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A Winner & Loser from the Semifinals, part 2

France fend off Morocco, head to Final for total defense.

France v Morocco: Semi Final - FIFA World Cup 2022 Photo by Ercin Erturk/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

We’re down to the final weekend of the 2022 men’s World Cup. Although we had a lot of surprising results along the way, the two teams vying for the trophy were among the pre-tournament favorites, but first Morocco still has a chance to make one more statement in the third-place match.


Randal Kolo Muani: Randal Kolo Muani wasn’t supposed to be at the World Cup. Injuries ahead of him on the French forward depth chart meant that he got a reward for his outstanding performances with 2nd place Bundesliga side Eintracht Frankfurt. Kolo Muani, 24, joined the German side on a free transfer after a productive 2021-22 season with Ligue 1’s FC Nantes, where he had 13 goals and 7 assists in 41 all-competition appearances. Since moving to Germany he’s tallied 8 goals and 11 assists in 23 appearances in all competitions, and now he’s added a World Cup semifinal goal to his list of accomplishments. His goal, a bit of insurance for France as they overcame Morocco with a 2-0 win, was his first touch of the game and came less than a minute after entering the game. The future is bright for Kolo Muani, but even if this is the pinnacle of his career it’s quite the height to reach.


The health of Morocco’s vigorous defense: The first half of France vs. Morocco saw to players pick up injuries and ultimately have to leave the game. Centerback Romain Saïss was forced to exit in the 21st minute with a thigh injury, having started every game for Morocco in the tournament. Then at halftime Morocco manager Walid Regragui was forced into another substitution as fullback/wingback Noussair Mazraoui, who had started in all but the quarterfinal against Portugal, was forced out by a hip injury. Now Morocco will have to face Croatia in the bronze medal game missing half of their preferred back line.

Storylines to watch in the Bronze Medal Match

7:00 AM - Croatia vs. Morocco: Can Morocco overcome the injuries to their defense and make one more statement win? Can they claim one last victory over a supposedly superior European side before the World Cup is over and bring back a little bit of hardware with them? On the flip side, some of Croatia’s biggest names have a chance to put a final bow on their time at the World Cup. With a goal, Ivan Perisic would move into sole possession of the record for most World Cup goals for a Croatian player with 7. Luka Modrić seemingly exists only to bring football fans joy, so why wouldn’t he do something spectacular in what’s almost certainly his final World Cup appearance? Ultimately, I just hope everyone has fun and no one gets hurt.

Watch the game on Fox, Telemundo, or streaming on and Peacock.

You can catch replays of all games in English on or Spanish on Peacock 30 minutes after the final whistle.

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