Morocco midfielder Sofyan Amrabat has revealed that he spoke to Olivier Giroud during the match and asked the France star to stop man-marking him during their World Cup semi-final clash.
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France became the first team since Brazil in 1962 to reach a second successive final after securing a 2-0 win on Wednesday, with an early strike from Theo Hernandez and late goal from Randal Kolo Muani booking their passage to Sunday’s final.
Despite being the more unfancied of the two sides, Morocco dictated much of the play in the game and had 61% possession.
Amrabat was surprised by France’s approach in the clash but feels it was a reflection of how hard the reigning champions had to work to contain the African team, with even Giroud tasked with man-marking the Fiorentina midfielder.
Speaking to NOS after the match, Amrabat said: ‘They left our centre-backs alone. Their striker, Olivier Giroud, was following me everywhere all over the midfield!
‘I said to him, “Just stop!” but he replied that he was instructed to follow me for the whole game.’
He added: ‘We feel very bitter that we couldn’t do more. France let us have the initiative from the start, so I guess that’s a compliment really.
‘Unfortunately, it was tough for us after stupidly conceding such an early goal and we had to play into their hands, especially with the pace they have up front. If you are 1-0 up it is easier to play football.’
Asked if he will look back on the competition with pride, Amrabat added: ‘When we look back, I’m sure we will realise that. But now it’s mainly just bitter.
‘Will I be able to smile about it later? Maybe not. It’s even more painful when you get so close.
‘But we should be proud that we played against the reigning world champions in the way we did. It’s a really big compliment to all of Morocco. We really gave everything.’
Morocco had only conceded one goal before Wednesday’s semi-final game against France, and even that was an own goal against Canada.