Morocco’s coach, Waleed Rugragui, said Morocco is like the main character in the Sylvester Stallone-starrer “Rocky,” who knows how to beat the best team.
Late tonight, the first semi-final match of the FIFA World Cup will be played in Qatar, in which the Moroccan team, which reached the semi-finals for the first time, will face the defending champion France team. In their journey to the semi-finals, Morocco have beaten some of the best teams in the world, including Belgium, Spain and Portugal, and their defense and goalkeepers have played an important role in their journey.
Morocco’s performance in the 2022 FIFA World Cup, which is full of uncertainty and ups and downs, has surprised football fans the most. Morocco was not only the first African team to reach the semi-finals of the World Cup, but also in their impressive campaign. The rival team did not allow any player to score. Against Canada, Morocco won the match by two goals to one, with the only goal scored by their own player, Naif Egaard. A contender to win the tournament, credit goes to his defense, of course.
Morocco’s coach Waleed Rugargui has made them a strong defensive unit. In the Super 16 match against Spain, Morocco had only 23% of the ball but still the match went in favor of the Atlas Lions. Despite having 73% possession, Spain only managed to hit the target twice. In the quarter-final against Portugal, Morocco’s game was not very aggressive either, but an impregnable defense and Youssef Al-Nasseri’s early goal were enough for them to win.
Ahead of Morocco’s World Cup campaign, however, many questions were being raised about the coach’s strategy. In coach Waleed’s 26-member squad, only 12 players were of Moroccan origin, while the remaining 14 came to play for their country from different European countries. He has put everything on the line. “Before the World Cup, some people raised questions about European-born players, today they proved that every Moroccan player who has a passport is Moroccan. I myself was born in France,” the coach said. Yes, but no one can doubt my love for my country.” Coach Walid Rugargui said after the win against Portugal that Morocco is like the main character in the movie “Rocky” starring Sylvester Stallone, the best team. They know how to beat.