2022 World Cup: the dilemma of Franco-Moroccans

“Excited, that’s for sure, but I also have a little feeling of unease! », exclaims Hicham immediately. This Franco-Moroccan, football fan, has his heart split in two. If he is delighted with the unprecedented opposition in official competition between Morocco and France, Wednesday, December 14, in the semi-finals of the World Cup in Qatar, the latter hesitates as to his prognosis. “I don’t know which winner to choose. In any case, I will be happy, in any case, I will be a little sad. »

Such a poster was “unimaginable” for Yassine El Yattioui, also Franco-Moroccan. “Few dual nationals know the anthems of both countries by heart. This is my case and this moment will necessarily be a special moment”, he slips moved.

Little Thumb’s Love

For this doctoral student in political science, the wish for victory is clearer: “Of course I have a favourite: Morocco. I support them without denigrating the Blues, who have always made me dream. “You have to understand that, in Morocco, the fervor is even greater than during the 1998 World Cup when the Blues were nevertheless playing at home, he details. In my country of origin, everyone breathes football, it is the second religion of the country, even if it is undoubtedly blasphemous to say that! »

For the researcher, the preference of many Franco-Moroccans for the Atlas Lions, the first African nation to climb to this stage of the competition, is explained above all by a historical reason. “Morocco in the final, it may never happen again, while France would go to the final for the fourth time in less than twenty-five years… they have to leave their place to others!” »

“The choice of Morocco is also explained by the relationship we have with the national teamadds Mounir, another binational supporter. In France, it is in our character to like to hit the Blues. In Morocco, there is a kind of unshakable pride around the selection even though the results have not always followed. »

For the Atlas Lions, the world already seems successful. “We were promised hell in the group of deathrecalls Mounir. And now we eliminate Spain and then Portugal, it marks history forever. “Geopolitically speaking, it’s extraordinary, adds Yassine El Yattioui. There is an Africanism and an Arabism that have been created around the Moroccan team because it is somewhere a selection from the Third World that has made it to the semi-finals. »

Outbursts and popular festival

Nothing seems to be able to spoil the excitement of supporters. Not even the words of Jordan Bardella, president of the National Rally, according to which many binationals were more inhabited by a feeling of revenge against France than by a sporting spirit. “The prism of the RN does not seem to make the difference between countries like Algeria, Tunisia or Morocco, when they do not have the same history, analysis Yassine El Yattioui. Moroccans have no spirit of revenge against France at all. »“Morocco and France are friendly countries, we must not politicize everything”abounds Mounir.

The remarks of the far right maintain the idea that excesses could again take place on the sidelines of the match. “You have to be realistic, in any case, it will be a mess, laughs Hicham. There are always morons, but those who will be disappointed with the result on Wednesday will also be in the streets and in the bars on Sunday (December 18) to support the team that will advance to the final. »

” TO Lyon, where I was for the quarter-final, I saw CRS dancing with French supporters and Moroccan supporters who had qualified on the same daytestifies for his part Yassine El Yattioui. I want to see the same images on Wednesday! »



World Cup 2022: on the Champs-Élysées, a popular celebration between French and Moroccans

79e minute of play at the Al-Bayt Stadium in Qatar, 9:30 p.m. a few minutes passed in Paris. French centre-forward Randal Kolo Muani buries Morocco’s hopes of qualifying for the final, scoring the second goal for the France team. Still very alone on the Champs-Élysées, police and CRS trigger the sirens of their vehicle as a celebration. This year again, the Blues will go to the final to seek a third star against Lionel Messi’s Argentina.

As soon as the final whistle sounded, thousands of supporters braved the cold to descend on the Avenue des Champs-Élysées in a largely good-natured atmosphere. The first smoke bombs ignite. A tide of tricolor, Moroccan but also Algerian flags rises towards the Arc de Triomphe. Some greet on their way the police stationed along the department stores to avoid damage to windows and public furniture. Earlier in the day, traders and restaurateurs had prepared for the event, hoisting palisades to protect their storefronts from possible damage.

“I never thought I would say that about Morocco”

Amid horns, outpourings of joy and other fireworks, Yunnes, 21, from Fez in Morocco, shares this moment of popular jubilation with his band of French friends. “Two finals in four years, we’re going to get used to it, guys, watch out”, exclaims, euphorically, one of them.

Without resentment, the starred red flag of his native country on his shoulders, Yunnes says his pride in the course achieved in this competition by the Atlas Lions. “Tonight, we showed that we know how to do more than defend. And then we will forever remain the first African team to reach the semi-finals, it’s not nothing anyway! » An older man, flanked by an Algerian flag, falls into his arms: “Frankly, I would never have thought of saying that about Morocco but it’s beautiful what you have done, for the Maghreb, for the Arab countries, for Africa! »

After midnight, the clamours continue on the ritual “We are in the final, we are in the final! » Other French supporters continue to sing The Marseillaise loudly. And who cares tomorrow, tonight is the party for this mixed couple who planned to stay in telework Thursday. Étienne is French, Kenza is Moroccan, but this evening Madame has painted her cheeks with tricolor colors. It is gentleman who raises the flag of the country of origin of his wife. “In any case, we knew that it was love that would win tonight, the love of football! », they joke. Both have planned to return to the Champs-Élysées in the event of the French team’s coronation against the Argentines, Sunday, December 18.

167 arrests in the Paris area

In total, twenty-five thousand people gathered on the avenue, according to police figures. At the end of the evening, the joy was somewhat overshadowed by scattered overflows and slight clashes. The forces of order massively deployed on the crowded axis and around responded to jets of projectiles by charges and tear gas. These incidents gave rise to 167 arrests in the Paris area, including 145 in intramural Paris, according to the latest report communicated by the police headquarters on Thursday morning. Saturday, December 10, at the end of Morocco’s qualification against Portugal, 20,000 people had already crowded the Champs-Élysées and 108 arrests had been made.

In the viewfinder of the Ministry of the Interior, this sporting meeting had been placed under maximum security: 2,200 civil servants and soldiers were mobilized in the capital to avoid any slippage. The police system also made it possible to prevent the arrival of potential spoilsports. According to a police source contacted by AFP, a group of 40 people close to the ultra-right, who were preparing to join the Champs-Élysées armed with prohibited weapons “with a view to committing violence”was thus arrested during a check in the 17th arrondissement.



2022 World Cup: view of Argentina, France “great rival” for the final

After their victory against Morocco (2-0), the Blues will find Lionel Messi’s Albiceleste in the final of the FIFA World Cup in Qatar on Sunday, December 18. The 2018 world champions have been noticed by the Argentine press, identified as strong opponents for the dispute to come.

The Nationthe most read daily newspaper in the country, title on the ” challenge “ who awaits Argentina: “Take back the crown from France, defending champion. » « The selection led by Didier Deschamps is not afraid of anything, neither the whistles of thousands of Moroccans throughout the match, nor the successive losses of players like N’Golo Kanté, Paul Pogba, Karim Benzema, Kimpembe and Lucas Hernandez”. reports the daily.

Several heavyweights of the France team had indeed been declared forfeited a few weeks before the start of the competition. The newspaper further recalls that the two teams are vying for their third star, with Argentina having won the title in 1978 and 1986 and France in 1998 and 2018.

Another major daily in the country, the Clarinsalute “skill” of the France team, thanks to which the Blues once again managed to reach the final. Argentinian players, after a day off with the family, bring back the title in One, “will begin to prepare the team and the clash with the French giant”. France, “last hurdle” before the coronation in the columns of the regional newspaper The Gacetaand “great rival” for The VozWhere Los Andes.

Mbappé-Messi duel

Several press headlines highlight the duel that will be played on Sunday between Kylian Mbappé and Lionel Messi. For The Gacetaduring the confrontation “The World Cup will not only be at stake, but Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappé will also compete to define which of the two will be the best player of the tournament”. Both forwards have scored five goals each since the start of the competition.

The regional daily Los Andes sees in the final the opportunity for Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappé to argue “the title of MVP and top scorer of the tournament”. The sports daily OleMbappé jersey in One, title on the battle between the two players “for the cup and the crown”.



World Cup 2022: Moroccans sad but proud, after the defeat of the Atlas Lions

“You can’t even imagine how proud we are. » Yassine went out to celebrate on the Place des Nations-Unies, in the heart of Casablanca, despite the defeat of the Atlas Lions against France 2 to 0, a few minutes earlier, Wednesday, December 14, in the semi-final of the FIFA World Cup in Qatar. “The team has had a historic journey. My mother, for example, has nothing to do with football. She has become their biggest supporter and she came with me to see the match tonight! I could not believe my eyes ! »continues Yassine.

Lions made history

Wednesday evening, after the meeting, faces were marked by sadness mixed with pride. Some still left to honk their horns, flag in hand. Others came out to sing and dance. Even if the atmosphere had nothing to do with that of the victories against Spain in the round of 16 and then Portugal in the quarter. A human tide had poured into the streets of the country and the Moroccans had burst into immense joy.

His spectacular series of victories led the Moroccan team to the semi-finals against the French, the reigning world champions. The Lions thus made history by becoming the first African, Arab team to reach this level. And it is all of Africa and the Arab world that supported them fervently.

Football, almost a religion

A few hours before the match, the country was feverish. In Morocco, where football is almost a religion, everyone has lived to the rhythm of the meetings of the Lions. Some came home early from work. Others have reserved their seats in cafes. At the start of the meeting at 8 p.m., the streets emptied, and the whole kingdom stopped breathing.

The Moroccan team impressed once again, standing up to Mbappé’s Blues, despite the injury of their captain Romain Saïss, who left prematurely. Achraf Hakimi and Hakim Ziyech’s teammates shook the French defense but failed to put the ball in the back of the net. The second French goal by Kolo Muani, in the 79th minute, came as a crushing blow for the Moroccans massed in cafes and in front of their television.

During the last minutes of the meeting, the national television presenter became the spokesperson for an entire people: “You have had a wonderful journey. Thank you ! »he launched, his voice trembling with emotion.

“We will get there next time inshallah! »

If, at the final whistle, some contest the strategy put in place this time by coach Walid Regragui, the latter was heartily applauded at each appearance on the screen. In a few weeks, the Franco-Moroccan coach has become a real star in the country. “For me, France was stronger”believes Hicham just after the meeting, who nevertheless judges “that she was well helped by the referee…”. For Mustafa, on the other hand, “the two teams were at the same level, but France had more luck”.

Morocco still has to play the small final for third place on Saturday. He will face Croatia. “I’m so happy that they reached the semi-final. But it was hard to watch them lose. I cried about it”launches Imane, 18, wrapped in a large Moroccan flag. “Throughout this competition, I was proud to be Moroccan,” she continues. We began to hope to win the cup! We will get there next time inshallah! »



“This World Cup in Qatar was an opportunity to reconnect with the tradition of committed football”

Football is a sport with stars. If they are sometimes found on the jerseys, they are most often in the eyes of the supporters, who always have legendary goals, unexpected last-minute actions, happy memories or unbearable refereeing errors to relive with. passion. Football is a sport on a human level, of transmission and values, which has so much to tell us about ourselves and our societies and whose history is marked by times when the players in this sport who gathers have been able to live up to the political times, by assuming to convey committed messages to the stadiums.

I confess, these are my favorite stars, which the elders in our stadiums or in front of the TV at the local PMU have told us about. But when we are one day in our turn old, what will we have to say as great moments of committed football? Surely not episodes of this Mondial!

A World on a mass grave

Because we must remember once again this macabre truth: the organization of the World Cup in Qatar caused many deaths among slave workers. It is a documented fact which has legitimately raised indignation, in the same way as the human rights violations in a gazomonarchy trying to restore its image with this event, and in which the supporters, however so creative, are repressed stadiums if they arrive with committed messages.

We could have expected that this sport will revive its political role in 2022. Alas, from the French Football Federation to the President of the Republic, unanimity seems to reign around the invitation not to mix the field and politics, an injunction that the players of our national team follow assiduously.

Political hypocrisy

Today, we are told, football and politics should be separated. But then in this case why do the politicians rush into the stadiums? The same Emmanuel Macron who said a few days ago that“Do not politicize sport” did he not thus use Mbappé for his image during his passage on the channel of videographers McFly and Carlito?

Ultimate hypocrisy? In the clubs, the educators – and that’s good! – are invited by the FFF to make their young soccer players aware of the rejection of homophobia in sport, while the same institution invites our national team not to speak too much about state discrimination in Qatar. And the official silence is great for the slaves who died on the building sites!

If this World Cup was an opportunity for certain selections to express political opinions, with the gagged mouth photography of the Germans or the silence of the Iranians during their national anthem, at a time when theocracy is murdering its youth, we have to to see that the stadiums are less political than before and that the majority of the players are very shy… The opportunity to reconnect with the tradition of committed football was nevertheless historic.

When footballers signed up

There was indeed a time, not so long ago, when stadiums were important places of popular expression. How not to think, for example, of the immense Socrates – always with his fist raised to celebrate his goals! – and his teammates of the Corinthian Democracy, who had made football a tool of opposition to the Brazilian military dictatorship in the 1980s? How not to think of Carlos Caszely, who had refused to shake the bloody hand of Pinochet, when the latter had received the Chilean national team in his presidential palace while using the stadiums to park his thousands of opponents there? The USSR had also refused to send its national team to Chile in 1973, preferring to miss qualifying on the green carpet rather than sully the memory of the overthrown socialist Salvador Allende.

Beyond the single fight for human rights, football is also a place where social struggles are played out in our societies, as when Robbie Fowler celebrated his goal in the C1 quarter-finals with a jersey in support of the striking dockers from Liverpool, a gesture for which he had to pay a fine, or with the songs of Algerian supporters who punctuated the Hirak. Today, the key figure in committed football seems to be Megan Rapinoe, world champion with her team from the United States, who has attacked her federation to ensure that female players are paid as well as their male counterparts and who continues her fight for equal pay outside sport, around the slogan “Equal play, equal pay”.

Football will not heal all our fractures, far from it, but when players dare to say ‘no’ to the powerful, whatever the cost, they can contribute to bringing dignity and visibility if they accept to be involved. There are still a few days left of this World Cup with many deaths. Let’s hope for a jump from the players. Otherwise, for us nostalgic for committed popular football, only this cry will remain: “Socrates, come back! They have gone mad! »



World Cup 2022: the Blues overcome Morocco and will challenge Argentina in the final

How complicated it was. The French team, reigning world champion, put an end to the Moroccan dream after a very close match, winning 2 goals to 0, Wednesday, December 14th. A timid victory in response to that, more convincing, of Argentina against Croatia, the day before (3 goals to 0). The two nations will meet on Sunday December 18 in the World Cup final in Qatar, to dream of a third star.

To succeed in a world, the custom is to say that a defender of the team must score at least once during the competition. The tireless Théo Hernandez understood this well by putting the French team on the right track from the 5e minute, with a very pretty and acrobatic recovery, after a cross from Antoine Griezmann and work in the area from Kylian Mbappé.

A saving post

A blow on the head from the outset for the Moroccan players and for the public won over to his cause. Copiously whistled as soon as they entered the lawn of the al-Bayt stadium, the Blues did not disassemble. If the Atlas Lions tried to react immediately, Hugo Lloris had a firm hand on a powerful attempt from Azzedine Ounahi (10th). Vigilant on his line, the captain was reassuring in his shots. The tricolor midfielder, deprived of Adrien Rabiot, sick and replaced at short notice by Youssouf Fofana, on the other hand left too much space to the Moroccan attackers.

After an interesting collective action, punctuated by a crazy acceleration from Kylian Mbappé (35th), it was the Moroccans who offered themselves the best opportunity of the first period, through Jawad El-Yamiq. The central defender of the Atlas Lions slammed a chisel returned to the left of the French surface, on a corner from the right (45th). The ball hit the right amount of Lloris, causing some cold sweats on the French bench.

A defense that holds up

Jostled throughout the second period, the men of Didier Deschamps stuck together, like an exceptional Ibrahima Konaté in defense. This last-minute holder, replacing Dayot Upamecano, showed great serenity. From experience, the men of Didier Deschamps tirelessly repelled the offensives of the Atlas Lions, not without some scares (57th, 66th), and finally took advantage of the rare spaces left by the Moroccan defense to find the fault again .

After a sublime slalom from Kylian Mbappé in the heart of the defense, Eintracht Frankfurt striker Randal Kolo Muani concluded the action at close range (80th). For his first goal in Blue, the player just entered the lawn in place of a transparent Ousmane Dembélé, becomes the first Blue entered during the match to score since the start of the World Cup in Qatar.

Stunned, the valiant Moroccans will not recover. Accustomed to leaving possession to their opponents in previous matches, Walid Regragui’s men will have had the merit of holding off the world champions by imposing their rhythm. They stumbled on the experience and the serenity of the French executives, like an omnipresent Antoine Griezmann, in attack but especially in defense.

Messi and Argentina await the Blues

France are just one game away from winning another world championship title, four years after their success in Russia. See you on Sunday, December 18 at the Lusail stadium, against an impressive Argentinian team in their victory against Croatia.

Carried by an eternal Lionel Messi, the Albiceleste dreams of lifting the trophy after 36 years of scarcity and a title obtained during the World 86 in Mexico. France, it can become the first nation to chain two victories in the World Cup since Brazil in 1962. The two nations will fight above all to weave a third star on their jersey and touch eternity a little more.



World Cup 2022: France-Morocco, in the stands, an audience won over to the cause of Morocco

In the stands, there is no match. During the opposition between Morocco and the France team, this Wednesday, December 14, at 8 p.m., in the semi-finals of the World Cup, 45,000 supporters of the Atlas Lions will be present against a little less than 4,000 French supporters.

The course of the Atlas Lions, which thwarted all the forecasts at the start of the competition, provoked emulation among the region’s supporters who all stand behind Morocco. In addition to Moroccan fans should therefore be added a large number of Saudis.

The Blues will thus aim for a qualification in the final, having the feeling of playing outside. In the cauldron of the Al-Bayt stadium, Didier Deschamps’ men will experience their first match in an electric atmosphere since the start of the competition. No opponent of France had until then had such substantial popular support, except Tunisia, in a match without stake (defeat 1 goal to 0).

Riots and forces

Behind the beautiful images of agreement between two friendly nations, the battle of the stands has taken on a sulphurous dimension. “We must measure that here the queues for the ticket office generate scenes of riots”explains Hervé Mougin, president of the group of supporters Les Irrésistibles Français, present in Qatar since the start of the competition. “We were chased by Moroccan supporters when they found out we were French! The local police got us out! »he laughs.

The French supporter knows that the battle will be tough. “We are not many… Usually, in a stadium, there is a visitors’ area where the fans of the traveling team congregate. There, this is not really the case and it is a safe bet that the French will find it difficult to exchange places to meet among themselves. »

Despite a tense context, the head of the group of supporters wishes to remain optimistic. “Of course our role as the twelfth man will be reduced. We are counting more on the eleven others who will be on the ground, but we will sing! », he slips. With this dispersal of forces within the stadium, Hervé Mougin is betting above all on a goal from the France team. It will stop the momentum of the Moroccan supporters and we may have a chance to be heard! » The Blues know what remains to be done.



World Cup 2022: in Morocco, the fervor of an entire country behind the Atlas Lions

“We took out Portugal and Spain, we beat Belgium! Of course we have every chance! », says Lghazi, a waiter in a café in the center of Casablanca, to a customer seated. Here, as everywhere else in Morocco, conversations revolve almost exclusively around the feat of the Atlas Lions. In a few hours, Morocco will play a historic FIFA World Cup semi-final against France. “For sure, France is the favourite. But Morocco will win! », wants to believe Lghazi.

For the very first time in history, an African, Arab team reached the semi-finals of a World Cup, that of Qatar. The Moroccan selection brilliantly eliminated the strong Portuguese team in the quarter-finals on Saturday, December 10, 1 to 0.

“One of the secrets is that the members of the team scrupulously respect the coach’s tactics. He has a lot to do with it: he is young, he understands his players well and he has managed to create a family spirit in this selection. It’s been a lot of work to get here.” says Abdeslam, another client, about the Franco-Moroccan coach Walid Regragui, who has become a real star in the country.

“Dirou niya! », « Have faith! »

But that’s not the only ingredient. “One of the secrets of this team is the niya », assures Abdeslam. Very difficult to translate this word: niyait’s faith, the will to believe in it, luck, motivation… After Saturday’s victory, the expression is taken up in chorus by the Moroccans: “Dirou niya! », “Have faith! »

Saturday, after the final whistle, a real human tide poured into the streets of the kingdom. Morocco in all its diversity went out to party until very late at night. Flags in hand, the Moroccans communed with the selection, whose greatest achievement was to reach the round of 16 in 1986 in Mexico.

“We only hoped to pass the first round. And here we are in the semi-finals! », exclaims Ghita, a 32-year-old from Casablanca, who still can’t believe it.

In Qatar, tens of thousands of supporters

Football is almost a religion in Morocco. “In Casablanca, every game of local clubs is sold out,” reports Abdellah Tourabi, journalist. The fervor is such that the famous Casablanca derby between the clubs of Wydad and Raja is considered one of the most spectacular in the world.

The support for the Lions has even moved to Qatar for this World Cup. As if they were playing at home, tens of thousands of supporters cheered them on at every game. For the semi-final, Royal Air Maroc announced that it was chartering 30 planes especially for the match. Although many Moroccans complained on social networks that they could not find a ticket.

Morocco “will bring the cup back to Africa”

But if the Moroccan supporters were for a lot in the motivation of the team, it is all of Africa, the Arab world, even the Muslim world who lined up behind the Lions of the Atlas. After Saturday’s victory, images and testimonies of fervor poured in from Egypt, Algeria, Tunisia, South Africa, Palestine, Senegal and beyond. “What immense joy and pride offered to Africa! », Tweeted just after the game Moussa Faki, the chairman of the African Union Commission.

“The team will go all the way and bring the cup back to Africa, that’s the goal of all Africans! », exclaims Mahmoud, a 32-year-old Guinean who lives in Casablanca. “When you see the popular enthusiasm in some countries, you get the impression that it’s their own team playing! Moroccans are proud to represent all these peoples! », assures Abdellah Tourabi.

“Today Africa is working, the Arab world is working”

“It’s a bit like David versus Goliath. There is great pride in having beaten the big footballing powers. he continues. Some see it as more than football, a revenge on history and the colonizing countries. “We must not neglect the symbolism. People are fed up with the arrogance of some northern countries. This reinforces popular jubilation,” judge Adil, a 30-year-old executive in a large Moroccan company.

This course of the Lions “is not a miracle, it is work. Today Africa is working, the Arab world is working,” insisted on recalling Walid Regragui after the victory against Portugal. In fact, Morocco has bet on football since the end of the 2000s, at a time when its teams were struggling to bring results.

“The State and the federation then decided to improve the training of coaches and players, to build fields to international standards, to strengthen their influence on football on the continent…”, explains Moncef Lyazghi, sports policy researcher. As a result, in this competition, players trained in Europe like Hakimi or Ziyech rub shoulders with those trained in Morocco, like the scorer against Portugal En-Nesyri or Ounahi.

“It gives the image of a developed country”

“The State has decided to bet on a football policy, because it is a powerful element of communication. This gives the image of a developed country, where security reigns, worthy of hosting major events,” continues Moncef Lyazghi. This discipline also has a spectacular mobilization capacity.

“With very rare events such as the death of Mohammed V or that of Hassan II, this is the only time when Moroccans take to the streets en masse with a flag. Football develops a sense of homeland, whether among Moroccans in Morocco or those residing abroad,” adds the researcher.

After difficult years for the kingdom, jubilation is all the more important. The country experienced exceptional demonstrations in the Rif in 2016-2017, strongly repressed, a strengthening of the repression against opponents, a historic drought, and of course the Covid-19 crisis, which caused 3.2 million More Moroccans in poverty, according to the High Commission for Planning. Added to all this is inflation in the context of the war in Ukraine.

“Nothing is impossible in football”

In recent months, the signals of a social crisis have multiplied, with an increasingly strong challenge to the head of government Aziz Akhannouch, sparing King Mohammed VI so far. “For now, there is a moment of collective communion. And the left-wing activists or the Islamists themselves say that we should not be party killers, and that we will have to come back to protest after the event”, argues Abdellah Tourabi.

All of Morocco now begins to dream of beating this France so close. Even if the team is penalized by injuries, like that of captain Romain Saïss, Anas, a 23-year-old Casablancan, wants to believe that “Nothing is impossible in football”.


Morocco, a little thumb with big ambitions

Awards. Surprise of this world, Morocco is however not outdone of trophies. The Atlas Lions have won two editions of the African Nations Championship (CHAN) in 2018 and 2020, in four appearances. They had already won the older version, the Africa Cup of Nations, in 1976.

Investments. Disappointed at not obtaining the award for the 2026 World Cup, the Royal Moroccan Football Federation (FRMF) has invested considerably in its infrastructure. 58 million euros were paid in particular to make the National Football Center Mohammed-VI, equivalent to the Clairefontaine tricolor, more modern.

Favorite Blues. France, big favorite on Wednesday night, has never met Morocco in official competition. The two nations have played five times in friendlies, for three French wins and two draws.



World Cup 2022: Messi and Modric, duel at the top of the Argentina-Croatia match

Number 10 duel in Doha. Argentina and Croatia are fighting on Tuesday, December 13 at 8 p.m. for a place in the final of the Football World Cup, at the Lusail stadium.

If Croats and Argentines showed a good collective game to climb to the last four of the competition, they are led by their two star players: Lionel Messi, 35 years old and Luka Modric, 37 years old. The two numbers 10, who play for Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid respectively, nevertheless have a very distinct position and style of play.

► One number, two styles of play

In this competition, Croatian point guard Luka Modric has a clean stat line: no goals and no assists. The Real Madrid player is confined to his role as a midfielder, as shown by the analysis of the position of his balls touched during the World Cup.

Associated with Marcelo Brozović and Mateo Kovačić, whom their coach Zlatko Dalić considers to be the ” better “ middle of the world trio, Luka Modric plays more the role of conductor, multiplying the back and forth between defense and attack.

For its last World Cup, the Pulga, nickname given to Lionel Messi, seems to be in full swing. Author of four goals and two assists since the start of the competition, he assumes a more attacking role. In a centre-forward position, Messi attempts more shots. And he tends to carry his team individually, as demonstrated by the frequency of passes he receives during games.

► Golden ball level, it’s unbalanced

In the match of individual distinctions, Lionel Messi largely beats his Croatian colleague. Seven times winner of the famous Ballon d’Or, which distinguishes the best football player over a year, Lionel Messi holds the record. For his part, Luka Modric has been rewarded only once, after the course of his national team, vice-world champion in 2018.

In their trophy cabinet, between them they count nine Champions Leagues (five for Modric and four for Messi), thirteen Spanish championships (three for the Croatian and ten for the Argentine) and… two World Cup finals (one each, not counting the one to come).

► During the last confrontation, Modric and the Croats in demonstration

The last and only competitive confrontation between Argentina and Croatia dates back to the last edition of the World Cup, in 2018 in Russia. Easy winner of theAlbiceleste (3-0), the Croats took advantage of a fine strike from Luka Modric to score the second goal of this group match. And the checkered team eventually reached the final before losing to France.



World Cup 2022: Hugo Lloris, the sparkling discreet

No doubt something was at stake there. In the looks they didn’t exchange. In these suspended seconds trotting in their heads. And it is not forbidden to think that Hugo Lloris this time entered that of Harry Kane, to stir up trouble there.

The Englishman is about to take a second penalty to equalize in this extremely tense quarter-final between France and England, this Saturday, December 10. He transformed the first without shaking. He rushes to bring his country back in the game, a few minutes from the final whistle.

Measure and altruism

Hugo Lloris said after the match: “I’m going the right way, and he certainly must feel it, so he forces his gesture a little, and that’s it. » The ball flies over the French cage, and with it all the hopes of an England that never stops chasing a trophy that it has been chasing in vain since 1966.

Hugo Lloris again, after the victory of these unsinkable Blues (2-1), about his unlucky teammate from Tottenham: “It’s a key moment in the game and we’re happy. But the man that I am is saddened, because he is a player that I respect enormously. I share this moment of pain with him. »

Hugo Lloris true to himself. Demonstration in measure, altruism all the same, and for the spectacular, look rather on the ground. He was celebrating there, on this match of all dangers, a historic 143e selection under the jersey of the France team. One more than a certain Lilian Thuram, who had won the record for a rather smiling World Cup day in 2006 against Togo (2-0).

For the goalkeeper, it was not nothing, of course, but not really the most important, he recalled a few days before the deadline: “It’s secondary because we live an adventure fully, as a team. It’s a story that we want to make last knowing that everyone is rewarded at one time or another by hard work. We are one. »

The field as the only judge

Is it in this collective energy that he feeds this excellence that never expresses itself better than in difficulty? Hugo Lloris often talks about the need to suffer in order to sublimate himself, and the goalkeeper who until then crossed the World Cup without really trying, or on rare occasions rather feverishly, found in the English assaults material to practice. In the days preceding the meeting, the English newspapers had targeted him, even singling him out ” weak link “ of the troupe of Didier Deschamps.

At a press conference the day before the match, he had simply smiled at the mention of the subject, stroked his beard like a wise old man, and dismissed everyone. ” on the ground “, one more time. where he was prolific. Decisive parades in the second half of the first half when the Blues, after opening the scoring with a magnificent long shot from Aurélien Tchouaméni, had turned off the light.

World Cup 2022: winners of the English, the Blues can consider themselves lucky

Others again in the second half, to leave the blue ship afloat, propelled towards the semi-final by a furious whim from Olivier Giroud, scorer against the run of play. Yes, Hugo Lloris was that little more which allows the France team to continue its incredible history with an exciting chapter in advance against Morocco.

A secret, protected private life

Obviously, Hugo Lloris did not see it that way: “I think the mental aspect really took over in this match, and you have to congratulate all the guys and the whole thing. » Above all, don’t talk about him, as usual. Some are irritated by this, considering the captain too civilized, too inclined not to make waves as a spokesperson for the official version, too focused on dodging and discarding.

And in addition, certainly not in the codes of the time, far from social networks and bling-bling parades. He does not deviate an inch. His life is his life, secret, protected, and for the rest, it’s with a jersey, gloves, for ninety minutes. And that’s impressive enough.


A historic semi-final for Morocco

The surprise guest? Without a doubt. Before the competition, Morocco in the last four did not even appear in the craziest predictions. Except that Walid Regragui’s players offered Belgium in the group stage (2-0), Spain in the round of 16 (0-0 and 3-0 on penalties) and Portugal on Saturday in the quarter (1 -0). Suffice to say that the Atlas Lions are not at this level by chance, the first representatives of African nations to reach a World Cup semi-final.

Wednesday, December 14 at 8 p.m., the Blues will be well advised not to take them lightly. In history, the two teams have faced each other only five times, in friendly. The most hung confrontation, in the final of the Hassan II tournament in Casablanca in May 1998, ended in favor of Morocco on penalties (2-2 then 6-5). Didier Deschamps was out at halftime, coach Aimé Jacquet rotating his squad, two months before the World Cup at home. The last meeting between the two teams, in November 2007, also ended in a draw at the Stade de France, 2-2.