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Soccer. World Cup 2022: four things to know about Morocco, opponent of France in the semi-finals

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  • 1 A group with a Ligue 1 accent

  • They were six. Morocco eliminated Portugal from the 2022 World Cup (1-0) with six players playing or having played in Ligue 1 on Saturday. There were the holders Achraf Hakimi (Paris SG), Azzedine Ounahi, Sofiane Boufal (Angers), Romain Saïss (ex-Angers), and the two entrants, Zakaria Aboukhlal (Toulouse) and the Brestois Achraf Dari.

    Injured since the round of 16 against Spain, the former Rennais Nayef Aguerd is even added to this list. A contingent that truly carries this selection, like the Angevin Ounahi, impressive in Qatar. “My God, where is this guy from? He plays really well! He surprised me, ”said Luis Enrique, Spain coach, after elimination in the round of 16 (0-0, 3-0 tab). ?

  • 2 An exceptional course and defense

  • The hunting table of Moroccans is prestigious. After hooking the finalist of the 2018 World Cup (Croatia), beating a semi-finalist of the same World Cup (Belgium) in chickens, the Atlas Lions disposed of the semi-finalist of the last Euro (Spain ) then the 2016 European champion (Portugal)! Better still, the Moroccan selection is, unlike the team of France or Argentina, one of the only two teams in the tournament still undefeated, with Croatia. She conceded only one goal on this World Cup (during the 2-1 victory against Canada).

    “We defended with a sense of combat, as a team”, underlined one of the great men of this selection, Sofyan Amrabat (Fiorentina). In football, individuals make the difference, but it is the teams that win the matches. All friendly matches and competitions combined, the men of Walid Regragui even remain on a series of twelve matches without the slightest defeat.

    Achraf Hakimi and Hakim Ziyech, two of the great men of this Moroccan selection. (Photo Kirill Kudryavtsev/AFP)
  • 3 All behind Regragui

  • “Walid (Regragui) is a real leader of men, described the Breton technician Hervé Guegan, his former assistant. He is able to federate a group, to take people with him (…). Since he started this job, he wins all the time.? Inducted coach two months before the start of the 2022 World Cup, in place of Vahid Halilhodzic, Walid Regragui presents himself as the conductor of this selection and seems to be at the origin of this fullness displayed by the group. Moroccan. You just have to see these images, at each exploit, of a group that carries it, at the end of the match and this shared communicative joy. Native of Corbeil-Essonnes and former player with an honest career, spent between Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 in France, the former coach of Fus Rabat or Wydad Casablanca is still undefeated with the selection. “Since he has been doing this job, he has been winning all the time,” summed up Hervé Guégan.

    TOPSHOT - Morocco's players throw Morocco's coach Walid Regragui in the air as they celebrate at the end of the Qatar 2022 World Cup round of 16 football match between Morocco and Spain at the Educati
    Walid Regragui, coach of Morocco, carried by his players after yet another feat. (File photo Glyn Kirk/AFP)
  • 4 The strength of a continent

  • Could it be this mystical force of a whole continent and a whole mass of peoples which would pull Morocco towards the exploit with all its might? The Atlas Lions are writing their history on this 2022 World Cup, since they have never been so far in such a competition but are also writing the history of their continent. Never an African selection had gone to the semi-finals of a World Cup.

    “That’s it, they did it! Congratulations Morocco for this achievement. Long live Africa, ”Ivorian legend Didier Drogba enthused on social networks. “Historic! And fantastic! The Atlas Lions have qualified for the semi-finals of the World Cup! Congratulations to Morocco”, rejoiced Macky Sall, the president of Senegal. ” Unbelievable ! Morocco is the first African country to qualify for the semi-finals. The whole continent supports you”, added the former illustrious striker of Cameroon, president of the Federation of the country now, Samuel Eto’o. Through the Moroccan selection, the whole of Africa is vibrating and dreaming of a World Cup final. And that is for virtual support, because real support, in stadiums, is just as exemplary.

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