Kylian Mbappe swaps a shirt, checks on a fan: Five things as France beats Morocco at the FIFA World Cup semifinal

Home Sports Kylian Mbappe swaps a shirt, checks on a fan: Five things as France beats Morocco at the FIFA World Cup semifinal
Kylian Mbappe swaps a shirt, checks on a fan: Five things as France beats Morocco at the FIFA World Cup semifinal

France have made back-to-back World Cup finals after defeating a brave Morocco side 2-0 in their semifinal match.

The French will now face Argentina in the final, with Morocco meeting Croatia in the third-place play off.

Here’s the five main talking points from this morning’s clash.

Kylian Mbappé checks on a fan

Kylian Mbappé is always front of mind for supporters heading into a match, and mostly for very good reason.

He’s the sort of talent that makes you sit up and pay attention whenever he has the ball at his feet, whether it be his darting runs through traffic or electric turns of pace to burst down the line.

However, as one French supporter in the Al-Bayt Stadium discovered, you should probably pay attention even during the warm up too. 

During the pre-game warm up, a French supporter behind the goal was stuck flush in the head by an errant ball.

Kylian Mbappe holds his hand up to a fan
Kylian Mbappé went over to check on the fan.(Getty Images: Adam Davy/PA Images)

It was not clear who struck the ball, but it was Mbappé who went over to check on him.

Kylian Mbappe reaches up to a fan who looks at him out of the corner of his eye as he covers his face
The unfortunate fan was cared for by those around him.(Getty Images: Julian Finney)
Kylian Mbappe looks away with a neutral expression on his face
Whoops.(Getty Images: Adam Davy/PA Images)

Mbappé and Hakimi: Football friends forever

One of the many subplots in this game was the relationship between Paris Saint Germain teammates and best friends, Kylian Mbappé and Achraf Hakimi.

Achraf Hakimi hugs Kylian Mbappe from behind both are smiling
Kylian Mbappé and Achraf Hakimi are best buddies at Paris Saint-Germain.(Getty Images: Tim Clayton/Corbis)

In the days leading up to the semifinal, Hakimi tweeted to Mbappé, “see you soon my friend”.

And, despite wearing opposing shirts in Qatar, in the tunnel pre-game the two players were seen embracing and joking around with each other.

Achram Hakimi touches Kylian Mbappe's chest and both smile
Different shirts this time, but still smiling.(Getty Images: Michael Regan/FIFA)

Once on the field, it was a different matter.

Achraf Hakimi stretches his foot out to challenge Kylian Mbappe
Mbappé was given little room by Hakimi, and no quarter when it came to challenges.(Getty Images: Amin Mohammad Jamali)

But afterwards, Mbappé went straight to Hakimi to offer his condolences.

Kylian Mbappe holds Achraf Hakimi on either side of his face
Mbappé and comforted Hakimi right after the match.(Getty Images: Robert Michael/picture alliance)

The pair embraced again and even swapped shirts, proving that enmity only need last 90 minutes (plus stoppage time).

Hakimi and Mbappe stand next to each other
Separated by nationalities, bonded by friendship.(Getty Images: Rico Brouwer/Soccrates)

After the match, Mbappé even uploaded an uplifting tweet to pay tribute to his vanquished opponent.

“Don’t be sad bro, everybody is proud of what you did, you made history.”

Morocco’s greatest goal that never was

Throughout the game, Morocco created a number of chances to score.

Hugo Lloris dives across his goal
Hugo Lloris would have had the ball covered had it been inside the post, but Morocco can still dream.(Getty Images: Matthias Hangst)

None were better than when Jawad El-Yamiq leaped into the air and completed a stunning bicycle kick in the dying minutes of the first half, though.

The Real Valladolid centre back, yes, centre back, threw himself into the air on the edge of the penalty area after a cross was half-cleared by the French defence.

His connection was not amazing — think Wayne Rooney shinning the ball into the net for United in the Manchester derby against City in 2011, an acrobatic strike but not flush off the boot — but it probably had Hugo Lloris beaten and cannoned off the post.

Jawad El-Yamiq  kicks the ball over his head
It would have been some goal from Jawad El-Yamiq.(Getty Images: Ulrik Pedersen/DeFodi Images)

The score was 1-0 to France at the time, but Morocco had been building pressure.

Had that shot gone in, with the backing of a passionate crowd, who knows how the match would have played out?

Mbappé vs Messi, golden boot

France’s win sets up a match up between two of football’s biggest individual stars, as French hero Kylian Mbappé meets Argentina’s saviour, Lionel Messi.

A composite image of Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappe running
Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappé are both level on five goals each in the race for the golden boot.(Getty Images)

Both men play together at Paris St Germain as part of an extraordinary attacking trident that also features Brazilian striker Neymar.

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