Morocco beat Portugal, France beat England

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 group to succeed in the ultimate 4. They’re going to meet defending champions France, who outlasted England within the different quarterfinal match.

Be sure you examine in with ESPN all through the event as we convey you the most recent from Qatar. Here is what you might need missed from Saturday’s World Cup happenings, and a look forward to subsequent week’s motion.

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World Cup semifinals: Argentina-Croatia, France-Morocco

After Saturday’s matches, we’ve got 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 an eye fixed 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 succeed in the semis, final accomplished by co-hosts South Korea in 2002 (and by the USA within the inaugural 1930 version).

  • France are the primary defending champions to succeed in the semis since Brazil did so in 1998, the place they finally misplaced within the ultimate to … France.

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

  • Do not attempt to go away it late when enjoying Croatia. They be a part of Germany because the groups with essentially the most penalty-shootout wins with no loss in World Cup historical past (each 4-0 in shootouts).

Morocco’s historic run sends Ronaldo, Portugal packing

What Morocco have accomplished at this version of the World Cup is nothing in need of outstanding. Drawn in a bunch with Belgium and Croatia, and having modified their coach simply months earlier than the event, they had 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 at the moment are the primary group from Africa to succeed in the event’s semifinals. And so they’ve accomplished it the exhausting method, with wins over heavyweights Belgium, Spain and Portugal.

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



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



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 creating Three Lions historical past. As an alternative, Kane sailed the ball from the spot over French keeper Hugo Lloris’ internet. 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 report 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 aspect had the expertise and instruments to win all of it in Qatar. It is one other main event with no trophy for England. When the 2026 World Cup rolls round in 4 years’ time, it will likely 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 towards Morocco on Wednesday, however this group of French attacking stars is perhaps 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 towards England, his teammates rose to the event and are shifting ahead.



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

At present’s high reads

Luis Enrique was divisive, however Spain will not be the identical with out him
Whereas outcomes had been inconsistent, Luis Enrique was courageous in his picks and ways — and Spain all the time entertained.

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

Information and notes

  • American soccer author Grant Wahl was honored with a tribute from FIFA on the desk the place he was resulting from 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 had been left on the media seat that had been assigned to the 48-year-old journalist who died early Saturday. Wahl fell sick whereas working throughout further 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 towards Argentina for his or her actions throughout their contentious World Cup quarterfinal win towards the Netherlands. Soccer’s world governing physique cited “order and security 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 had been proven yellow playing cards throughout or after the sport.

  • Germany and Bayern Munich goalkeeper Manuel Neuer suffered a leg fracture whereas on a snowboarding 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.