team news, kick-off time and TV channel

Head coach Walid Regragui was hoisted aloft by his players after their historic victory - Justin Setterfield/Getty Images

Head coach Walid Regragui was hoisted aloft by his players after their historic victory – Justin Setterfield/Getty Images

Morocco fans with World Cup semi-final tickets are struggling to reach Doha after an airline was mysteriously forced by Qatari authorities to cancel extra flights.

Royal Air Maroc (RAM) had previously said it would reserve an additional 30 flights for the contest in France, but the Reuters news agency reports that only 14 flights are ultimately planned. That may leave more than a thousand cardholders at home for kick-off.

In an email to customers, the airline blamed Qatari authorities for unspecified restrictions. “As a result of the latest restrictions imposed by the Qatari authorities, Royal Air Maroc regrets to inform customers about the cancellation of their flights operated by Qatar Airways,” said RAM.

Qatari government officials and FIFA have yet to respond to Telegraph Sport requests for comment. At least seven flights were canceled on Wednesday, preventing fans who had already booked tickets for matches or hotel rooms from traveling.

However, with the entire Middle East and Africa backing Morocco, numbers are still rising in Doha before kick-off.

France take on Morocco in the World Cup semi-finals after 2018 champions defeated England 2-1 and the Atlas Lions made history by becoming the first African side to reach this stage of the tournament after beating Portugal 1-0. have defeated.

France are the heavy favorites heading into the clash, but Morocco will be hoping for another giant kill, having topped their group and then ravaged early contenders Spain in the Round of 16.

The winner will face Argentina in the World Cup final on Sunday, December 18.

When is France vs Morocco

Theirs is the second of the semi-finals, taking place on Wednesday, December 14 at Al Bayt Stadium. The first semi-final, between Argentina and Croatia, took place on December 13 at the Lusail Stadium.

What time is kick-off?

Perfectly timed for the British crowd, the game kicks off at 7pm.

What TV channel is it on?

The game will be shown live on BBC One and can also be streamed via BBC iPlayer.

How has France fared so far?

Despite several injuries, Les Blues have looked strong in their bid to defend their title. Kylian Mbappé has terrorized the defence, scoring five goals in the tournament so far and leading the race for the Golden Boot.

Their only slip-up was a 1-0 defeat to Tunisia in their final group game, but Didier Deschamps fielded a B team for that game as Les Bleus had already qualified.

They were convincing in their 3-1 last-16 win over Poland and battled well to beat England 2-1 in their quarter-final.

What does France say?

Head coach Deschamps told England after the game: “We are going to the semi-finals. We are closer to the final and this was an important performance tonight and we can believe, but we have an important game on Wednesday.

“In the past, the world champions didn’t always do well at the next World Cup and we succeeded.”

France’s Hugo Lloris had warned it could be “difficult to concentrate” amidst the raucous atmosphere, so “we have to be focused and be very precise”.

Morocco has a large expat population in the opponent country and a feverish atmosphere is expected in Paris and Marseille, among others.

In Doha, however, French support will be outnumbered 20 to one, and Morocco’s charismatic manager Walid Regragui, who was himself a native of France, says it gives his side an edge. “For me, we have the best fans in the world, maybe with Argentina and Brazil,” said Regragui.

“Now the world is starting to know what a Moroccan fan is. He is a crazy guy, loves his country and his club. Tomorrow you will have at least 20,000 people. He can come and support us and I am very happy because the World Cup can give an image giving from fans of Morocco.”

How has Morocco fared so far?

The African squad finished top of Group F after beating Belgium and Canada and a goalless draw against Croatia. In the last 16 matches, Morocco celebrated a historic World Cup victory over Spain. They defeated Luis Enrique’s side 3–1 on penalties after neither side managed to score in normal and extra time. They then had a hard-fought 1–0 victory over Portugal to become the first African nation to reach the semi-finals.

Morocco has benefited from their ties to the home game atmosphere thanks to the flood of support, not only from traveling fans, but also from the support of the Arab world, with more than 20,000 fans expected in Al Bayt.

Morocco delighted their fans at Al Thumama Stadium by beating Portugal 1-0 - Alberto Pizzoli/AFP

Morocco delighted their fans at Al Thumama Stadium by beating Portugal 1-0 – Alberto Pizzoli/AFP

What does Morocco say?

Ahead of the semi-final, Moroccan head coach Walid Regragui emphatically stressed that Morocco would not rest on its laurels after its historic victory over Portugal.

“We are not satisfied with the semi-final and are the first African team to do so. We want to move on.

“We are now one of the top four teams in the world and we want to reach the final. The best team, Brazil, has already been eliminated.

“We are hungry. I don’t know if it will be enough, but we want Africa to be at the top of the world. I know we are not favourites, but we are confident.

“You might think that’s crazy, but a little crazy is good.”

What is the results history of France and Morocco?

The two sides have played each other 11 times before, with Morocco winning once and France seven times. Three games ended in a draw. They have never faced each other in a major tournament and their last meeting was a 2-2 draw in an international friendly in 2007.

Paris Saint-Germain teammates Achraf Hakimi and Kylian Mbappe will put aside their friendship to stand up for their country - Daniel Cole/AP

Paris Saint-Germain teammates Achraf Hakimi and Kylian Mbappe will put aside their friendship to stand up for their country – Daniel Cole/AP

What is France’s World Cup record?

France is the defending champion who has triumphed in Russia. They also won at home in 1998. They came second in Germany in 2006 and lost to Italy on penalties after Zinedine Zidane’s infamous headbutt on Marco Materazzi. Only two countries – Italy and Brazil – have recorded back-to-back World Cup triumphs.

What is Morocco’s World Cup record?

The African side has qualified for the World Cup six times, but had never progressed beyond the Round of 16 until this tournament.

Latest team news

Moroccan captain Romain Saiss says he will “give everything” to be fit against France on Wednesday after being stretched in the 57th minute of the victory over Portugal.

Morocco have already missed their central defending partner, Nayef Aguerd, through an injury in their last 16 penalties against Spain. Saiss, who now plays for Turkey’s Besiktas, said “I’ll try, I don’t know” when asked if he will be fit.

“We’ll see, we’ll do some tests to see what kind of injury I have,” he added. “But I will do my best to be on the field. I hope it will be ok.”

France have no suspended players for the semi-finals and appeared to be uninjured in their game against England as they went into the same starting line-up for the second game in a row.

Latest quotes

France to win: 8/15

Morocco to win: 6/1

Draw: 11/4

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