Morocco was drawn into a bunch that many labelled them underdogs within the 2022 World Cup.
The primary opponent was Croatia, the runner-up of the 2018 World Cup. Then, Belgium, with its ‘golden era,’ was a preferred choose to advance out of the group. Lastly, a hungry Canadian staff that completed atop CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying made its first World Cup look in 36 years.
That match 36 years in the past was a particular one. Morocco completed because the winners of a bunch with three European groups: England, Poland and Portugal. Furthermore, Morocco grew to become the primary African staff to prime a World Cup group. The Atlas Lions fell to a Lothar Matthäus purpose within the 88th minute to exit the World Cup.
Quick ahead to the current, and Morocco was the best-performing staff in CAF qualification for the World Cup 2022. It gained all six video games performed within the second stage. In doing so, Morocco scored 20 and conceded only one.
Then, simply three months earlier than the match, the staff skilled a big turning level. Morocco sacked head coach Vahid Halilhodzic. The Bosnian was infamous for his frosty relationships with various gamers. Hakim Ziyech didn’t characteristic for AFCON 2022. This angered each followers and the participant, as Ziyech retired from worldwide competitors.
Walid Regragui stepped in as Halilhodzic’s alternative. Regragui helped Wydad AC to win the Botola Professional, Morocco’s prime flight. Additionally, He led Wydad AC to its third CAF Champions League title. He’s simply the second Moroccan supervisor to win the African Champions League.
The return of Chelsea ahead Hakim Ziyech from retirement helped to cut back tensions within the squad.
Morocco lights up World Cup 2022
Morocco’s most important purpose within the 2022 World Cup was to enhance on the final match in 2018. In a bunch of Spain, Portugal and Iran, Morocco completed final within the group. Nonetheless, it compelled a draw out of Spain and solely misplaced 1-0 to Portugal through a Cristiano Ronaldo purpose.
Morocco’s marketing campaign started with a goalless draw in opposition to Croatia. Previous to the sport, most wrote off Morocco. Nonetheless, the precise recreation leaned in direction of the African facet. Aggressive urgent created eight purpose makes an attempt to Croatia’s six.
In matchday two, Morocco pulled off one of many biggest upsets in World Cup historical past. It smashed European giants Belgium, 2-0. For the primary time since 1998, Morocco gained a World Cup recreation. But, this was way more spectacular than a 3-0 win over Scotland in 1998.
With a 2-1 win over Canada within the final group stage recreation, Morocco clinched first place in Group F. For the primary time in 36 years, Morocco was within the final 16 of the World Cup.
The primary opponent within the knockout stage was Spain. La Roja had been the favorites, in fact. Regardless of ending runner-up to Japan within the group, Spain is at all times a troublesome opponent. Luis Enrique’s facet dominated possession and created nearly all of the possibilities. Nonetheless, that was not sufficient for the win.
After 120 minutes of neither staff discovering the web, the sport went to penalties. Because of the heroics of Moroccan goalkeeper Bono, Morocco prevailed 3-0 on penalties as they superior to the quarterfinals.
One other robust European opponent waited within the final eight. The Atlas Lions went up against Portugal. Even with the heroics of Cristiano Ronaldo on the sidelines, Portugal introduced a distinct problem from Spain. Morocco’s glorious positional self-discipline and a powerful defensive position prevented Portugal from mounting many creative threats. Morocco won the game because of a purpose by Youssef En-Nesyri.
Based on the Moroccan Coach, their journey is the results of the onerous work they’ve put in. Regragui says it’s not merely a miracle.
“It’s not about miracles, however concerning the onerous work that we’ve got gone via throughout our journey to this point. The World Cup is fantastic for the gamers. I hoped to take part within the match as a participant , however destiny gave me the chance to return as a coach to develop into the happiest individual on the face of the earth. Earth, now we will dream of profitable the World Cup,” coach Walid Regragui mentioned.
Historical past makers
No matter occurs now, Morocco has made historical past on this match by turning into the primary African nation to achieve the World Cup semi-finals. Morocco knocked out two European footballing titans within the knockout section, prompting supervisor Walid Regragui to check with Morocco because the “Rocky of this World Cup.”
Ultimately, France was merely an excessive amount of. Morocco received previous the third-place staff and the second-place staff from 2018. The champions from 4 years in the past had an excessive amount of expertise with their scientific ending within the semifinal.
Regardless, Morocco will be the primary staff to complete on the proverbial podium on the World Cup from Africa. A feat deservedly earned after a grueling run to the ultimate 4 of the match.
PHOTO: IMAGO / Agencia MexSport
Information to World Cup 2022
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