France now look to retain World Cup title against Messi's Argentina

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By Euronews
France's Kylian Mbappe hugs Morocco's Achraf Hakimi at the end of the World Cup semi-final in Qatar.
France's Kylian Mbappe hugs Morocco's Achraf Hakimi at the end of the World Cup semi-final in Qatar.   -   Copyright  Manu Fernandez/Copyright 2022 The AP. All rights reserved

Morocco coach Walid Regragui says the only regret he has about the team’s loss to France in the semi-finals is conceding so early in the match.

France defender Theo Hernandez scored in the fifth minute to give the defending champions a 1-0 lead. But Regragui praised his team for a better performance in the second half.

“We improved,” Regragui said. 

“We created a lot of opportunities. Unfortunately, we weren’t clinical in the final third.”

France eventually got a second goal when Randal Kolo Muani scored in the 79th minute to make it 2-0.

But the Morocco coach said that he was “proud of the team” and that “we did cause them (France) problems.”

In front of the country’s president, Emmanuel Macron, France beat Africa’s first-ever semi-finalist with Kylian Mbappé playing a part in goals by Hernandez and Muani.

Mbappé became a global phenomenon by leading France to the World Cup title in Russia in 2018 and has a chance to cement his status as the sport’s new superstar when he comes up against the 35-year-old Messi, who has dominated the game with Cristiano Ronaldo for the past 15 years.

For some, that makes it the dream final, with France looking to become the first team to retain the title since Brazil in 1962 and Argentina on a mission to win soccer’s ultimate prize in what is likely to be Messi's last World Cup.

"We need all our strength, all our energy to face a very competitive team with one of the legends in the sport, with Messi,” France goalkeeper Hugo Lloris said.