Why Morocco’s Football World Cup success is no fluke

After three hours of continuous noise, the Education City Stadium was brought to library-like silence as Achraf Hakimi stood over the penalty spot. Hakimi was born in Madrid and the weight of Africa and the Arab world on his shoulders, but you would never have guessed as the Paris Saint-Germain coolly clipped the ball into the net and set off wild festivities not just in the stadium, but also in Morocco and for the Moroccan diaspora. This was a notable day for Morocco, Africa, Arabs, and Muslims. The Atlas Lions had roared to stun 2010 Football World Cup champion Spain and touch the quarterfinals of Qatar.

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Morocco Vs Portugal Tickets | Qatar Football World Cup Tickets | Football World Cup Ticket
Morocco Vs Portugal Tickets | Qatar Football World Cup Tickets | Football World Cup Ticket

 The significance of the occasion was not missing on head trainer Walid Regragui. Before it was just the Moroccans who help us, he said ahead of the match against Spain. Today it is the Africans and Arabs. For several, it was the shock of the tournament, as the North Africans won their initial ever knockout game at a Football World Cup. But how did Morocco get to the final 8 of the most prestigious rivalry in world football?

Return of Morocco’s chosen son

Several eyebrows were raised when the Moroccan Federation made the choice to sack Vahid Halilhodzic in August, just over three months ahead of the Football World Cup after the Bosnian trainer had guided the squad through qualifying for Qatar 2022. Then for those in Morocco, it was instead the heir to the Moroccan training throne simply taking his place at the excellent time. Affectionately nicknamed Rass l’Avocat (Avocado Head) because of his bald head, Regragui was a hard-tackling defender who, despite being born in France, chose to display the country of his family, notching up 45 caps.

 Since becoming a trainer, Regragui has enjoyed achievement everywhere he has been, important a mid-table Moroccan club FUS Rabat to their only ever league title. He had a brief stint in Qatar where he won the league with Al Duhail SC, previously moving back to Morocco where he led Wydad Casablanca to a league and Champions League double previous this year.

It was a matter of when, not if he would take charge of the national squad. Several Moroccans thought that it could be after the Football World Cup or in an insufficient year, but none were unfortunate when it was broadcast, he would take over the national side fewer than 100 days previously their initial match at the Football World Cup. In African football, Regragui has often been associated with Jose Mourinho’s appreciation of his tactical discipline and stellar man-management skills.

Morocco Vs Portugal Tickets | Qatar Football World Cup Tickets | Football World Cup Ticket
Morocco Vs Portugal Tickets | Qatar Football World Cup Tickets | Football World Cup Ticket

 Both of those have been present in the Football World Cup. Morocco has played further than 400 minutes of football at the tournament and negotiated a penalty shootout, and yet the Atlas Lions have conceded just once and that was an unsuccessful own goal against Canada in the squad’s final Group F game. After the dramatic shootout win against Spain, a video circulated on social media of Regragui running to the stands and hugging and kissing his mother who was in the crowd.

Regragui is a French-born Moroccan. He has assembled the most nationally diverse squad at the Football World Cup 14 of the 26 players were born outside of Morocco from six dissimilar states and has seamlessly integrated this group of players from around the world into one intelligible unit. Qatar Football World Cup tournaments can be hard emotionally to navigate as players are away from home for weeks but Regragui has counteracted that by letting the players’ families stay with the squad in camp in Qatar.

As with that emotional video of Regragui embracing his mother, one of the most heart-warming photos of the Football World Cup was Hakimi kissing his mother after Morocco’s success against Spain. It’s not only the players who have had their relatives with them. Regragui himself was recorded going to the stands to stay with his mother Fatima who said Morocco broadcaster Arriyadia in what way much it shows to her. During his complete profession as a player and as a trainer, I never traveled to review him, Fatima said. I’ve been living in France for extra than 50 years now and this is the opening rivalry that I left Paris for.

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Morocco Vs Portugal Tickets | Qatar Football World Cup Tickets | Football World Cup Ticket

Portugal Football World Cup 2022 results, squad list, fixtures, and latest odds

Portugal qualified for the Round 16 of the Qatar Football World Cup as Group H victors, despite losing their final group competition 2-1 to South Korea, and have today secured their place in the quarter-finals with a thumping 6-1 success against Switzerland. Back-to-back wins against Ghana and Uruguay proved sufficient for Portugal to range the knockouts.

 While their pre-match planning was overshadowed by the furor over Cristiano Ronaldo being dropped to the bench, they went on to thrash the Swiss thanks a lot to a hat-trick from Goncalo Ramos who displaced Ronaldo, and goals from Pepe, Raphael Guerreiro, and Rafael Leao, with their opponents only intelligent to muster up a consolation via Manuel Akanji in answer. Fernando Santos’ side will nowadays face Morocco in the previous 8. Guess much debate over whether Ronaldo should come back to the starting XI.

Portugal Football World Cup 2022 team

Portugal announced their 26-man team on November 10, which features a raft of Premier League players. Manchester City, Manchester United, and Wolves are signified in triplicate, plus there’s a lone Fulham player in Joao Palhinha. 

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Morocco Vs Portugal Tickets | Qatar Football World Cup Tickets | Football World Cup Ticket

Goalkeepers

Rui Patricio (AS Roma), Jose Sa (Wolverhampton Wanderers FC), Diogo Costa (FC Porto),

Defenders

Joao Cancelo (Manchester City), Pepe (FC Porto), Raphael Guerreiro (Borussia Dortmund), Ruben Dias (Manchester City), Diogo Dalot (Manchester United), Danilo Pereira (PSG), Antonio Silva (SL Benfica), Nuno Mendes (PSG).

Midfielders

Ruben Neves (Wolverhampton Wanderers FC), William Carvalho (Real Betis), Matheus Nunes (Wolverhampton Wanderers FC), Otavio Monteiro (FC Porto), Joao Palhinha (Fulham FC), Joao Mario (SL Benfica), Bernardo Silva (Manchester City), Vitinha (PSG), Bruno Fernandes (Manchester United).

Forwards

Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United), Rafael Leao (AC Milan), Ricardo Horta (SC Braga), Andre Silva (RB Leipzig), Goncalo Ramos (SL Benfica), Joao Felix (Atletico Madrid).

Morocco Vs Portugal Tickets | Qatar Football World Cup Tickets | Football World Cup Ticket
Morocco Vs Portugal Tickets | Qatar Football World Cup Tickets | Football World Cup Ticket

Who are the stars’ names?

All-time leading international goalscorer Cristiano Ronaldo will look to add the Football World Cup to his horde of trophies. Ronaldo took the official player of the game award in the initial success against Ghana, but Rafael Leao was the top-rated player by Telegraph Sport readers, scoring a rating of 8.3, also Ronaldo today has a cloud droopy done him. Bruno Fernandes is one of the squad’s talismans, while Leao is one to view as having impressed at AC Milan this season.

What is Portugal’s Football World Cup record?

Portugal has looked at the tournament 7 times. On their debut arrival in 1966, they recorded their peak-ever finish in third place.  Portugal seemed at the earlier 5 versions of the Football World Cup and fell in the round of 16 in Russia in 2018 when they were defeated 2-1 by Uruguay. 

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