World Cup

Bromance on hold as Mbappe and Hakimi lock horns

When France plays Morocco in the World Cup semifinal on Wednesday, Kylian Mbappe and Achraf Hakimi will put their relationship to the side and possibly try to keep a promise they made.

“After we play against Morocco, I have to destroy my friend,” Mbappe said in a video on a trip to Qatar in January with their club Paris St Germain.

“I’m going to kick him,” a smiling Hakimi responded.

As Mbappe lines up on the left side of France’s attack, he will come into contact with Hakimi, the right back he mentored after the Moroccan joined PSG from Inter Milan in 2021.

They share a seat on planes, play video games together, and go on vacation together.

Coach Walid Regragui has great faith in Hakimi, despite the fact that Morocco won’t have any particular strategies to shackle Mbappe like England did with Kyle Walker there and doubling down on him in their 2-1 quarterfinal defeat.

“I have no doubt that Hakimi will be on top form to get the better of his friend,” Regragui told a news conference on Tuesday.

At the World Cup, Mbappe has five goals and two assists to his credit, and Hakimi has been instrumental in helping Morocco allow only 10 shots on goal throughout their five games.

Hakimi impersonated a penguin as he did with Mbappe and Sergio Ramos at PSG to celebrate his winning penalty against Spain in the round of 16.

Mbappe was among the first to congratulate Hakimi when Morocco advanced to the quarterfinals. On one of his days off from the World Cup, Mbappe also paid a visit to Hakimi at his hotel in Doha.

Hugo Lloris, captain of France, is convinced that at the Al Bayt stadium, their friendship will be put on hold.

“The event will take over. Even if you’re friends off the pitch, it’s the World Cup so you separate the two,” he told a news conference.

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