Best friends Kylian Mbappe and Ashraf Hakimi will face off in the semi-finals

Mbappé versus Hakimi – the tournament’s top scorer with five goals in five games against the peerless talent of the tournament’s best defense who conceded only once, and it was an own goal.

Kylian Mbappé will find his good friend Achraf Hakimi during this World Cup.

Not like the first time in Qatar last week, when the French star went to visit his Paris Saint-Germain team-mate at the Morocco team’s hotel in downtown Doha.

On Wednesday December 14, Mbappé will be marked by Hakimi in the World Cup semi-final – his way to Morocco’s well-defended goal on the French left wing blocked by a player he rates highly.


These are the words Mbappé wrote in English on his Twitter account in January, referring to the right-back position Hakimi holds for club and country.

It’s a high-level duel as a World Cup summit approaches that would be historic for either team.

Mbappé versus Hakimi – the tournament’s top scorer with five goals in five games against the peerless talent of the tournament’s best defense who conceded only once, and it was an own goal.

It was the start of a beautiful friendship when the Moroccan player joined Mbappé at PSG in July 2021 from Inter Milan for an estimated transfer fee of 60 million euros ($63 million).

Two young men born within weeks of each other in 1998 – just months after France won their first World Cup title – hit it off quickly.

Hakimi explained that they share the same tastes in music and video games, and that Mbappé helps his friend from Madrid to learn French.

Hakimi is a devout Muslim and for the Eid Mubarak holiday this year they have teamed up for a video shared by their club. Hakimi guided Mbappé, who has family ties to Morocco’s North African neighbor Algeria, through tasting dishes from the Arab region.

On the French champion’s pitch, they have a series of repeated handshakes and goal celebrations. Playing for PSG gives them plenty of opportunities.

“It’s easy to play with a player like him,” Hakimi said of Mbappé. “To give him the ball, knowing he will make the difference.”

Mbappé has made a difference at this World Cup, notably when he scored twice in wins over Denmark in the group stage and Poland in the round of 16.

In the quarter-finals on Saturday, Mbappé was controlled as much as possible by fast England right-back Kyle Walker. He only got one clear shot chance that went high and wide.

Still, he was involved in the move that led to France’s first goal in a 2-1 win and the decisive late winner followed up with a corner on the left flank which he helped create.

The Moroccan defense has held up like an unwavering force and all of their European opponents so far – Croatia, Belgium, Spain and Portugal – have failed to score in four full games plus extra time for the Spaniards .

Hakimi helped limit Morocco’s opponents to just 10 combined attempts on target, according to FIFA post-match stats. Canada got an own goal from defender Nayef Aguerd in a 2-1 victory for Morocco.

Mbappé, meanwhile, managed 10 shots on target alone for a France side whose tally of 11 goals is the best of the four semi-finalists.

At the Al Khor stadium on Wednesday, Mbappé pursues his goal of being the youngest player with Pelé to win two World Cup titles. France can become the first to retain their title since Pelé and Brazil in 1962.

Hakimi wants to be among the first African players to reach a World Cup final. That would be against Croatia or Argentina, whose star Lionel Messi also plays for Qatar-owned PSG.

May the best friend win.


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