The semifinals are set! Morocco see off Ronaldo, Portugal; Kane heartbreak as England fall to France

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The semifinals are set! Morocco see off Ronaldo, Portugal; Kane heartbreak as England fall to France
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The semifinals are set! Morocco see off Ronaldo, Portugal; Kane heartbreak as England fall to France
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The World Cup semifinals are set! With Croatia and Argentina clinching their spots on Friday, historical past was made on Saturday with Morocco beating Portugal to be the primary African crew to achieve the ultimate 4. They’re going to meet defending champions France, who outlasted England within the different quarterfinal match.

Make sure to examine in with ESPN all through the match as we deliver you the newest from Qatar. This is what you may need missed from Saturday’s World Cup happenings, and a stay up for subsequent week’s motion.

World Cup news, features, previews and more
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World Cup semifinals: Argentina-Croatia, France-Morocco

After Saturday’s matches, we have now two full days off earlier than the primary semifinal recreation (Argentina-Croatia) kicks off on Tuesday, with the second tilt (France-Morocco) on Wednesday. There will be loads of previews and breakdowns of the 2 video games with a watch towards the ultimate on Dec. 18, however a few notes to begin off:

  • It is the seventh semifinal look for France, adopted by Argentina (5), Croatia (3) and Morocco (1).

  • Morocco are the primary African nation to advance to the World Cup semifinals, and simply the third nation exterior of Europe and South America to achieve the semis, final achieved by co-hosts South Korea in 2002 (and by the United States within the inaugural 1930 version).

  • France are the primary defending champions to achieve the semis since Brazil did so in 1998, the place they ultimately misplaced within the remaining to … France.

  • Along with his objective in opposition to the Netherlands, Lionel Messi tied fellow legend Gabriel Batistuta for many World Cup targets by an Argentine (10).

  • Do not attempt to depart it late when taking part in Croatia. They be a part of Germany because the groups with essentially the most penalty-shootout wins with out a loss in World Cup historical past (each 4-0 in shootouts).


Morocco’s historic run sends Ronaldo, Portugal packing

What Morocco have achieved at this version of the World Cup is nothing wanting exceptional. Drawn in a bunch with Belgium and Croatia, and having modified their coach simply months earlier than the match, they have been merely hoping for a run to the spherical of 16.

However the Atlas Lions have surpassed that, after which some. By beating Portugal 1-0 in what was Cristiano Ronaldo‘s doubtless final World Cup, Morocco are actually the primary crew from Africa to achieve the match’s semifinals. And so they’ve achieved it the arduous method, with wins over heavyweights Belgium, Spain and Portugal.

Taking part in a defensive, countering model that has left these European sides befuddled, Morocco’s Cinderella run has embodied a preventing spirit. Which is becoming as Morocco coach Walid Regragui referred to as his crew “the Rocky Balboa of this World Cup.” And now, they will get defending champions France in subsequent Wednesday’s semifinal — there may be loads of shared historical past between the 2 nations, so anticipate one other memorable bout.

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1:43

Gabby Amado praises Cristiano Ronaldo for the influence he has had on Portuguese soccer after his World Cup dream ended by the hands of Morocco.

As for Ronaldo, he was again named to the bench for Portugal, got here on early within the second half to equal FIFA’s official file for the most-capped worldwide males’s participant with 196, however even he could not discover one last great World Cup moment. If that is the final we see of one among historical past’s nice gamers on this stage, then it was a very subdued way to bow out.


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1:05

Steve McManaman praises England’s efficiency regardless of shedding 2-1 to France on the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

France bid England adieu as Kane misses key penalty

With six minutes left in regulation and an opportunity to maintain England‘s World Cup hopes alive, star ahead Harry Kane — one the world’s greatest penalty takers — was additionally on the verge of constructing Three Lions historical past. As a substitute, Kane sailed the ball from the spot over French keeper Hugo Lloris‘ web. France held on and booked their semifinals place with a 2-1 win.

Kane had already scored one penalty earlier within the match, equalling Wayne Rooney’s all-time England goal-scoring file within the course of, however when stepping up once more to face his Tottenham Hotspur teammate Lloris, he uncharacteristically blazed his effort over the crossbar. It was solely the fourth time he had missed for England from 21 makes an attempt.

Bowing out to the title holders is nothing to be ashamed of, however this England facet had the expertise and instruments to win all of it in Qatar. It is one other main match with out a trophy for England. When the 2026 World Cup rolls round in 4 years’ time, it is going to be 60 years since that 1966 triumph.

As for France, they would be the favorites of the ultimate 4. They’re going to be on alert in opposition to Morocco on Wednesday, however this group of French attacking stars may be what lastly breaks down the Atlas Lions’ defensive block. Aurelien Tchouameni‘s highly effective strike within the seventeenth minute gave France the lead, however Olivier Giroud scored what proved to be a decisive header within the 78th minute — served on a platter by Antoine Griezmann. Now France’s all-time chief in assists with 27, Griezmann has reinvented himself in Qatar as a makeshift midfielder in coach Didier Deschamps’ squad.

Kylian Mbappe could not add to his tally of 5 targets, however he stays within the result in win the Golden Boot. Even in a quiet night in opposition to England, his teammates rose to the occasion and are transferring ahead.

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1:13

Rob Dawson debates whether or not Gareth Southgate will stay accountable for England after their quarterfinal loss.


Immediately’s prime reads

Luis Enrique was divisive, but Spain won’t be the same without him
Whereas outcomes have been inconsistent, Luis Enrique was courageous in his picks and ways — and Spain at all times entertained.

Netherlands vs. Argentina World Cup quarterfinal saw record 18 yellow cards
Lionel Messi was amongst a World Cup-record 17 gamers or coaches who have been proven yellow playing cards throughout or after the sport.


Information and notes

  • American soccer writer Grant Wahl was honored with a tribute from FIFA on the desk the place he was because of work Saturday on the World Cup quarterfinal match between France and England. A posy of white lilies and a framed {photograph} of Wahl taken in Qatar have been left on the media seat that had been assigned to the 48-year-old journalist who died early Saturday. Wahl fell unwell whereas working throughout additional time of the Argentina-Netherlands recreation Friday at Lusail Stadium. He was handled by medical workers within the media tribune and later taken by ambulance to the hospital.

  • FIFA opened a disciplinary case against Argentina for his or her actions throughout their contentious World Cup quarterfinal win in opposition to the Netherlands. Soccer’s world governing physique cited “order and safety at matches” in its disciplinary code for charging the Argentine FA. Lionel Messi was amongst a World Cup-record 17 gamers or teaching workers members who have been proven yellow playing cards throughout or after the sport.

  • Germany and Bayern Munich goalkeeper Manuel Neuer suffered a leg fracture while on a skiing tour, ruling him out for the remainder of the season. Neuer, 36, featured for Germany on the World Cup in Qatar, however the four-time winners suffered an embarrassing early exit within the group stage.



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