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France and Argentina Reach World Cup Final

Sports

Lautaro Martínez scored Argentina’s winning kick in their penalty shootout against the Netherlands on Friday. | Image by Getty Images

The final of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar is now set.

France has earned a second consecutive berth in the final and will face Argentina on Sunday for the most coveted trophy in the world. France looks to become the first nation to earn back-to-back Championships since Brazil accomplished the feat in 1958 and 1962.

The French team triumphed over Morocco in the semifinal, knocking off the first African and Arab nation to advance to the semifinal 2-0. These were the only goals given up by Morocco during the entire tournament.

The only team to have scored on Morocco before the semifinal was Canada, which scored when a shot deflected off a Moroccan player into the net.

After defeating England in the quarterfinal round, France ended the historic run for a Morocco team that had quickly ascended through the popularity ranks not only as a representative of other culturally-similar nations but also as a former colony of France.

France opened the scoring early with a goal just five minutes into the match by Theo Hernandez. Les Bleus (“the Blues”) then added the back-breaker at the 78-minute mark while preventing the feisty Moroccan team from earning a goal despite the spirited effort, particularly in the second half.

Argentina triumphed over Croatia on Tuesday in the first of the semifinal games. Lionel Messi continued his dominance and became Argentina’s all-time leading goal scorer in World Cup competition with a penalty kick goal nearly 40 minutes into play.

Julian Alvarez added a goal on a solo run before the half, then finished a set-piece originated by Messi in the second half for the third goal.

Argentina will make the nation’s sixth appearance in a World Cup final and the first since a loss to Germany in 2014. Argentina has won two World Cup Championships, the first in 1978 and the last in 1986.

Argentina was eliminated in 1990 and 2014, losing to Germany in both showings. In 2018, the Argentinians were eliminated by France in the knockout rounds.

While the road to the top podium is now over for Croatia and Morocco, one last opportunity for glory remains. The two losing teams will face each other on Saturday to determine the third-place finisher in the 2022 World Cup ahead of Sunday’s final.

France may be facing even more of a challenge than just the Argentinian team, as reports are surfacing that the team is dealing with a virus outbreak. Due to illness, two of its starters were held out of the semifinal match.

The French team is reportedly taking measures to stop the spread of the illness, which could mean the team will have less time together in preparation for the final due to illness. The team has not confirmed that the illness is the same strain that several teams have dealt with this year.

The third-place game between Croatia and Morocco will take place Saturday, December 17, beginning at 9:00 a.m. CST. The World Cup final will be on Sunday, December 18, and also has a 9:00 a.m. CST start time.

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