France overcome brave Morocco to set up World Cup final with Aregentina

France set up a World Cup final showdown against Argentina as Randal Kolo Muani’s goal 44 seconds after coming off the bench helped secure a 2-0 victory over Morocco in the last four.

Reigning champions France, seeking to become the first side to win back-to-back World Cups since Brazil in 1962, took the lead after only five minutes when defender Theo Hernandez finished acrobatically from close range.

Morocco, the first African side in history to contest a World Cup semi-final, were roared on by another partisan crowd at Al Bayt Stadium and subjected France to heavy pressure as they fought valiantly to draw level, with Jawad El Yamiq striking the post.

But France showed their tournament pedigree, defending resolutely then seizing their chance to kill the game when Kolo Muani slid home Kylian Mbappe’s deflected effort at the far post in the 79th minute for his first international goal, leaving the Moroccans heartbroken.

France now face Argentina, who beat Croatia 3-0 in the other semi-final on Tuesday, in Sunday’s final as they seek to defend their crown in a contest which pits Mbappe against Lionel Messi, while Morocco have to settle for a third-place play-off to conclude their outstanding tournament.