The Moroccan women’s team was defeated 4-0 (3-0 at halftime) by France in the Round of 16 of the Football World Cup (Australia-New Zealand) on Tuesday in Adelaide. Kadidiatou Diani (15th), Kenza Dali (20th), and Eugenie Le Sommer (23rd, 71st) scored for France.
Morocco, the first Arab country to compete in the Women’s World Cup and advance to the second round, won respect at this global event after holding their own against a number of experienced teams.
The Atlas Lionesses had an exhilarating first round, losing to Germany (6-0), but coming back to defeat South Korea (1-0), and Colombia (1-0), they faced a French team that was determined to win this Cup, especially after losing to major world women’s teams like Germany and the United States.
The Atlas Lionesses made an early attempt to camp in the French zone, but the Moroccans were able to quell Hervé Renard’s charges and show the same defensive tenacity as in their previous two games.
A strong defense led by goalkeeper Khadija Er-remichi stopped French attempts to penetrate the flanks, especially the right flank.
Moroccans chose counterattacks in order to defend their goal, giving Les Bleues exclusive possession of the ball. It was a decision that paid off since after just 15 minutes, the French assault eventually broke through the Moroccan defense.
After a brief fright when Er-remichi parried Selma Bacha’s cross-shot in the 14th minute, French attacker Kadidiatou Diani scored the game’s first goal in the 15th. Following her hat-trick against Panama in the third group encounter, Diani scored her fourth goal of the tournament when a Sakina Karchaoui pass found her unmarked on the left side.
The French took advantage of the Moroccan defense’s lack of focus to win thanks to their early goal. By way of Kenza Dali’s inside post in the 20th minute, Les Bleues doubled their advantage.
After Nesryne El Chad made a poor clearance in the penalty area, they went ahead through Eugenie Le Sommer three minutes later. Le Sommer received the ball and unstoppably crossed the ball past Er-remichi.
The Moroccans started to take risks as the first half came to a close, but they didn’t really trouble goalkeeper Pauline Peyraud-Magnin.
The Moroccans returned in the second half with fresh goals for closing the score. Sakina Ouzraoui fed Ibtissam Jraidi at the back of the French defense, but the French goalkeeper was able to parry the ball away from Jraidi’s feet in the dying moments.
Le Sommer added a fourth goal for the French team just as the Moroccan players started to unsettle the French defense.
Despite being eliminated, the Moroccans made a solid first impression and provided a shining example of a squad that is improving and aspirating to enter the major leagues because of a progressive national vision for the advancement of women’s soccer.
For a place in the semi-finals, France will face Australia, who eliminated Denmark (2-0) in the Round of 16.