France and North African history makers Morocco book semi-final spots at FIFA World Cup
Defending champions France stayed on course to retain their Fifa World Cup title after booking a semi-final meeting with North African history makers Morocco.
The free flowing and entertaining French team booked a spot in the semi-final following a spirited 2-1 quarterfinal victory over 1966 winners England at the al Bayt Stadium .
England who named unchanged line dating back to the match up against Senegal, were caught flat footed in the early exchanges by the speed of Kylian Mbpabe, Ousmane Dembele and Antonie Griezman.
On a break away Griezmann, provided the perfect pass for an on -rushing Aurelien Tchouameni’s whose low thunderous strike ripped past Jordan Pickford in the English goal.
With England pressing for the equalizer, it came in the second half ……on minute 54 , when Tchouameni brought down England striker Boukayo Saka in the box.
Captain Harry Kane then stepped up to blast his effort past the French goalkeeper Hugo Lloris and equaled Wayne Rooney’s England record of 53 goals from the spot.
France regained the lead 12 minutes from time when Olivier Giroud headed in…… Griezmann’s perfect cross into the box.
But England had a swift chance to draw level when Theo Hernandez fouled substitute Mason Mount in the box the referee then awarded England a second penalty.
Kane had the opportunity to make history but uncharacteristically blazed his penalty over the top and England’s world cup dream was over as France looked forward to a semi-final against Morocco.
Meanwhile the Atlas Lions of Morocco today created more history after knocking over back Portugal one nil in a sensational quarter-final battle at the Al Thumama Stadium , this to become the first African team to reach the semi-final of the Fifa World Cup.
With Morocco pressing the advantage they got the breakthrough when the Sevilla striker Youssef En-Nesyri, who rose high to head home the go ahead goal in minute 42.
That problem was not solved despite the fact that Portugal had 73 percent ball possession and three clear cut chances in the dying moments, Morocco marched on to next Wednesday’s semi-final against the French.
…while two time winners Argentina with Lionel Messi are down to face Croatia in next Tuesday’s semi-final .