Fiorentina and Morocco midfielder Sofyan Amrabat reveals the rather curious conversation he had with Milan and France striker Olivier Giroud during the World Cup semi-final. ‘I said to him, just STOP!’

The game ended 2-0 for Les Bleus with goals from Milan left-back Theo Hernandez and substitute Randal Kolo Muani, while Giroud and Jawad El Yamiq hit the woodwork.

It was the culmination of an extraordinary tournament for Morocco, who became the first African side ever to play in the World Cup semi-final and will now face Croatia on Sunday for third place.

Speaking to NOS after the game, Amrabat revealed just how hard France were working to neutralise the Moroccan threat.

“Their striker, Olivier Giroud, followed me everywhere all over the field. I said to him, just STOP! He replied that he was instructed to follow me for the whole game.”

Morocco lost 2-0, but had 61 per cent possession and 13 shots to France’s 14, so it was a very even match decided by small margins.

“We feel very bitter that we couldn’t do more. France let us have the initiative from the start, so I guess that’s a compliment really.

“Unfortunately, it was tough after stupidly conceding such an early goal and we had to play into their hands, with the pace they have upfront.”

Amrabat was clearly distraught and couldn’t quite grasp what Morocco had achieved by reaching the semi-final.

“Maybe when we look back, we’ll realise it, but right now it’s mostly bitterness. It’s especially painful when the game was so close.”

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