France does not underestimate the threat of Morocco in World Cup semi-finals | Qatar World Cup 2022

French defender Raphael Varane says the World Cup champions will not ‘fall into the trap’ of overconfidence when facing Morocco in the semi-final.

France will not “fall” in the trap of overconfidence when entering the game Morocco surprise star tournament in their semi-final on Wednesday, French defender Raphael Varane insisted.

However Morocco has stunned the football world by knocking Spain and Portugal out in the knockout stages of the tournament — and in the process becoming the first African and Arab team to qualify for the semi-finals of the World Cup — France’s Les Bleus remains a contender. heavyweight to retain this year’s title.

The French have achieved their goal by their country’s football federation about reaching the final four, but France defender Varane on Monday said his side are desperate for a place in Sunday’s final and they won’t automatically. Satisfied with Morocco.

“We have enough experience on the team to not fall into that trap,” said Varane, one of the survivors of France’s all-out campaign at the 2018 World Cup, when asked about overconfidence before match against Morocco.

“We know Morocco is not here by accident. Experienced players depend on us to make sure everyone is ready for another battle,” he said.

French defender Raphael Varane gives an interview to the press.
France defender Raphael Varane during a press conference at Jassim Bin Hamad stadium in Doha on December 12, 2022, during preparations for the 2022 World Cup semi-final between France and Morocco in Qatar [Franck Fife/AFP]

“It’s not easy to reach the semi-finals of the World Cup so we’re very pleased, but the only real goal is to win,” he added.

“That’s always been the goal.”

French defender Jules Kounde praised the Moroccan team’s performance at the tournament.

“It’s remarkable to concede just one goal at this stage of the tournament, especially against the teams they’ve faced,” said Kounde.

“They are very compact, with the lines close together and they leave little time for the player with the ball to organize themselves,” he said.

“They are also very fast, so we will need to play with less touch, move the ball quickly and try to throw them off balance by moving from side to side.”

Morocco’s run is amazing.

They beat Portugal 1-0 into the quarterfinals dumping Spain on penalty in the last 16. They also beat Belgium and draw with Croatia in the group stage and have conceded only a single goal, from own goal, in their five matches so far in the tournament.

Morocco midfielder Azzedine Ounahi runs with the ball during the soccer quarter-final match between Morocco and Portugal.
Morocco midfielder Azzedine Ounahi runs with the ball during the 2022 FIFA World Cup quarter-final match between Morocco and Portugal at Al Thumama Stadium in Doha on December 10, 2022 [Alberto Pizzoli/AFP]

Morocco’s Azzedine Ounahi was at the heart of the team’s success, tirelessly displaying his supremacy in midfield and emerging as one of the revelations of the entire league and even catching the eye of the team. former Spain coach Luis Enrique, after Spain’s penalty shootout loss to the Moroccans. Enrique was sacked by Spain after losing to Morocco.

“I was surprised by [Ounahi]. God, where did that boy come from?” Enrique said in admiration of the midfielder’s “spectacular” performance. “He played really well. I was surprised. He hasn’t stopped running, he must be exhausted.”

Just 18 months ago, Ounahi was still struggling in France’s third tier football league. Now with Ligue 1 club Angers, it won’t be long before he leaves after his display at the World Cup.

Ounahi, who has excelled alongside teammate and midfielder Sofyan Amrabat, is a reported target for Barcelona. Amrabat, 26, is also said to be on Liverpool’s radar.

“Does the phone ring? Angers chairman Said Chabane told French radio station RMC of interest in Ounahi and compatriot Sofiane Boufal, who has also started every match in Qatar.

“You know very well that we cannot hold back a player who wants to leave,” he said.

A distant relative outside of his homeland and France, few will forget the name Ounahi after this World Cup and the upcoming semi-final against the defending champions France.


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