France advanced to a second-straight World Cup Final on Wednesday by defeating Morocco 2-0, dashing the hopes of the first Arab or African team to make the semifinals and setting up a highly anticipated final match against Argentina on Sunday.
France took the lead in the fifth minute with a goal from defender Theo Hernandez, and Randal Kolo Muani followed up with another goal in the 79th minute.
France is seeking rare back-to-back World Cup titles, which has not happened since Brazil repeated as champion in 1958 and 1962.
Morocco defeated Portugal on Saturday in the quarterfinals, marking the first time either an African or Arab team advanced to the World Cup semifinals.
France faces Argentina in the final, as superstar Lionel Messi pushes for his first World Cup win in what may be the final match of his national team career.
Qatar’s controversial World Cup is entering its final stretch ahead of Sunday’s championship match. Perhaps the biggest story line so far has been Messi’s run to the final, putting his Argentina squad on the cusp of a title in what will likely be the 35-year-old’s last chance to win a World Cup. Messi’s five goals make him the joint leading scorer of the tournament, alongside France’s Kylian Mbappé, who at the age of 23 has now scored nine goals in his two career World Cup appearances—the most ever for a player so young. Qatar has faced numerous allegations of human rights abuses in using migrant workers to construct stadiums for the World Cup, and officials have also been accused of bribing FIFA—soccer’s world governing body—to secure hosting rights. Qatari officials have denied the claims.
The U.S. exited the World Cup earlier this month at the round of 16 stage, following a dramatic win over Iran that advanced the team from the group stage. The U.S. will jointly host the World Cup alongside Canada and Mexico in 2026.
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