France without Rabiot, Upamecano for Morocco World Cup semi

France made two changes to their starting line-up for Wednesday’s World Cup semi-final against Morocco, with Adrien Rabiot and Dayot Upamecano both dropping out of the side due to illness.

Youssouf Fofana came into the midfield in place of Rabiot, who had appeared in all five of France‘s matches previously at the tournament but was not even listed among the substitutes for the game at Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor.

Ibrahima Konate of Liverpool took the place of Upamecano alongside Raphael Varane in central defence, although the Bayern Munich man was at least named on the bench.

It is just a seventh cap for Monaco midfielder Fofana, and a sixth cap for Konate, as the holders look to secure a place in Sunday’s final against Argentina.

The rest of coach Didier Deschamps’ starting XI was the same as against England in the quarter-final, when they won 2-1 thanks to a late Olivier Giroud goal.

Morocco are the first African team and the first Arab team to reach the semi-finals of a World Cup.

Defender Noussair Mazraoui returned from the injury that ruled him out of the 1-0 win over Portugal in the quarter-finals.

Meanwhile Nayef Aguerd had initially been named in the line-up only to drop out at the last minute with Achraf Dari playing instead.

Morocco coach Walid Regragui opted for a three-man central defence, with captain Romain Saiss fit to start after picking up a knock against Portugal.

Midfielder Selim Amallah dropped to the bench, along with full-back Yahya Attiat-Allah.

Starting line-ups:

France (4-3-3)

Hugo Lloris (capt); Jules Kounde, Raphael Varane, Ibrahima Konate, Theo Hernandez; Antoine Griezmann, Aurelien Tchouameni, Youssouf Fofana; Ousmane Dembele, Olivier Giroud, Kylian Mbappe

Coach: Didier Deschamps (FRA)

Morocco (3-4-3)

Yassine Bounou; Jawad El Yamiq, Romain Saiss (capt), Achraf Dari; Achraf Hakimi, Sofyan Amrabat, Azzedine Ounahi, Noussair Mazraoui; Hakim Ziyech, Youssef En-Nesyri, Sofiane Boufal

Coach: Walid Regragui (MAR)

Referee: Cesar Ramos (MEX)

 

This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text.

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