Doha, 11 Dec. France and Morocco will meet next Wednesday for a place in the World Cup final in Qatar in what will be their sixth confrontation, the first since 2007 and the first that will not be friendly, without the Gauls having known defeat so far, with a balance of three French victories and two draws.
However, Morocco can boast of having won the Hasan II trophy against France in 1998, a few months before the World Cup that France was going to organize on its territory, after drawing 2-2 and winning the penalty shootout.
That feat, with goals by Salaheddine Bassir from A Coruña, who equaled those achieved by Youri Djorkaeff and Laurent Blanc, remained engraved in the Moroccan memory, which lived a glorious era with the generation of Mustapha Hadji and Noureddine Naybet, and filled the team directed by Aimé Jacquet and led by Zinedine Zidane, which did not prevent them from clearing them months later with the victory in their World Cup.
The two nations, which share much common history and social and cultural ties, did not meet on the pitch until 1988, 33 years after the French protectorate over Morocco ended and the country agreed to full independence.
That first duel took place at the Louis II stadium in Monaco and ended with a 2-1 result, with an own goal from Lemriss, who later equalized for Morocco, before Yannick Stopyra gave victory to Henri Michel’s team in the framework of the so-called “France Tournament”.
Most of the duels between the two took place during the golden generation of Zizou’s team and with Djorkaeff as the main protagonist, since he scored in those three games.
The third match took place in Marseille in 1999 and resulted in a 1-0 French victory with a goal from Djorkaeff.
On the eve of the 2000 Euro Cup, with a world champion and launched France, the “bleus” returned to the Casablanca stadium, but this time with full confidence and they left with a win, 5-1 with goals from Thierry Henry, Youri Djorkaeff, Nicolas Anelka, Christophe Dugarry and Sylvain Wiltord, without Zidane coming into play until the 61st minute. Naybet scored the Moroccan goal and France claimed the Hasan II trophy they had previously lost.
The last duel dates from 2007, this time with Henri Michel on the Moroccan bench and a France coached by Raymond Domenech, who with qualifying for the Eurocup the following year almost assured gave rest to some of their starters.
Tarik Setioui put the Africans ahead after 8 minutes and although Sydney Govou and Samir Nasri managed to come back, Youssef Mokhtari managed to tie at 2 in minute 85. EFE