FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023: France Ends Morocco’s Run and Advances to the Quarterfinals
France coach Herve Renard high-fived his staff on the bench as it became visible his team was on its way to the Women's World Cup quarterfinals.
Only 23 minutes had passed at Adelaide's Hindmarsh Stadium on Tuesday, and France was already 3-0 up over Morocco, setting up a clash with co-host Australia.
The French struck again in the second half to win 4-0 and terminate Morocco's historic World Cup debut.
"The end result speaks for itself," Renard said. "We were able to score four times, and now we have a foot in the quarterfinals." Things are becoming a little heated. Only eight clubs remain in contention. The goal today is to put on the finest performance the French squad has ever put on."
France finished fourth in 2011 and is advancing to the World Cup quarterfinals for the fourth time in a row.
Le Sommer, France's all-time record scorer, added a fourth goal in the 70th minute to seal the victory. She currently has 92 goals for her country, which is more than any other French player, male or female.
"Her game was exceptional," stated Renard. "Her legs looked like she was 25… I hope this continues. Every time, I'm blown away by what she's capable of."
Renard understands that France faces a significant challenge in defeating Australia in the semifinals on Saturday in Brisbane.
France lost a pre-tournament friendly to the Matildas. However, Renard believes that the strain of being a co-host with New Zealand would weigh hard on the Australians in front of their own supporters.
In 2019, France was eliminated as hosts in the quarterfinals.
"It can be hugely disappointing, and it was for France when they were knocked out in the quarterfinals," Renard explained. "And we hope to put Australia through what France went through when they were the hosts… We came with a lot of ambition, and if you come with a lot of ambition, you have to be able to defeat the top teams."
Morocco's tournament is ended after being the first Arab country to reach the knockout stage.
The Atlas Lions also became the first Arab team to win the Women's World Cup, defeating South Korea in the group stage. They then shocked group winner Colombia, advancing to the round of 16 at the cost of No. 2 rated Germany.
But defeating France, one of the tournament favourites, was too difficult for Reynald Pedros' side.
"I'm not dissatisfied because we made it to the round of 16." "This was our first World Cup, and we knew the further we got in the competition, the more difficult it would be," Pedros remarked.
He went on to say that his team's achievement was even more astonishing than Morocco's historic march to the men's World Cup semifinals last year.
"Let's not forget that just three years ago, we were putting together a women's team in Morocco," he remarked.
Diani scored France's first goal in the 15th minute, when she was left unmarked in front of goal and headed in Sakina Karchaoui's left-wing cross.
It was Diani's fourth goal of the tournament, after her hat trick in France's 6-3 triumph against Panama in Group F.
Five minutes later, Dali scored after Diani cut back from the right. Dali beat Morocco goalkeeper Khadija Er-Rmichi with a first-time shot low into the corner.
And France went ahead 3-0 as Diani blocked Nesryne El Chad's attempted clearing into the path of Le Sommer to convert.
With 20 minutes remaining in regulation, Le Sommer scored her second goal, heading in at the far post from Vicki Becho's looping cross.
Australia defeated Denmark 2-0 to move to the quarterfinals. Sam Kerr, the star striker, recovered from a calf injury to make her World Cup debut. She came in as a replacement in the second half against Denmark.