France beats England in a tough game, while Morocco makes World Cup history.

Soccer news Dec 11, 2022

After Morocco made history by becoming the first African side to advance to the World Cup semifinals, defending champion France defeated England 2-1 on Saturday after Harry Kane missed a late penalty.

After a thrilling match at Al Bayt Stadium, where Olivier Giroud's header ultimately decided the match, France will meet the unexpected north Africans in the semifinals on Wednesday.

After Aurelien Tchouameni scored for France after 17 minutes, England was awarded a penalty kick by Kane, and the score remained tied until the break.

While England dominated play for the most of the encounter, it was Giroud who provided the game-winning goal for France, scoring his 53rd of the season on a diving header in the 78th minute.

As England pushed for an equalizer, a late break came when Theo Hernandez recklessly knocked over Mason Mount and the referee awarded a penalty kick after consulting the video assistant referee.

Kane had a golden opportunity to force overtime, but he blazed his effort far over the crossbar.

As the final whistle blew, he was the first England player to drop to his knees, head in his hands.

France's head coach, Didier Deschamps, stated the team only managed to keep the lead because of "heart and guts," after giving their opponents two penalties.

It was a great victory since the English squad is really strong.

We came back, it's great to be back in the semifinals of the World Cup, and you should really enjoy it since it only happens once every four years.

According to England's head coach Gareth Southgate, his team gave all they had and more.

They've held their own against a strong opponent. "The game was determined by the smallest of margins, with factors coming from both ends," Southgate said.

Experience the Moroccan spirit

Prior to the competition, only the most ardent Morocco supporter would have gambled on their team reaching the World Cup quarterfinals.

On Saturday, a first-half header by Youssef En-Nesyri helped them overcome Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal 1-0 to go higher in the tournament than any African team has before.

Morocco, which entered the competition as the No. 22 team in the world, is the fourth African team after Cameroon (1990), Senegal (2002), and Ghana (2010) to advance to the quarterfinals.

Ronaldo, who entered the game in the second half as a replacement, was unable to salvage the situation and, after the final whistle, went alone down the tunnel while wiping away tears, without a word to his teammates or the winning Moroccans.

After making his 196th international appearance at the Al Thumama Stadium in Doha, it seems probable that Ronaldo, 37, will have played his last World Cup match. Ronaldo, along with Lionel Messi, has dominated the world of football for the past two decades.

Walid Regragui, the Moroccan team's coach, praised the team's resiliency and determination after they greatly exceeded expectations despite being severely hampered by injuries.

We're using every resource we have, yet we still have men out with injuries. Before the game, I urged my team to do everything we could to make Africa's history books. Regragui said, "I'm very, very thrilled."

Thousands of Moroccans congregated in Casablanca to celebrate the historic achievement of their national team. Qualified!"

And since Morocco is the first Arab team to reach a World Cup semifinal, there were also celebrations throughout the Arab world and in Europe.

A 34-year-old lady named Ilham El Idrissi told AFP in Casablanca, "My heart will stop, what a team, what tenacity, what an accomplishment."

Lionel Messi and Argentina will take against the runners-up from 2018. Croatia, who eliminated pre-tournament favorites Brazil on Friday, in the other semifinal.

After a 1-1 draw, the five-time winners were eliminated in spectacular circumstances while the Netherlands were eliminated by Argentina in a shootout.

Brazilian great Pele asked Neymar to "keep inspiring us" on Saturday after Neymar revealed he was considering retirement from international football following Brazil's humiliating defeat.

"I'm 82 years old, and I hope that in some little way I've encouraged you to reach this point... Pele said on Instagram, "your legacy is far from done."

Friday's play was the moment when Neymar tied Pele for the all-time Brazil record of 77 goals scored on the international stage.

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