PLAYER RATINGS | France 2-0 Morocco: Antoine Griezmann masterclass sends Les Bleus to final

France are through to their second straight World Cup final and will have the chance to defend their title after seeing off a brave Morocco side in a tense, hard-fought encounter.

The defending champions wasted no time in taking the lead as Théo Hernandez continued a long-running streak of French defenders scoring in World Cup finals – the Milan man with an acrobatic finish after a scramble in the box from Antoine Griezmann’s piercing run.

An intense, ruthless half would then see Les Bleus cut through the Moroccan defence on a number of occasions and carve out the best chances, even if Morocco continued to impress – in particular Azzedine Ounahi in midfield. The Atlas Lions, however, enjoyed a resurgence at the end of the half – with El Yamiq’s overhead kick hitting the post.

Walid Regragui’s men continued to dominate in the opening exchanges of the second half, with only a desperate intervention from Ibrahima Konaté stopping an open goal finish. As they’ve often done in the last four years though, France were able to soak up the pressure and strike at the right time – Kylian Mbappé finding his fellow Bondy native Randal Kolo Muani thanks to a deflection for a close range finish with ten minutes to go.

France player ratings

Hugo Lloris,  7 – A brilliant stop from the captain on an early shot from Ounahi set the tone for an imposing display from the France captain, who continued to prove his doubters wrong.

Jules Koundé, 6.

Raphaël Varane, 7

Ibrahima Konaté, 7 – Came into the starting eleven in Dayot Upamecano’s absence and did not put a foot wrong all game – some vital interceptions to keep the Moroccans at bay in a tense start to the second half, and an all-round imposing performance from a player who has continued to grow in stature as Les Bleus have progressed.

Théo Hernandez, 7 – Early acrobatics to open the scoring and a solid performance, then coming into his own defensively in the second half.

Antoine Griezmann, 9 – The art of playing four different roles at once – the Atlético Madrid man somehow looks more comfortable in midfield with each passing match. Vital for Les Bleus in defence and attack and offered a midfield coverage only matched by Morocco’s Ounahi. Arguably the tournament’s best player alongside Lionel Messi.

Aurélien Tchouaméni, 7

Youssouf Fofana, 6 – A reassuring performance after his off day against Tunisia, stepping into a World Cup semi-final and rarely looking out of place. A difficult role to take up in the absence of Adrien Rabiot.

Ousmane Dembélé, 6

Olivier Giroud, 5 – The forward unable to have much of an impact on the game, save for a couple of chances in the first half, but still some impressive work to keep the defenders busy and free up the wings. Replaced by Marcus Thuram midway through the second half.

Kylian Mbappé, 7 – Free from the shackles of Kyle Walker, the Paris Saint-Germain man was at his speedy best – there wasn’t always a way through, but his perseverance paid off in the end as he set up Randal Kolo Muani’s late goal to seal the result.

Morocco selected player ratings

Yassine Bounou, 5

Achraf Hakimi, 6

Sofyan Amrabat, 7 – Alongside his midfield parner Ounahi, the Fiorentina man has been the engine behind Morocco’s fantastic run into the last four, and was once again impressive – especially in the team’s second-half dominance as Walid Regragui added an extra man in the middle in reverting to the formation that had brought the team success so far.

Azzedine Ounahi, 8 – Unlikely to be an Angers player for much longer – another stellar all-action midfield performance for the Barcelona-linked man, who continues his unstoppable ascent. The breakout star of this World Cup did not deserve to be on the losing side.

Youssef En-Nesyri, 4 – Like his opposite number Giroud, the midfield-oriented encounter meant the Sevilla man was starved of action, really only touching the ball at kick-off – replaced with 20 minutes to Hamdallah.

Sofiane Boufal, 6

GFFN | Raphaël Jucobin

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