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France 4-0 Morocco: Les Bleues cruise into quarter-finals
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PA Sport staff
Press Association
Kenza Dali celebrates with team-mates after scoring France’s second goal (James Elsby/AP)
Kenza Dali celebrates with team-mates after scoring France’s second goal (James Elsby/AP)

France are through to a World Cup quarter-final against co-hosts Australia after ending Morocco’s historic campaign by beating them 4-0 in Adelaide.

Les Bleues were very much favourites to progress heading into the contest against the lowest-ranked side left in the tournament at 72nd in the world, who had been among the competition debutants this summer.

And the job looked all but done after world number five-ranked France hit a quickfire treble of first-half goals, with Kadidiatou Diani opening the scoring before providing assists for Kenza Dali and Eugenie Le Sommer.

Morocco, managed by former France international Reynald Pedros, had a less torrid time of it after the break but conceded again in the 70th minute when Le Sommer headed home.

Herve Renard’s team will now face Australia in Brisbane on Saturday in the last eight, looking to avoid elimination at that stage for a third World Cup in a row.

The exit for Pedros’ side, who had registered victories over South Korea and Colombia in Group H, was another case of an impressive, ground-breaking Morocco run concluding with defeat to France, eight months on from the semi-final defeat for the men’s team at the World Cup in Qatar.

After scoring four times in the first half of the 6-3 win over Panama that concluded their group games, France – with skipper Wendie Renard and record scorer Le Sommer among various players restored to the starting XI – looked hungry for goals again early on at Hindmarsh Stadium.

And they took the lead on the quarter-hour mark when Diani, scorer of a hat-trick against Panama, headed in from Sakina Karchaoui’s cross to move to four goals for the tournament.

Diani was then assist-maker twice in quick succession as France raced into a 3-0 lead, teeing up Dali’s 20th-minute finish and seeing Nesryne El Chad’s attempted clearance three minutes later bounce off her to Le Sommer, who fired in.

The remainder of the first half saw France’s Selma Bacha shoot into the side-netting and Sandie Toletti power off-target from outside the box, before Morocco made a lively start to the second, which included Ibtissam Jraidi being thwarted by Pauline Peyraud-Magnin as she tried to go around the goalkeeper.

Moroccan goalkeeper Khadija Er-Rmichi subsequently dealt with a shot from Karchaoui, before being beaten again as Le Sommer connected with Vicki Becho’s cross at the back post – her third goal of the tournament, and 92nd for her country overall.

Diani looked sure to get a second herself soon after, only to fire over from close range as Morocco were spared a heavier defeat.


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