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Argentina already in, Morocco plans yet another 'upset' to reach FIFA WC 2022 Final

Argentina Tuesday night defeated Croatia in a sizzling 3-0 win to reach FIFA World Cup 2022 Final. Read More

Wednesday December 14, 2022 10:37 AM, Armstrong Vaz, IANS

Argentina already in, Morocco plans yet another 'upset' to reach FIFA WC 2022 Final

Doha: Morocco having stunned Belgium, Spain and Portugal along the way to the semi-finals of the FIFA World Cup are planning and plotting for another 'upset' as they take on defending champions France on Wednesday night.

"We will show great desire and try to pull off an upset," said Morocco coach Walid Regragui at the pre-match conference on Tuesday.

"We aren't satisfied with the semi-final and being the first African team to do that. We want to go further. Why not reach the final of the World Cup?"

Morocco have already made history as the first African team to reach the last four, and the Atlas Lions "crazy" dream of a place in the World Cup final will be put to test against Dider Deschamps team.


"The further you get, the more difficult the games are. We are playing the world champions with world-class players and a very good coach, possibly the best in the world," Regragui said.

"We are hungry. I don't know if it will be enough but we want Africa to be on top of the world. I know we are not favourites but we are confident."

A few injuries have been a cause of concern in the Moroccan camp in a few key matches but they have fought collectively to overcome that to come this far at the Bayt Stadium.

"As everyone knows, we have a number of injuries but we have an excellent medical staff and they are working very hard and coming in with good news every day. No one is out for now, but no one is definitely in either. We will put out the best side possible."

French 'Troika'

Cometh the hour, cometh the man, the Atletico Madrid player Antoine Griezmann who has indifferent form at the club level has come to his own at FIFA World Cup for France, thanks to the way coach Didier Deschamps is handling him and the tactical roes he assigned to him.

France vs Morocco

Griezmann's form, along that of While Kylian Mbappe and Olivier Giroud, will be a key element when the defending champions take on tournament surprise semi-finalists Morocco on Wednesday night as they aim to become the first European nation to reach successive World Cup finals since Italy in 1938.

"Yes, he's had a great tournament, but we'll need him to be just as good [on Wednesday]," Deschamps said in response to a question at Tuesday's pre-match press conference.

"He's the type of player who can really change a team because he's so hard-working and so technically gifted. He's playing a slightly different role in this World Cup, but it suits him well," he added.

"He's been an elite player for 10 years now. Of course, he's gone through challenging times like any player, but he's mentally very strong. Like all world-class players, he's at his best in the most important games," he said about the former Barcelona player.

Griezmann has so far played a key role in Deschamps scheme of things creating 17 chances, the most by anyone at the tournament, including two assists against England in the quarter-finals which took his team two matches away from retraining the title they won four years back.

Another player who has impressed at the World Cup for The Bleus happens to be defender Dayot Upamecano of Bayern Munich. Although a regular at the German giants, from the age of 18, he could not find a place in the senior team until he turned 22.

"Dayot did have an issue with his mental strength, which I think prevented him from being the top player we knew he could become," Deschamps said.

"He's managed to overcome those challenges, he feels more relaxed, more confident. I do think that's what helped him reach his best level and show the qualities he has. He's very fit, good in tackling, good at passing. Sometimes he tries to overdo things a bit with his passing, is too ambitious, but he listens to advice, he's open-minded, relaxed, happy.

"Some players can be introverted in nature like him, and so maybe they need more time to develop and flourish. But I'm quite convinced when a player has potential that it will end up flourishing even if sometimes I must recognize there are other players in the squad who can also be very strong and have their role to play.

"So yes, he's been through challenging times, but he's now relaxed, more confident and showing he's a top player."

Argentina who defeated Croatia 3-0 in the first World Cup Semi Final played at Lusail Stadium in Doha Tuesday night.

FIFA World Cup 2nd Semi Final

Morocco vs. France

Al Bayt Stadium, Doha

Time: 10:00 pm (Doha time), 12:30 am IST, 02:00 pm EST, 11:00 PT


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