Hugo Lloris backs Spurs teammate Harry Kane to bounce back from World Cup penalty heartbreak
Defending champions France are bidding to become the first back-to-back World Cup winners since Brazil in 1958 and 1962, while Morocco are the first African semi-finalists in the history of the tournament.
Kylian Mbappe, Olivier Giroud and Antoine Griezmann are among France’s most dangerous players, all having been involved in the 2018 triumph in Russia, but Adrien Rabiot and Dayot Upamecano miss the game through illness. Meanwhile, Morocco count Hakim Ziyech and Achraf Hakimi among their star performers.
Argentina now await in the final, having seen off 2018 runners-up Croatia 3-0 in the first semi-final on Tuesday.
Follow all the action with our live blog below:
Why isn’t Didier Deschamps seen as a coaching genius?
Didier Deschamps was discussing the secret of his success. “There is no secret,” he said, providing the kind of answer to explain why someone who, in a few days’ time, could rank as the joint most successful manager in the history of the World Cup is rarely seen as any kind of coaching genius.
An understated figure has assessed a formidable CV while remaining relatively unheralded. Only two men have managed World Cup-winning sides, captained World Cup-winning teams, European Championship-winning and Champions League-winning teams: Franz Beckenbauer and Deschamps.
The Frenchman was one of the first to win the European Cup with two clubs as a player; as a coach, he has taken Monaco to the final, an achievement that has stood the test of time, and France to the Euro 2016 final. He has won the Nations League, which may or may not acquire more meaning in time. Now he could join Vittorio Pozzo, Italy’s coach in 1934 and 1938, as the only two-time World Cup-winning manager.
Is Deschamps an all-time great or a man who was in the right place at the right time? Both, perhaps. One of his closest allies, his captain for a decade, Hugo Lloris offered some insight.
“He has of course tremendous experience as a player and a coach at international level,” the goalkeeper said. “He is calm and collected and transmits that to the players. He is an inspiration to the players. We have a great relationship between players and coach and it is not a coincidence he has been a coach for such a long time.”
Michael Jones14 December 2022 18:47
Can Deschamps win the World Cup again?
France boss, Didier Deschamps, has won 13 of his 17 World Cup as a head coach and is just three short of the record set by Helmut Schon with West Germany.
He has already won the World Cup as both a player and a manager but is on course to add a third world triumph to his CV.
Michael Jones14 December 2022 18:44
France won’t ‘fall into a trap’ against Morocco, Raphael Varane insists
The defending champions are just two victories away from becoming the first side to retain the trophy since Brazil in 1962 after reaching the semi-finals with a hard-fought win over England on Saturday.
Standing between them and a final against Argentina or Croatia are Qatar 2022 surprise package Morocco on Wednesday.
Les Bleus are strong favourites to get through but Varane is not taking anything for granted against a Morocco side who have conceded just one goal on their unexpected run to the last four.
Michael Jones14 December 2022 18:41
Can Morocco keep France out?
Morocco have kept four clean sheets at this tournament. The last two sides to record five shutouts at a single World Cup – Spain in 2010 and Italy in 2006 – both lifted the trophy.
Michael Jones14 December 2022 18:38
World Cup security guard dies after fall at Lusail Stadium, say organisers
A security guard has died after a serious fall at a Qatar World Cup stadium, tournament organisers have said.
Kibue’s employer notified the Kenyan’s sister, Ann Wanjiru, that the 24-year-old had fallen from the eighth floor of the stadium. Wanjiru then told CNN: “We don’t have the money to get justice for him, but we want to know what happened.”
Michael Jones14 December 2022 18:35
From team mates to enemies
The venue for tonight’s semi-final is the bedouin tent inspired Al Bayt Stadium and it will see a battle between PSG team mates Kylian Mbappe and Achraf Hakimi.
Mbappe plays on the left wing for France with Hakimi the Moroccan right-back so these good friends will be seeing plenty of each other this evening.
The winner of this contest could be crucial to deciding which nation makes it to the World Cup final on Sunday.
Michael Jones14 December 2022 18:32
Will France reach the final?
France were eliminated from each of their first three semi-finals (in 1958, 1982 and 1986) but have won their subsequent three matches at this stage (in 1998, 2006 and 2018).
Can they progress to their fourth World Cup final and second in a row tonight?
Michael Jones14 December 2022 18:29
No special plan for Mbappe
Walid Regragui told reporters yesterday that he does not have a special system in mind to limit the impact of France’s main man Kylian Mbappe.
Instead the Moroccan boss says he will leave it down to Mbappe’s club-mate at PSG, Achraf Hakimi, to handle the winger this evening.
“He knows Mbappe better than me,” Regragui said about Hakimi. “He trains with him every day. I’m sure he’s better placed than me to know Kylian.
“I’m not going to set up any tactical plan to counter Mbappe. Unfortunately, France has a lot of other good players, Griezmann between the lines, Dembele is also the perfect complement to Mbappe on the other wing. Hakimi is one of the best in the world at his position too.
“They are both champions, both world class players. We shouldn’t be focussing on Kylian, but what we can do to cause problems for France. I have no doubt that Hakimi will be on top form to get the better of his friend.”
Michael Jones14 December 2022 18:27
France vs Morocco
France are yet to keep a clean sheet at this tournament and have only done so in just one of 11 matches since June. Morocco are set up to defend but if they can get up the pitch they could trouble the French defence this evening.
Michael Jones14 December 2022 18:25
France vs Morocco line-ups
The two rumoured changes from Didier Deschamps turned out to be true as Ibrahima Konate comes in to replace Dayot Upamecano in the back line and Youssef Fofana starts over Adrien Rabiot.
France XI: Lloris; Koundé, Varane, Konaté, Théo Hernandez; Tchouaméni, Fofana; Dembélé, Griezmann, Mbappé; Giroud.
Morocco also make two changes whilst also swapping up the formation. It looks as though they’re playing with a back five as Nayef Aguerd and Noussair Mazraoui return with Yahia Attiyat Allah and Selim Amallah dropping out.
Morocco XI: Bono; Hakimi, El Yamiq, Aguerd, Saiss, Mazraoui; Amrabat, Ounahi; Ziyech, En Nesyri, Boufal.
Michael Jones14 December 2022 18:23