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Monday, June 5, 2023

Morocco on the verge of glory

Story by Mthokozisi Dube

African giants Morocco stand in the way of defending champions France as the two sides lock horns in a David versus Goliath semi-final encounter at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar this Wednesday.

With one of the finalists now confirmed after Argentina‘s three-nil demolition of 2018 finalists Croatia, the focus shifts to the other semi-final where surprise package and African giants Morocco face another uphill task against defending champions France.

The Atlas Lions’ fairy-tale run has seen them becoming the first African nation to reach the semi-finals of the biggest football showpiece in the World.

But the sky is the limit as Morocco aim to add another feather to their cap in the match against France.

The Atlas Lions finished top of Group F with seven points.

The group featured world number two-ranked side Belgium, and 2018 finalists Croatia before claiming the scalps of  Spain and Portugal in the knockout stages.

However, that is all water under the bridge with another tough assignment against defending champions France who have been on an equally impressive run.

The two nations separated by the Mediterranean Sea are also breaking new ground as they meet for the first time in a competitive match.

On another note France are eager to make history as they are just one match away from defending their title, a feat only achieved by Pele’s Brazil in 1962.

There is no doubt that Didier Deschamps France are firm favourites but it will not be a walk in the park as they face a side that has only conceded once, an own goal against Canada in their extraordinary run to the semi-finals.

In yesterday’s semi-final clash, between Argentina and Croatia, seven-time Ballon D’or winner, Lionel Messi proved what he is made of after leading the South American side to the final courtesy of a three-nil victory over Croatia.

Messi converted from the spot kick before creating for Manchester City forward Julia Alvarez who scored a brace to dampen Croatia’s hopes.

Messi’s strike took his tally at the 2022 FIFA World Cup to five, joint with France’s Kylian Mbappe.

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