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Morocco, France Semifinal Clash Set


French players react after defeating England 2-1 in a quarterfinal game in the 2022 FIFA World Cup at Al-Bayt Stadium on December 10, 2022.

Defending World Cup champions France and Morocco are set to clash in the World Cup semifinals, after France defeated England 2-1 on Saturday.

Goals by Oliver Giroud and Aurelien Tchouameni gave France the win over England.

Four years ago, Giroud did not manage a shot on target in the entire 2018 tournament as France won the title but in Qatar, he now has four goals.

Les Bleus midfielder Tchouameni scored for France in first half, but Three Lions’ Harry Kane equalized from the spot nine minutes into the second half.

France went back in front when AC Milan-based striker Giroud headed home with 11 minutes left.

Kane then blazed his second penalty of the game over the bar as England's wait to win a first major international trophy since the 1966 World Cup will continue.

England coach Gareth Southgate said his team played really well against the defending champions.

"I just said to the players I don't think they could have given any more," Southgate said.

"They've played really well against a top team. It's fine margins and things at both ends that have decided the game," he added.

France are now one win away from becoming the first back-to-back finalists since Brazil in 2002 and two from becoming the third team to retain the trophy after Brazil in 1962 and Italy in 1938.

France's Olivier Giroud celebrates scoring their second goal with Raphael Varane at Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor, Qatar on December 10, 2022.
France's Olivier Giroud celebrates scoring their second goal with Raphael Varane at Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor, Qatar on December 10, 2022.

"It's fabulous, it was a big game," said France coach Didier Deschamps in a press conference after the match. "We played a superb England team who are strong technically and physically.”

France will face Morocco on December 14, who earlier on Saturday defeated Portugal 1-0.

Morocco became the first African nation to reach the semifinals at the World Cup.

On the pending match-up with Morocco, Deschamps said the French-side would prepare thoroughly.

“Morocco deserve praise. Maybe they were not expected to be here (in the semis), but they conceded only one goal and seeing them here is not a surprise at all," Deschamps said.

This report contains information from Reuters and Agence France-Presse

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