FEATURE: The road to the final - The Moroccan fortress faces France's lethal weapons

Published on: 14 December 2022

Two stars shine brightly in the World Cup in Qatar, one of whom wears the number 10 shirt in the French national team, leads the scorers' race, and chases all records.

As for the other, he does not wear a shirt, does not sign millions of contracts, or fan autographs, but he has made his way among the best four in the world.

Kylian Mbappe, who is France's most important offensive weapon in 2022, challenges the Moroccan defense, which is one of the highlights of the tournament and achieves historic achievements match after match.

The meeting of the national teams of France and Morocco tomorrow, Wednesday, in the semi-finals of the World Cup, includes a frank confrontation between the best defense and the strongest attack in Qatar 2022, the defense that has never penetrated - except on a single occasion of friendly fire - in front of a fierce offensive battalion consisting of Mbappe, Osman Dembele, Olivier Giroud, and behind them Antoine Griezmann. .

With this fiery attack, France is trying to decipher the iron defense that the Belgians and Croats stood helpless in the group stage, followed by the Spaniards and the Portuguese, in the final and quarter-finals, respectively.

The French national team knows that it is on the verge of a difficult confrontation inside and outside the green rectangle, as it will meet a team that is distinguished for its steadfastness and resistance, as well as stands that are not friendly to it, especially since Morocco knew how to benefit from popular support during the first World Cup to be held on Arab soil.

And (Atlas Lions) has already turned into the people's team that faces the football elite, and has become the first African team to go this far in the World Cup, as well as the first Arab team to reach the semi-finals.

"We are a model for developing countries," said Moroccan coach Walid Regragui, to wear the revolutionary mantle and ably prove that there is no longer a score in football, but he repeatedly asserts, "We must put Africa at the top of football."

To achieve this, it is not at all enough for Regragui to have a team that despises possession of the ball and is holed up in the back waiting to launch counter-attacks and trusts Youssef Al-Nusiri, the team's top scorer in the World Cup, and Yassine Bounou, the honest goalkeeper on the net.

This is how Regragui worked to create a family, among the players on the field, as well as with the diaspora; Players who were born, raised and trained in Europe like Achraf Hakimi give their all for a country they've never lived in but where their roots run deep.

They are all fighting for the same cause, a country that has become a symbol of a continent, race and Arab people that shines more than ever in Qatar.

The achievement has already happened, it is real, and it can become even greater. Stripping the world champion of his title at the height of his powers would be the pinnacle of glory and miracle.

But (the roosters) did not yet show signs of fatigue. Didier Deschamps gave the 2018 title-winning team fresh additions and youth in a mix that has worked admirably so far.

France is not betting on its style of play per se, but on its effectiveness. It is not the strongest defensively nor the most dangerous offensively, but it has reached a far degree of balance in what Deschamps calls the term "collective force".

Kylian Mbappe sets his sights on chasing Pele, but without depriving his team of his talent and ability to lead the French national team towards the final match and perhaps the title, and this will also be in favor of Deschamps, who will catch up with the most victorious coaches in the World Cup.

The expected formation of the two teams:

France: Lloris, Conde, Varane, Upamecano, Theo Hernandez, Choameni, Rabiot, Griezmann, Dembele, Giroud, Mbappe.

Morocco: Bono, Hakimi, Al-Yamiq, Sayes or Dari, Atiyatallah, Amrabat, Ziyech, Onahi, Amlah, Boufal, Al-Nusairi.