Reigning champion France will face first-time semifinalist Morocco in the second semifinal of the FIFA World Cup 2022 at the Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor, on Wednesday night. The match will kick- off at 12:30 AM Indian Standard Time (IST). The winner meet Argentina in the final on December 18 at the Lusail Stadium.
A former French colony Morocco is the only undefeated side in this World Cup.
Morocco defeated Belgium and Canada in the group stage, and 2010 champion Spain in the round of 16. In the quarterfinal, it beat Euro 2016 winner Portugal to secure a place in the semifinals. Walid Regragui’s defensively strong side has conceded just one goal en route to the semifinals against Canada.
France, which won its second World Cup title in Russia four years ago, started its title defence with wins over Australia and Denmark but lost to African side Tunisia 1-0. In the pre-quarterfinal, the Les Blues registered a resounding 3-1 win over Poland and followed that with a magnificent 2-1 win over England in the quarterfinal.
France holds a 3-1 head-to-head edge over Morocco in five meetings, with their last meeting in 2007 ending in a 2-2 draw. The two sides have never met in the World Cup. This will be their first meeting at the showpiece event.
Mexican referee Cesar Ramos will be in charge of the proceedings tonight.
Who is Ramos?
Ramos is a 38-year-old referee. He has experience officiating FIFA World Cup, Olympic Games, and CONCACAF Gold Cup matches.
Enlisted in the FIFA referee panel in 2014, this is Ramos’ second World Cup after he officiated three matches in the 2018 Russia tournament, including an Uruguay vs Portugal round of 16 clash. Much to the dismay of Cristiano Ronaldo, he issued just one yellow card in that match which Uruguay won 2-1.
In the Qatar World Cup, he oversaw three matches across the group stage and knockouts. Ramos’ first match, involving Denmark and Tunisia, ended in a draw, with him booking three players.
In his next two games, he oversaw Portugal’s 6-1 win over Switzerland and Morocco’s 2-0 win over Belgium in the round of 16. Ramos was thrifty in producing cards, as he issued only four cards across those two games.
On Wednesday night, Ramos will be assisted by compatriots Alberto Morin and Miguel Hernandez, while Venezuelan Jesus Valenzuela will be the fourth official. Canadian Drew Fischer will be in charge of VAR, while Nicolas Gallo of Colombia will be his assistant.
Match officials for France vs Morocco FIFA World Cup 2022 semifinal clash
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