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Kylian Mbappe vs Achraf Hakimi showdown could decide France vs Morocco

AL RAYYAN, Qatar – French goalkeeper Hugo Lloris knows exactly what it feels like to desperately want to crush a loved one’s dreams.

That was the situation with Loris last weekend. Blue The captain looked down on his England counterpart, longtime club teammate and close friend Harry Kane in the second half of the match in the quarter-finals of the World Cup. When you ignite something that becomes three lions Over the crossbar from the penalty spot easily marked the worst moment of his career. No one was happier than Loris.

A day before France and Morocco played in the semi-finals (2pm), Loris said Tuesday: “Even if we are friends off the pitch, if you are involved in a World Cup match and represent your country, It’s a priority,” he said. ET, FOX, FOX Sports app). “Your competitive spirit will carry over.”

Wednesday’s match will see even more interesting duels between friends when French superstar and Qatar 2022 top scorer Kylian Mbappe goes head-to-head with Morocco’s Achraf Hakimi.

The two played together at Paris Saint-Germain and are closer than Loris and Kane. They are not even one year apart. They share similar interests off the field and spend time together socially. Just last week, Mbappe, who led France to his 2018 title as a teenager, visited Hakimi at the team’s hotel in Morocco.

Now they are holding each other back from reaching the biggest games in their sport and others.

“I only came here to win the World Cup,” Mbappe said after France beat Poland. In order to win, it is necessary to bring Hakimi home. Meanwhile, Hakimi, whom Mbappe hailes as ‘the best right-back in the world’, wants nothing more than to hurt his sidekick’s heart.

Achraf Hakimi scores a penalty kick to send Morocco into the quarter-finals

Achraf Hakimi scores a penalty kick to send Morocco into the quarter-finals

Achraf Hakimi scored a penalty kick to send Morocco to the quarter-finals for the first time in World Cup history.

It’s a fascinating subplot of an already intriguing contest between two teams (and nations) with many other ties. Hakimi and Mbappe weren’t the only club team-mates on opposite sides on Wednesday, with Moroccan left-back Nousser his Mazrawi tasked with stopping Ousmane’s Dembele on the opposite wing and Germany’s Champions Bayern start his Munich.

French reserves Matteo Guendouzi and Jordan Veretou will face Amin Harit at Olympique de Marseille, while Moroccan centre-backs Naef Agerud and Alphonse Areola will play for West Ham in the English Premier League. However, Hakimi and Mbappe are the only teams predicted to go head-to-head, and the winner of their fight could decide which team wins – a unique challenge for both.

“It can be difficult playing teammates who know each other well,” said Loris, who has played alongside Kane in the Premier League for Tottenham for 10 years. “You can’t surprise them.”

Mbappe was mostly held back against England by another fast and athletic fullback in Kyle Walker. Hakimi, the French-born coach, has taken more offensive responsibility over Walid in his Legraghi counter-attacking scheme, leading the team in total touches in five games. But he also plays consummate defense, like the rest of the team. No opponent has scored a goal in Qatar’s Morocco.the only goal atlas lions In the group stage against Canada, Aguard admitted that they had inadvertently scored their own goal.

“They have the best defense in this World Cup,” French coach Didier Deschamps said on Tuesday in Morocco. He’s been very effective when he’s out front because he has some very good attackers at times.”

France is no different, with Mbappe leading the way. Some stars have struggled in a defensive knockout game – all eight of Portuguese icon Cristiano Ronaldo’s Career World Cup goals came in the first round and Argentina’s Lionel Messi as well as 8 out of 10 goals – Mbappé already has 2 in 2022 and 4 (out) 9) overall.

France’s Kylian Mbappé scores in the 90th minute against Poland

France's Kylian Mbappé scores in the 90th minute against Poland

Still, Leguragi believes Hakimi is ready to take on the challenge.

“It’s going to be a great duel between the two,” he said. “They’re both champions, they’re world-class players, and they’re both going to try.

“We should focus on what we can do to cause problems for France, and of course if we do, we will have to counter the threat of Killian,” he added. I have no doubt that I will be at my best to beat my friends.”

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Doug McIntyre is a football writer for FOX Sports. Before joining FOX Sports in 2021, he was a staff writer for ESPN and Yahoo Sports, where he covered multiple US men’s and women’s national teams at FIFA World Cup. Follow him on Twitter @ByDoug McIntyre.

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