World Cup 2022: France wins sets up a final and the Messi-Mbappe duel many craved


Host nation: Qatar Dates: 20 November-18 December Coverage: Live on BBC TV, BBC iPlayer, BBC Radio 5 Live, BBC Sounds and the BBC Sport web site and app. Day-by-day TV listingsFull coverage details

France dismantled one World Cup dream as they moved a step nearer to fulfilling their very own as the thrill trip that has been Morocco’s marketing campaign in Qatar got here to a painful conclusion at Al Bayt Stadium.

On a night time of uncooked emotion and a cacophony of noise in Al Khor, holders France ended the romantic notions of this event’s wonderful shock bundle Morocco going even additional than they already had in changing into the first African nation to achieve the semi-finals.

Morocco’s magnificent assist, who flooded into Doha of their hundreds to splash the stadium in pink, have been left tearful however proud as France lastly made class and effectivity inform, putting at both finish of a gripping encounter to win 2-0.

As Morocco’s gamers, workers and their inspirational coach Walid Regragui took a extended and totally merited ovation in entrance of these adoring followers with their desires damaged, so one other one got here tantalisingly into view for Sunday’s final at Lusail Stadium.

Namely that of France v Argentina, and Kylian Mbappe v Lionel Messi. The Paris St. Germain team-mates shall be worldwide adversaries on the sport’s largest stage.

The 23-year-old Frenchman goes for his second World Cup winner’s medal whereas the Argentine genius 12 years his senior has one final crack at successful the crown that might additional bolster his claims to be the biggest to have ever performed the sport.

Mbappe’s standing can be additional cemented with successive World Cup triumphs as France purpose to change into the first nation to retain the trophy, albeit it’s really now a totally different piece of silverware, for 60 years after Brazil gained it in Sweden in 1958 and Chile 4 years later.

He was a scorer when France beat Croatia 4-2 in Moscow in 2018 and has the energy so as to add to his tally now and in the future. Pele is the solely man with three winners’ medals. Only 21 males, together with Pele, have gained multiple. It opens up outstanding potentialities for the France ahead.

For Messi, the context is totally different.

He is at the finish of a profession by which he has gained every little thing the sport has to supply apart from that single, important hole in his honours assortment. It is the largest of all, the World Cup, and that is now or by no means after he misplaced the 2014 final to Germany in Rio.

It is Messi’s final World Cup sport and Sunday is the day that would high all of it, offering the good finish to his story with Argentina. Anything else would really feel despairing and hole for the nice sporting icon of his nation.

The World Cup final might be one for the ages and on the proof of what we’ve seen in Qatar it’s too near name. It might even come down to at least one second of genius from the two gamers almost certainly to supply it.

France have gotten the job finished in two powerful knockout video games towards England in the quarter-final and right here towards Morocco.

They have been examined in each of their other ways, England with the attacking risk they’d and Morocco with their sheer refusal to buckle in adversity bolted on to loads of ability, however they’ve come out the different aspect efficiently.

The French had loads of composure about them right here regardless of Morocco exerting spells of stress, their objectives coming after 5 minutes from Theo Hernandez and the second from substitute Randal Kolo Muani, solely 44 seconds after approaching, the third quickest objective by a substitute in World Cup historical past and his first for France.

And for coach Didier Deschamps, Sunday’s final affords up a place in historical past and the likelihood so as to add additional ornament to his gorgeous profession.

The 54-year-old, famously labelled “The Water Carrier” by France team-mate Eric Cantona for his tireless fashion and capacity to win possession for different so-called extra glamorous team-mates, captained his nation to the World Cup on house soil in 1998.

Deschamps is barely the fourth coach to steer a nation to back-to-back World Cup finals after Vittorio Pozzo with Italy in 1934 and 1938, Carlos Bilardo with Argentina in 1986 and 1990 and Franz Beckenbauer with Germany in 1986 and 1990. He can be solely the second after Pozzo to win it twice.

He has gone about his enterprise in his common understated trend regardless of shedding Ballon d’Or-winning striker Karim Benzema nearly the second France landed in Qatar, with 36-year-old Olivier Giroud moving into the breach.

Even right here, at this World Cup stress level, he misplaced Adrien Rabiot and Dayot Upamecano to sickness, the latter beautifully changed by Liverpool’s Ibrahima Konate to present Deschamps a tasty choice downside on Sunday.

And so the World Cup comes right down to this.

France v Argentina. In the eyes of many, Mbappe v Messi.

It is the World Cup final many predicted and the private duel between two greats many craved.

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