History is there to be made in Wednesday’s World Cup semifinal at Al Bayt Stadium.
France are aiming to become the first country to win back-to-back World Cups since Brazil accomplished the feat in 1958 and 1962.
Morocco downed Portugal 1-0, becoming the first African nation ever to reach the semifinals. Having also accounted for Spain and Belgium at this tournament, can they spring their biggest upset yet and claim the scalp of another heavyweight European side?
Here’s all the buildup and team news for France vs. Morocco.
MORE: When is France vs. Morocco at World Cup? Date, time, early odds and history for semifinal match
France vs Morocco lineups
France captain Hugo Lloris performed superbly during the 2-1 quarterfinal win over England.
The experienced goalkeeper is not banking on fatigue being an issue for Morocco, despite their exertions without the ball against Spain and Portugal.
“We’ll need all our strength, all our energy knowing that there’s something really special we can achieve,” he said.
“I think we’re all aware of this, but we’ll continue to be calm and collected. But it has to come from [within].”
Romain Saiss has led Morocco to heroic feats with some towering displays at centre-back, although he is one of a few key injury concerns for boss Walid Regragui.
“It just shows the character and the mentality of this team,” Saiss said. “Everyone is ready to play; it doesn’t matter if they play for a while, or if they come in every game.
“Everyone is focused and ready to play. That’s how you go really far in this tournament.”
Below are the projected starting lineups for both teams ahead of their match at Al Bayt Stadium on December 14.
France projected starting 11
(4-2-3-1, right to left): 1. Lloris (GK) — 5. Kounde, 4. Varane, 18. Upamecano, 22. T. Hernandez — 8. Tchouameni, 14. Rabiot — 11. Dembele, 7. Griezmann, 10. Mbappe — 9. Giroud
A succession of pre-tournament injuries compromised France’s much-discussed depth of quality but the absences of Paul Pogba, N’Golo Kante and Karim Benzema among others has arguably brought a clarity of thought to Deschamps’ selection Qatar.
Expect to see a familiar lineup once again against Morocco. Aurelien Tchouameni and Dayot Upamecano missed training on Monday due to a calf complaint and a sore throat respectively, as per L’Equipe, but they are expected to be fine for this match.
Morocco projected starting 11
(4-3-3): 1. Bono (GK) — 2. Hakimi, 18. Yamiq, 6. Saiss, 3. Mazraoui — 8. Ounahi, 4. Amrabat, 15. Amallah — 7. Ziyech, 19. En-Nesyri, 17. Boufal
- Injured: Saiss, Mazraoui, Aguerd
- Suspended: Cheddira
Regragui will wait until the last minute to make a call on captain Saiss after the Besiktas star was forced off injured against Portugal, with Achraf Dari on standby to step in.
His absence would be a major blow for Morocco with fellow centre-back Nayef Aguerd also struggling to recover from injury. Striker Walid Cheddira is banned due to his red card against Portugal.
France vs Morocco World Cup squads
Here are the names on the Argentina and Croatia World Cup squads in Qatar. (Caps and stats correct as of start of the tournament).
France World Cup squad
|Goalkeeper||Alphonse Areola||West Ham (ENG)||29||5|
|Goalkeeper||Hugo Lloris||Tottenham (ENG)||35||139|
|Goalkeeper||Steve Mandanda||Rennes (FRA)||37||34|
|Defender||Axel Disasi||Monaco (FRA)||24||0|
|Defender||Lucas Hernandez*||Bayern Munich (FRA)||26||32|
|Defender||Theo Hernandez||AC Milan (ITA)||25||7|
|Defender||Ibrahima Konate||Liverpool (ENG)||23||2|
|Defender||Jules Kounde||Barcelona (SPA)||23||12|
|Defender||Benjamin Pavard||Bayern Munich (GER)||26||46|
|Defender||William Saliba||Arsenal (ENG)||21||7|
|Defender||Dayot Upamecano||Bayern Munich (GER)||23||7|
|Defender||Raphael Varane||Manchester United (ENG)||29||87|
|Midfielder||Eduardo Camavinga||Real Madrid (SPA)||19||4|
|Midfielder||Youssouf Fofana||AS Monaco (FRA)||23||2|
|Midfielder||Matteo Guendouzi||Marseille (FRA)||23||6|
|Midfielder||Adrien Rabiot||Juventus (ITA)||27||29|
|Midfielder||Aurelien Tchouameni||Real Madrid (SPA)||22||14|
|Midfielder||Jordan Veretout||Marseille (FRA)||29||5|
|Forward||Ousmane Dembele||Barcelona (FRA)||25||28|
|Forward||Kingsley Coman||Bayern Munich (GER)||26||40|
|Forward||Olivier Giroud||AC Milan (ITA)||36||114|
|Forward||Antoine Griezmann||Atletico Madrid (SPA)||31||110|
|Forward||Kylian Mbappe||PSG (FRA)||23||59|
|Forward||Marcus Thuram||Bor. M’Gladbach (GER)||25||4|
|Forward||Randal Kolo Muani||Monaco (FRA)||23||2|
*Will miss the rest of the tournament through injury
Morocco World Cup squad
|Goalkeeper||Yassine Bounou||Sevilla (SPA)||31||45|
|Goalkeeper||Munir||Al Wehda (KSA)||33||43|
|Goalkeeper||Ahmed Reda Tagnaouti||Wydad (MOR)||26||3|
|Defender||Achraf Hakimi||PSG (FRA)||24||53|
|Defender||Noussair Mazraoui||Bayern Munich (GER)||24||14|
|Defender||Romain Saiss||Besiktas (TUR)||32||65|
|Defender||Nayef Aguerd||West Ham (ENG)||26||21|
|Defender||Achraf Dari||Brest (FRA)||23||4|
|Defender||Jawad El-Yamiq||Valladolid (SPA)||30||11|
|Defender||Yahi Attain-Allal||Wydad (MOR)||27||1|
|Defender||Badr Benoun||Qatar SC (QAT)||29||3|
|Midfielder||Sofyan Amrabat||Fiorentina (ITA)||26||38|
|Midfielder||Selim Ramallah||Standard Liege (BEL)||25||23|
|Midfielder||Abdelhamid Sabiri||Sampdoria (ITA)||25||2|
|Midfielder||Azzedine Ounahi||Angers (FRA)||22||9|
|Midfielder||Bilel El Khanouss||Genk (BEL)||18||0|
|Midfielder||Yahya Jabrane||Wydad (MOR)||31||4|
|Forward||Hakim Ziyech||Chelsea (ENG)||24||42|
|Forward||Youssef En-Nesyri||Sevilla (SPA)||25||49|
|Forward||Sofiane Boufal||Angers (FRA)||29||31|
|Forward||Zaharia Aboukhlal||Toulouse (FRA)||22||12|
|Forward||EZ Abde||Osasuna (SPA)||20||1|
|Forward||Anass Zaroury||Burnley (ENG)||22||0|
|Forward||Ilias Chair||QPR (ENG)||25||10|
|Forward||Abderrazak Hamdallah||Al Ittihad (KSA)||31||17|
|Forward||Walid Cheddira||Bari (ITA)||24||2|