- Women’s World Cup debutants Morocco look to make more history as they seek to upset France and reach the quarter-finals.
- Morocco bounced back from an opening game 6-0 hammering by Germany to beat both South Korea and Colombia and qualify in second place in Group H.
- France beat Brazil 2-1 on the way to topping their group, also defeating Panama after being held by Jamaica in their opening game.
- FIFA rankings: France (5), Morocco (72).
Tolletti takes a shot from distance
Bacha cuts inside from the left, running the ball along the byline and into the penalty area.
None of her teammates gambled and she ends up finding Tolletti outside of the area.
She shoots from range but the ball fizzes past the post.
42 mins: France 3-0 Morocco
France going through the motions
It’s a quiet end to the first half. France are knocking the ball around in their own half like it’s a training match.
Chebbak looks for Tagnaout with a chipped ball over the French defence, but De Almeida does well to get across and snuff out any danger.
France did concede three goals to Panama last time out, so they need to stay alert.
40 mins: France 3-0 Morocco
Les Bleus keep coming
France show no signs of letting up. They continue to keep possession inside the Moroccan half.
Renard plays a long ball forward looking for Diani and Dali, but there’s a bit too much on it and the ball runs out of play.
36 mins: France 3-0 Morocco
Chebbak takes out Le Sommer
Le Sommer is whacked by an ill-timed challenge from Chebbak. The referee decides against booking the Morocco captain.
The resulting free kick is well defended by Benzina. Once the ball is cleared the flag goes up for offside.
34 mins: France 3-0 Morocco
France stretching the play
Bacha storms down the left touchline but a Moroccan defender slides in to put the ball out for a throw.
France are switching the play so quickly, finding teammates all over the pitch.
The Atlas Lionesses need the half-time break to regroup.
31 mins: France 3-0 Morocco
Bacha hits the side netting
It’s chaos at the back for Morocco every time France come forward.
The Atlas Lionesses can’t deal with the balls that are coming into their box on an increasingly frequent basis.
Diani finds Bacha inside the Moroccan area and she takes a shot from a tight angle. The ball fires into the side netting. It was almost a fourth within half an hour.
29 mins: France 3-0 Morocco
France are firing on all cylinders.
Diani chases a long ball down the right channel, pressuring El Chad who reaches the ball first.
Diani’s perseverance at the byline pays dividends, as the ball rebounds into the path of Le Sommer who fires the ball into the bottom left corner of the net with a well struck shot off her right foot.
The Morocco players gather together to try and sort themselves out. They will be fearing a repeat of that 6-0 defeat to Germany.
23 mins: France 3-0 Morocco
A brilliant second for France!
Dali flicks the ball on for Diani down the right. The PSG forward then crosses a low ball into the box, finding Dali, who was charging forward.
The Aston Villa manager hits it first time, pinging the ball at the left post. It rebounds off the woodwork into the back of the net. A wonderful move and finish.
20 mins: France 2-0 Morocco
Les Bleus in control
France are running riot at the moment.
Le Sommer whips another ball into the box from the left. Er-Rmichi comes to punch it away but Benzina is brave and gets there first with a header.
Morocco need to make sure that this game doesn’t get away from them.
17 mins: France 1-0 Morocco
Diani puts France in front with a header!
Lovely link up play on the left from France, resulting in Karchaoui running onto the ball on the edge of the area.
She delivers a perfectly weighted ball into the middle and an unmarked Diani can’t miss with a header.
15 mins: France 1-0 Morocco
Diani tries to get a shot away
Le Sommer does well to keep the ball in at the byline.
She hooks it back into play, finding Dali on the edge of the box, but she waits too long for the ball to settle under her control, and a Moroccan defender steals it away.
The ball goes back to France and is crossed back into the box, but Er-Rmichi punches it away.
Shortly after Diani takes a shot, she was off-balance and it floats over the bar.
12 mins: France 0-0 Morocco
No cutting edge from either side
De Almeida makes another loose pass, pinging the ball out of play for a throw-in, but the Atlas Lionesses can’t create anything from it.
For all of France’s dominance in possession, they are not causing the Morocco defence many problems.
10 mins: France 0-0 Morocco
Morocco pinned back
Morocco have tightened up a lot since that opening 6-0 defeat to Germany.
They’ll need all of their defensive qualities tonight given how well France have started this match.
De Almeida gives the ball away with an errant pass, but France quickly win it back.
8 mins: France 0-0 Morocco
Dali fires over
It’s all France so far.
Bacha delivers the ball into the box from the left. Le Sommer jumps for it on the six-yard line, but Benzina defends well to disrupt her header.
The ball falls to Dali who shoots high over the bar.
6 mins: France 0-0 Morocco
Bacha runs into the box
Dali gets forward down the right and puts Bacha in with a cross into the box.
The French player can’t quite control the ball and runs it out of play for a goal kick.
4 mins: France 0-0 Morocco
France make a lively start
France start the match by passing the ball around their backline.
French coach Herve Renard is standing on the touchline in this traditional white shirt.
It’s a bright start for France, who are seeing all of the ball.
2 mins: France 0-0 Morocco
Here we go then.
France get the match under way, they’ll be attacking from left to right as it looks on your screen.
Who will secure the final quarter-final spot?
1 minute: France 0-0 Morocco
Both teams are ready for kickoff
France are set to start the game in a 4-4-1-1 formation. They’ll be wearing all blue this evening.
As for Morocco, they have opted for a tradition 4-4-2 set up. They are in red shirts and green shorts for this one.
The USA’s Tori Penso is the referee.
It’s almost time for kickoff.
Anthems under way
The French national anthem is played first as the players line up on the pitch.
It looks like another chilly evening in Adelaide and another very healthy crowd at Hindmarsh Stadium.
Players are in the tunnel
It’s almost time for kickoff in the final round of 16 match at this World Cup.
France are the favourites in this one, but Morocco have been full of surprises.
Expect the unexpected in Adelaide.
France eyeing up a hat-trick against African nations
Les Bleues have played two Women’s World Cup matches against African sides and they have been victorious on both occasions.
Those games were against Nigeria and France won each match 1-0 in the group stages of the tournament.
They only have one previous meeting with Morocco, a 6-0 friendly victory in Casablanca in 2008.
A ‘little Morocco’ in Adelaide
Morocco fans bring the noise
Morocco’s meteoric rise
The Atlas Lionesses have gone from the fringes of football in Africa to the last 16 in their debut Women’s World Cup in the space of a few years.
Nouhaila Benzina starts for Morocco
Women’s World Cup quarter-final lineup
As we approach the final stages of the round of 16, here is the current lineup for the upcoming quarter-finals in this thrilling Women’s World Cup.
- Spain vs Netherlands | 1pm (01:00 GMT) – Wellington Regional Stadium, Wellington
- Japan vs Sweden | 7:30pm (7:30 GMT) – Eden Park, Auckland
- Australia vs France or Morocco | 5pm (07:00 GMT) – Lang Park, Brisbane
- England vs Colombia | 8:30pm (10:30 GMT) – Stadium Australia, Sydney
Morocco’s lineup announced
Morocco’s starting XI: Er-Rmichi (C), Ait El Haj, El Chad, Benzina, Redouani, Ouzraoui, Nakkach, Chebbak (C), Tagnaout, Lahmari, Jraidi.
Pedros opts for the same starting XI that beat Colombia in their final group-stage match.
France lineup announced
France’s starting XI: Peyraud-Magnin (GK), Perisset, De Almeida, Renard (C), Karchaoui, Dali, Geyoro, Toletti, Bacha, Diani, Le Sommer.
Renard has made five changes from the side that played in the wild 6-3 win over Panama. Wendie Renard, Sakina Karchaoui, Kenza Dali, Sandie Toletti and Eugenie Le Sommer come in. Maelle Lakrar, Estelle Cascarino, Vicki Becho, Lea Le Garrec and Clara Mateo drop out.
Colombia knock out Jamaica to set up England clash
A second-half goal by Catalina Usme was enough to put Colombia through and break Jamaica’s hearts in Tuesday’s other last-16 game.
Colombia will face England in the quarter-finals after they became the first side in this World Cup to breach Jamaica’s defence and survived some late pressure to see out a 1-0 win.
But Jamaica can be proud of their side, who have excelled, even amid a continuing dispute with their federation over pay and conditions.
While you’re here …
Check out some of our recent Women’s World Cup coverage:
- ‘A breath of fresh air’: Nigeria’s World Cup run sparks joy back home
- After a slow buildup, a World Cup buzz grows in New Zealand
- ‘The ACL club’: The injury crisis plaguing women’s football
Photos: France and Morocco in World Cup action
French journalist calls hijab at the World Cup ‘regressive’
A journalist on French TV has called the hijab “regressive” while criticising Moroccan footballer Nouhaila Benzina for wearing a headscarf at the Women’s World Cup.
Benzina became the first player to wear a hijab during a Women’s World Cup game when she sported the Muslim headscarf in Morocco’s group stage match against South Korea.
The venue: Hindmarsh Stadium
Hindmarsh Stadium, also known as Coopers Stadium, hosted four group games, and it’s now hosting one game in the round of 16.
It’s an 18,000-seat stadium on the northeastern edge of the downtown area of Adelaide, South Australia.
This game marks the stadium’s grand finale in this tournament. It’s already been the stage for some great games:
- Brazil vs Panama
- China vs Haiti
- South Korea vs Morocco
- China vs England
Pedros has ‘winning mentality’
Pedros began working with the Moroccan football federation in late 2020.
He has helped oversee the development of women’s football in the country and took the team to the final of the Africa Cup of Nations on home soil last year, via which they qualified for the World Cup.
Victories against South Korea and Colombia, after a 6-0 hammering by Germany in their opening game, have seen Morocco make history at the tournament – no Arab team had won a Women’s World Cup match before.
“He has brought great experience, stability and a winning mentality,” Nassim El Kerf, a journalist with the Moroccan news website Le Desk, told the AFP news agency.
“He has been a key figure in the development strategy for women’s football in Morocco and has made himself popular thanks to his results.”
‘Football is incredible’
Morocco’s coach Pedros, 51, is a former France international and said he was looking forward to taking on the country of his birth when the two teams face off in the last 16 in Adelaide.
“I am French but my heart is with Morocco,” Pedros told reporters on Monday. “It’s been three years since we’ve been working hard to get to these incredible objectives … It’s not a problem for me to win against France.
“I will do everything for us to qualify for the quarter-finals.”
Pedros won consecutive Champions League titles as manager of Olympique Lyonnais in 2019 and 2020. Six members of France’s World Cup squad played under him at Lyon, including captain Wendie Renard and all-time top scorer Eugenie Le Sommer.
“A few of us are binational, and some of us play in France, so we know the players well,” said defender Nesryne El Chad, one of six players in the Morocco squad plying their trade in France. “This match will be special for us.”
Pedro says that the team is ready to give its best.
“Of course, if we had been eliminated with six points, it would still have been fantastic for us. But we went further,” he said. “Football is incredible, and you can never know what’s going to happen.”
France calm amid World Cup turmoil
The winner of Tuesday’s knockout game will face either Australia or Denmark in the quarter-finals on Saturday in Brisbane.
Renard, a longtime French player who once famously worked as a cleaner to fund his budding managerial career, also coached at the men’s tournament in Qatar in 2022. He was hired by France only in late March after Corinne Diacre was sacked in the wake of a player revolt.
The French came fourth in 2011 and were eliminated in the quarter-finals in 2015 and 2019, but are among the favourites this year after going undefeated to top Group F, capped with a dramatic 6-3 win over a feisty Panama side.
The fifth-ranked squad have watched as heavyweights USA, Germany, Brazil and Canada have all been unceremoniously dumped from an expanded 32-nation World Cup that is enjoying more parity than ever.
Aston Villa midfielder Kenza Dali said France feel confident amid the turmoil.
“We have a good group dynamic, so this is very important when we are competing,” the 32-year-old said.
“It’s important to play each game as if it was your last game, but making sure that this is not your last game. So yes, different things are happening during this World Cup, but we need to focus on ourselves and not think that the way things have happened for us have been easier than it was for others.”Translation: Last training before our round of 16 against Morocco.
France coach warns against underestimating Morocco
France coach Herve Renard has warned his team against taking Morocco lightly as they face one of the surprise packages of the Women’s World Cup.
“Morocco are not here by chance. This is a match of the same calibre as our game against Brazil.”
“We respect them but we are focused on ourselves,” added Renard.
“There is a lot of experience in this France team. I am here to guide them as well as I possibly can but I get the feeling that they would do just fine on their own if I were not here.”
The match sees Renard pit his wits against fellow Frenchman Reynald Pedros, a former France international as a player who has been in charge of Morocco since 2020.
“There will be just one French coach left in the quarter-finals,” Renard said. “I hope it will be me.”
Welcome to the blog
Hello and welcome to our coverage of the round-of-16 clash between France and Morocco in the 2023 Women’s World Cup.
France, which reached the semi-finals of last year’s European Championship, are trying to reach the quarter-finals for the fourth consecutive Women’s World Cup. Les Blues have lost just one of their last 11 internationals.
Morocco, the first Arab nation to compete at the tournament, were thrashed 6-0 by Germany in the opener, but 1-0 upsets of higher-ranked South Korea and Colombia propelled them into the last 16.
Morocco’s French coach Reynald Pedros said after the Colombia game that he had the advantage of knowing the France team “perfectly”. But beating France, ranked fifth in the world, would be a remarkable achievement for 72nd-ranked Morocco.
“This round of 16 is against an amazing opponent,” Pedros said. “We have to go up a notch with the game that we have done against Colombia, which was already a very high level for us.”
The match kicks off at 9pm local time (11:00 GMT) at Hindmarsh Stadium, Adelaide, Australia.
SOURCE: AL JAZEERA