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.
It was not clear who struck the ball, but it was Mbappé who went over to check on him.
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.
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.
Once on the field, it was a different matter.
But afterwards, Mbappé went straight to Hakimi to offer his condolences.
The pair embraced again and even swapped shirts, proving that enmity only need last 90 minutes (plus stoppage time).
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.
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.
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.
Both men play together at Paris St Germain as part of an extraordinary attacking trident that also features Brazilian striker Neymar.
If were be honest, the closest the two are likely to get to each other on the field will be when they shake hands pre-game and (presumably) give each other a hug post-game, such is their propensity to stay in their allotted positions up field.
But the battle will be intriguing between the 35-year-old master, possibly competing at one of his last major tournaments, and the 23-year-old starlet poised to dominate the game for the next decade.
There’s no doubt Messi has been the more influential so far this World Cup, hoisting La albiceleste on his back and dancing his way through defenders at will, laying the ball on a plate for his teammates when he can’t find a way through himself
Mbappé has been less flashy, going missing against England in their quarterfinal, but showed flashes of brilliance against Morocco, including a magical turn to create space for his side’s second.
Both men have scored five goals this tournament too, leading the race for the golden boot.
But the only golden trophy either man will have their eyes on will be the team accolade.
How rare is it to go back-to-back at the World Cup?
In making this year’s final, France has achieved a relatively rare feat.
They are the first team since Brazil in 2002 to reach back-to-back finals, and first team from Europe to do so since West Germany did in 1990.
Reaching back to back finals is not unheard of.
All up, six teams have reached consecutive finals, Italy (1934, 1938), Brazil (1958, 1962), The Netherlands (1974, 1978) and Argentina (1986, 1990) including two teams that have reached three in a row, West Germany (1982, 1986, 1990) and Brazil (1994, 1998, 2002).
However, only two of those teams have won back-to-back titles (Italy in 1934-38 and Brazil in 1958-62).
So, if France are to go back-to-back, they’ll be the first team in 60 years to do so.
In a somewhat quirky stat, this will be the third time that Argentina have met a team in a World Cup final that is playing in their second consecutive final.
On both previous occasions, against the Dutch in 1978 and West Germany in 1986, Argentina have won the World Cup — and both times they scored three goals in doing so.