Theo Giroud World Cup Semifinal

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AL KHOR, Qatar — Morocco’s Cinderella run at the World Cup came to an end on Wednesday night, but not before pushing the reigning champions to the brink, sending their sizable and vocal fan support home with a performance to be proud of.

Theo Hernandez gave France a dream start and an early goal, and the French defense made it stand up, fending off wave after wave of Moroccan attacks on the way to a 2-0 victory in their World Cup semifinal at Al Bayt Stadium.

The victory propels Les Bleus into a World Cup final showdown with Lionel Messi and Argentina on Sunday at Lusail Stadium in a rematch of the 2018 World Cup Round of 16 meeting won by the French, 4-3.

Hernandez opened the scoring in the fifth minute when he volleyed home from close range to put the underdogs under early pressure.

Morocco kept up the pressure throughout the rest of the first half and into the second half, but never could break through. The Africans came closest to scoring just before halftime, when an ambitious bicycle kick by defender Jawad El-Jamiq hit the post.
Morocco battled through several injuries to its defense to keep the score close, and kept the French under pressure well into the second half. The reigning champions finally found an insurance goal in the 79th minute when Kylian Mbappe dribbled through the Morocco defense and took a shot that deflected right into the path of a wide-open Randal Kolo-Muani, who scored just seconds after entering the match.

France will now have a chance to become just the third team to ever win back-to-back World Cup titles, joining Italy (1934-1938) and Brazil (1958-1962).

Standing in the French team’s way is an Argentina side that has looked like a team of destiny, led by an inspired Lionel Messi and Albiceleste team that routed Croatia, 3-0, in Tuesday’s World Cup semifinal.

Both France and Argentina will be searching for their third World Cup title, with Argentina looking for its first title since 1986.

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