World Cup 2022 LIVE: Lionel Messi’s Argentina prepare for showdown against Kylian Mbappe’s France


World Cup: France battle previous Morocco to arrange thrilling ultimate against Argentina

Lionel Messi has the burden of a nation on his shoulders as he prepares to guide his Argentina aspect out within the ultimate of the 2022 World Cup against defending champions France on Sunday.

Messi is seeking to go one higher than eight years in the past when he missed out on soccer’s biggest prize by the hands of Germany; Argentina can be filled with confidence after a convincing 3-0 victory against Croatia within the semi-finals.

France, in the meantime, noticed off Morocco’s valiant problem within the semi-finals to achieve a second consecutive World Cup ultimate, with Kylian Mbappe seeking to information his nation to a different historic triumph as they bid to grow to be the primary group in 60 years to win back-to-back World Cups.

Elsewhere, Morocco are eyeing a medal as they tackle Croatia tomorrow within the third-fourth play-off in Qatar.

Follow all the most recent information and response from Qatar plus build-up to Sunday’s World Cup ultimate between France and Argentina in our stay weblog beneath:


Saiss out of third place play-off

Morocco’s captain Romain Saiss will play no half within the third place play-off Saturday as a result of hamstring damage his picked up against Portugal.

Saiss then began the semi-final versus France however needed to be substituted after simply 20 minutes as a result of damage and he received’t be risked in a comparatively meaningless sport.

“We lost our captain, Romain Saiss, during the game [agains France].” said Morocco boss, Walid Regragui, “We took a risk with him, but it was a risk worth taking. We wanted to go out to battle with him leading our battalion.

“He is injured and we’ve another injured gamers too, and we’ll examine how they’re as we speak.

“We really, really pushed our players to their limits, but they still want to go out tomorrow and play again. But, we won’t be taking any risks with any of our players tomorrow.

“Romain Saiss is out. However, I’m assured, and I belief our group, and I do know we’ll have the ability to give it our all tomorrow.”

Michael Jones16 December 2022 09:47


Morocco went out of the World Cup but went out their way

Of all the semi-finals in all the World Cups in all of history, they walk into this one. In the entirety of their 122-year history, France had never met Morocco in a competitive fixture. They couldn’t for the first 43 of those years, of course, because there was no such thing as the Royal Moroccan Football Federation, which was only established at the end of the French Protectorate in 1955. Pre-independence meetings were all friendlies, as have been all the others since.

Much has been made in this part of the world of how fate has paired Morocco with several former colonisers on their journey through this tournament, and how that may have pushed them further. There is perhaps a truth in that. Yet regardless of the identity of their opponents, it feels impossible for this squad that hails variously from Montreal to Madrid, Bourg-de-Peage to Paris, Dronten to Huizen, as well as Marrakesh, Fez and Casablanca, to play with anything other than intensity, energy and a singular drive of ambition.

All that was on display again at the Al Bayt. You could see it in Jawad El Yamiq stretching to connect with the ball on an overhead kick, and in doing so almost scoring one of the greatest goals of any semi-final. You could see it in Sofyan Amrabat’s fabulously violent challenge on Kylian Mbappé at the start of the second half, that restored the tone of a no less ferocious first. You could see that too at the final whistle, when all but a handful of Morocco’s players fell on their backs, hands clasped over their heads, lamenting the end of the most remarkable story at this World Cup.

Michael Jones16 December 2022 09:42


Luka Modric denied final masterpiece but departs World Cup stage with his greatness secured

His final contribution brought the ultimate indignity. The byword for precision was smacked in the face by his own shot. Admittedly, it ricocheted back off Alexis Mac Allister and there was little Luka Modric could do about it. The winner of the Golden Ball in the last World Cup nevertheless ended up with the ball in his face in this.

And that, bar a third-place play-off, was Modric’s final involvement on this stage. His number went up seconds after; in effect, the white flag had been raised with it. When the captain came off, it was all over for Croatia. They were 3-0 down. He had wrested back control of one World Cup semi-final, his every pass asserting control with a trademark blend of elegance and intelligence, but that was four years ago against England. There was no repeat. Modric can feel timeless, but his time is up in World Cups.

They all knew it, the Argentina fans who joined in the ovation when Lovro Majer replaced him, his former Real Madrid teammate Angel Di Maria, who sought him out after the final whistle, the now retired Sergio Aguero who came to offer his condolences in the tunnel. Argentina had been graceless winners against the Netherlands in the quarter-final; when it came to Modric, however, they recognised greatness. Perhaps it was the parallel with Lionel Messi, with the other old-timer in his final World Cup; flip the result and others would have commiserated with him. One way or another, sadness was a certainty.

Michael Jones16 December 2022 09:37


Luka Modric’s last hurrah?

Luka Modric is set to play his final World Cup match on Saturday as Croatia to defeat Morocco and add a third place World Cup finish to their runners-up medals from 2018.

At 37 Modric is unlikely to feature in another World Cup meaning his last hurrah will be against Walid Regragui’s men.

“Croatia performed within the final ultimate and have good gamers, akin to Luka Modric,” said Regragui. “He has one thing about him, however we’ll keep targeted on our gamers. I’ve lots of good gamers and if my group stays focussed simply on Modric, that can be an enormous mistake.

“It is important we play our football, Moroccan football with a positive attitude and you give everything. After this game I hope we have no regrets. That is important for our team.”

(AFP through Getty Images)

Michael Jones16 December 2022 09:32


Regragui on going through Croatia once more

More from Morocco head coach Walid Regragui who has been giving a press convention this morning forward of tomorrow’s play-off.

He was requested to share what he realized from the primary sport between his aspect and Croatia through the group levels and replied: “We knew that Croatia were going to be one of the best teams in the competition.

“After the primary sport we famous that our efficiency was superb and we had lots of people saying that Croatia had been coming to the top of a cycle and we may sweep the rug from beneath their toes.

“We know that Croatia got a lot of stick because they weren’t able to beat Morocco, who were meant to be the underdog. Now we’ve both reached the semi-finals.

“I imagine tomorrow can be very totally different to the primary sport. There was a lots of respect and preparation and hesitation through the first sport. But going into tomorrow, either side have had much more sport time.

“I hope that we’re going to be able to put on a good show for the end of the tournament. There will be good tactics, and both teams will be in it to win it. I think it will be a more open game from both sides.”

Michael Jones16 December 2022 09:27


Morocco evolve however can’t advance as unforgettable World Cup dream ends

Impenetrable for so lengthy, Morocco had been first pressured into after which thrived as a extra nuanced model of themselves earlier than bowing out with pleasure by the hands of defending champions France.

Invigorated by Walid Regragui and embracing such a resolute fashion with out the ball, their sport plan was torn to items inside 5 minutes of this absorbing World Cup 2022 semi-final.

Les Bleus ruthlessly utilized a pin to what was a burgeoning environment stuffed with whistles swirling round a hostile Al Bayt Stadium filled with Moroccan help.

The world champions fortunately teased the Atlas Lions, gently nudging what had been an defiant layer in entrance of Yassine Bounou’s purpose. First by way of Ibrahima Konate, in for the unwell Dayot Upamecano, after which Raphael Varane, who each noticed and probed early on as Regragui’s males retreated into that acquainted shell.

And Morocco had been quickly solely deflated after a flash of blue darted into the half house; Jawad El Yamiq was pressured to chew, leaving Antoine Griezmann spinning into the house left behind.

Michael Jones16 December 2022 09:22


‘We need to clear our heads’

The third place play-off is an unnecessary game featuring two sides who have both suffered crushing disappointment in failing to reach the World Cup final.

It creates a foggy and unfocused mindset in which to play but being the third best team in the world sounds a lot better than being the fourth as crazy as that statement in itself sounds.

That means there is still a little something to play for when Morocco and Croatia meet on Saturday and Walid Regragui has been stressing that to his players saying: 

“We need to clear our heads a little bit. When you play a semi-final, and it was our first at a World Cup, the emotions are running high. It was quite difficult coming out of that game.

“However, my players still have the appetite. They want to finish well and they know they’ve nonetheless received one sport with every part to play for. They have understood what’s at stake.

“Obviously finishing third is not the same as the finishing fourth and it would be great to take a medal home with us. We want to ensure that we finish well and my players have digested the defeat by France.

“They’ve received their heads across the reality they’re a part of the most effective groups on the earth. We must clear our heads and go into this sport with our heads held excessive.”

Michael Jones16 December 2022 09:17


Regragui speaks ahead of third place play-off

Morocco have been the standout team of the tournament. They topped their group before eliminating Spain and Portugal from the knockout rounds on their way to becoming the first African nation to ever reach the semi-finals.

Head coach Walid Regragui has been speaking ahead of his country’s third-place play-off against Croatia on Saturday and says his players are excited for one last outing despite being disappointed on missing out on a spot in the final.

“I suppose it the worst sport that we’ve to play,” said Regragui. “But we’re nonetheless excited to play it regardless of the frustration.

“We obviously would have liked to be in the actual final but there is third place we play for. We want to finish on the podium.

“It goes to be fairly tough with fatigue, however there are additionally psychological hurdles that we have to overcome. We know that Croatia may even need to end third. We performed them in our first sport so it will likely be a pleasant finisher. It can be no stroll within the park.”

Michael Jones16 December 2022 09:12


World Cup 2022: Latest news and updates from Qatar

Good Morning and welcome to The Independent’s coverage of all things World Cup. The 2022 edition of the tournament is heading towards its conclusion with just two matches left to play.

Morocco take on Croatia in the third place play-off on Saturday before Argentina and France go head-to-head in the grand finale on Sunday afternoon.

The defending champions ended Morocco’s valiant run through the tournament to set up the possibility of back-to-back World Cup wins whilst Lionel Messi will have a shot at redemption having lost out in the final of the 2014 edition with Argentina.

France are bidding to become the first team in 60 years to win consecutive World Cups whilst star forward Kylian Mbappe has reached his second World Cup final in as many appearances at the age of just 22.

Argentina reached the final having defeated Croatia on Tuesday evening following another inspired performance from Messi. The 35-year-old has confirmed that Sunday’s final will be his last World Cup match. Will he bow out of the international stage on the highest of highs having finally won football’s greatest prize?

Michael Jones16 December 2022 09:07


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