pulled through, a testament to their depth.
Sure, France go into this semifinal as the favorites because of their star power and experience, but if they have learned anything from this tournament, they’ll know not to fall into the trap of complacency against so-called “underdogs.”
Source: Agencies (edited by Al-Manar English Website)