Raphael Varane has praised Morocco for reaching the World Cup semi-finals and has urged France to not be overconfident going into the game.
This World Cup, more than most others, has seen the perceived underdog triumph against the stronger nations. Japan beat both Germany and Spain, Morocco dumped La Roja and Portugal out in the knockout stages and Croatia found it within themselves to send Brazil out of the tournament on Saturday. The so-called ‘better’ teams might have gone into the games with the wrong mentality, something Varane is keen to avoid.
Speaking in a pre-match news conference, the defender said: “We have enough experience to avoid falling into this trap (of being over confident). They’ve reached that stage for a reason. They defend very well, it will be extremely difficult. We, the leaders of the team, have to prepare all the players for another battle.
“It’s a World Cup semi-final, you need to give everything until the end if you want to deserve your place in the final. They’re writing Moroccan football history, they have a collective force with performances that give them a lot of confidence.”
France are seen by many to be the favourites to go on and lift the World Cup on Sunday, becoming the first side since Brazil in 1958 and 1962 to retain the most prestigious prize in world football. However, they face a Morocco side who haven’t lost a game at the tournament thus far and have not conceded a goal scored by an opposition player, with only West Ham defender Nayef Aguerd scoring an own goal in the 2-1 win over Canada.
While it’s unclear who’ll be partnering Varane at the back, the Manchester United man will almost certainly start and will be tasked with keeping the likes of Youssef En-Nesyri quiet as France go in search of a second World Cup triumph.