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World Cup: Neville not sure how Morocco will handle France’s Mbappe

2:16 PM GMT+4 13/12/2022
Former England and Manchester United star Gary Neville has said Kylian Mbappe is the difference for the semi-final against Morocco on Wednesday.
  • Mbappe is France’s key source of goals
  • Leads in Golden Boot race
  • Expected to trouble Morocco’s backline

WHAT HAPPENED? Regarded as giant killers after beating Belgium, Spain, and Portugal, Morocco will next face the reigning champions, France.

They will also be up against Mbappe, one of the shining stars in the tournament. The PSG forward has five goals.

WHAT HAS BEEN SAID: "It's remarkable what they've achieved against Spain and Portugal," he told the Gary Neville podcast," Neville explained.

"I was thinking about how we used to defend deep with England at times, but when I've seen Morocco sit in, they've also tried to play out of the tight areas in the defensive third.

"It takes real courage to try to do that, and then they also try to counter-attack. Generally, it's the story of the tournament, and it wouldn't surprise you if they went and beat France.

"That said, Mbappe is the difference. I'm not sure Morocco will be able to handle him. They've got injuries as well and tough games, but it's been one of the great stories of the tournament."

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Morocco’s campaign has so far been impressive, but a game against Les Bleus, who have never lost against the North Africans, with all five of their previous meetings coming in friendlies (W3 D2), is set to be their toughest test.

Meanwhile, the Atlas Lions are unbeaten in their last six World Cup matches (W3 D3) which is the longest unbeaten run by an African nation in the tournament's history.

As France will pin more hope on Mbappe’s speed, creativity, and ability to score any time, Walid Regragui will hope Hakim Ziyech will be as brilliant as he has been in the previous games.

Mbappe’s presence is expected to test the solidity of Morocco’s defensive wall, which has only conceded once so far.

WHAT NEXT FOR MOROCCO? France stand between them and the chance for their first-ever appearance in a World Cup final.

The quarter-final duel will be held at Al Bayt Stadium.