France well equipped to ruin Lionel Messi’s fairytale in World Cup final after ending dream Morocco run


ionel messi will take on the most ruthless football powerhouse in Europe on Sunday, with France willing to deny the perfect ending to his World Cup history.

Les Bleus killed England’s dream and have done the same to the Arab world by disbanding Morocco with a 2-0 victory in the semifinals.

Morocco had made Al Bayt Stadium, which literally means ‘the house’ in Arabic, their own, but they could not wish for their team to make history as the first African nation to reach a final.

There were 60,000 Morocco supporters whistling and whistling at their former colonial power for more than 90 minutes but, knowing they did it four years ago, France relied on their experience to reach back-to-back finals.

Unsurprisingly, Antoine Griezmann would play a crucial role in unlocking an Atlas Lions defense that had conceded only once up to this point, an own goal, in the tournament.

His run into space sucked in Jawad El-Yamiq to make a bad defensive mistake, causing chaos in the Morocco box, and Theo Hernández produced an acrobatic shot at the far post.

Both Morocco and France hit the post in a tight first half before 30 minutes of dominance by Walid Regragui’s side, a brilliant defense from centre-back duo Raphael Varane and Ibrahima Konate who needed to save the Blues.

France held out until the brilliance of Kylian Mbappe made something happen. His skill and dribbling on the edge of the box saw a deflected shot land at the feet of substitute Randal Kolo Muani to seal the game.

Champions France are now well equipped to become the first team to retain a World Cup in 60 years since Brazil accomplished the feat in 1962.

The coach Didier Deschamps has won this competition as a player and coach, already transmitting his know-how to the squad.

Nine of France’s players lifted this trophy in Russia in 2017 – this is a team that has won 15 of its last 17 qualifiers and its last four World Cup semi-finals.

For them, there is no grander narrative than simply trying to become the best international team in the world.

Of course, Kylian Mbappe is still only 23 and wants to build himself a body of work that will see him discussed alongside Messi, Diego Maradona and Pelé as one of the all-time greats.

Those conversations about his legacy will happen in those years, but Messi’s last dance is now. He has already announced that the final at Lusail Stadium will be his last World Cup game.

Without football’s biggest award to his name, it will feel like there’s a void in his trophy case after securing a whopping 11 league titles and four Champions League trophies in his 19-year career.

An experienced France side won’t mind and, with the brilliance of Mbappé, they are the biggest possible threat to Messi and Argentina’s fairy tale ending. .

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