FIFA Women's World Cup
Kadidiatou Diani does it all as France rolls past Morocco, 4-0
FIFA Women's World Cup

Kadidiatou Diani does it all as France rolls past Morocco, 4-0

Updated Aug. 8, 2023 9:05 p.m. ET

Kadidiatou Diani spearheaded France into another World Cup quarterfinal, courtesy of a devastating first-half burst against Morocco.

The dynamic forward was scorer, provider and all-around instigator for the in-form French attack, which opened up a 3-0 lead within 23 minutes and never looked back, eventually winning by a 4-0 margin.

After a group campaign that wasn't always convincing, this performance was evidence that Les Bleues means business, and their last eight battle with host nation Australia in Brisbane on Saturday (3 a.m. ET on FOX and the FOX Sports app) shapes up as a mouthwatering matchup.

Diani, for so long one of her nation's most effective contributors, was in a relentless mood at Adelaide's Hindmarsh Stadium and Morocco, having stunned world No. 2 Germany by beating it out for the second qualifying spot from Group H, had no answer.


[France vs. Morocco highlights: France dominates to 4-0 win to advance]

The opener came on 15 minutes and saw Diani find space in the box to powerfully head home an excellent cross from Sakina Karchaoui to put the Group F winner in front.

Five minutes later, the 28-year-old was in assist mode, teaming up with Kenza Dali is a superb move. Dali set Diani off running with a timely flick, received the return ball seconds later, and made no mistake in firing the ball past Morocco goalkeeper Khadija Er-Rmichi.

Then, on 23 minutes, Diani won the ball by exerting pressure in a dangerous area and it fell neatly into the path of veteran teammate Eugenie Le Sommer, who again beat Er-Rmichi and essentially put the game beyond doubt. It was Le Sommer's 91st goal for France in total and her seventh at a World Cup – both national records – while the initial French burst spanned just eight minutes and 10 seconds.

France vs. Morocco Highlights | 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup | Round of 16

France now finds itself presented with a fascinating opportunity. The program was deeply disappointed with how things worked out four years ago, when – as tournament host – the run ended with defeat to the United States in the last eight. The quarterfinal was also the stopping point in 2015, on that occasion going down to Germany.

Diani, having just signed a four-year deal with Lyon in her home country after spending six years with PSG, is an instrumental part of the positive vibe around this year's effort, as is Le Sommer, 34 now but in as good of form as ever.

France is clicking under head coach Herve Renard, for whom this was an emotional night – having led Morocco's men's team at the World Cup in 2018.

Le Sommer added a fourth toward the end with a close-range header and it was smiles throughout the French camp, although they know that a big test lies ahead against a surging Australia squad that hopes to welcome back Sam Kerr in a more involved role.

However, behind Diani, France is a force to be reckoned with and looms as a severe challenge for the Matildas.

The World Cup crew discusses France's overwhelming 4-0 victory over Morocco in the Round of 16

Martin Rogers is a columnist for FOX Sports and the author of the FOX Sports Insider newsletter. Follow him on Twitter @MRogersFOX and subscribe to the daily newsletter.

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