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FIFA World Cup 2022: Morocco takes up fourth


The Morocco Cinderella run at the FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar came to an end after a 2-1 defeat to Croatia in their bronze-medal match on Saturday, finishing the tournament in fourth place.

The match opened with a bang with Croatia landing the first blow seven minutes into the contest courtesy of a Josko Gvardiol goal.

Morocco equalised two minutes later when Achraf Dari found the back of the net. Croatia found the breakthrough. Shortly before the half-time break, Mislav Orsic gave his side the advantage.

As Morocco, and the wider Arab and African world they should be proud since they are the first African team to reach the last four where they fell 2-0 to reigning 2018 champions France in their semi-final clash.

The Atlas Lions exceeded all expectations by beating second-ranked Belgium in the group stage and then eliminating European powerhouses Spain and Portugal in the knockout phase.

After the encounter speaking to the media, Morocco boss Walid Regragui said;

“We wanted to bring joy to our fans but we’re still happy, we’re among the four best teams in the world.

“We provided everyone with a good show, we never gave up. Congratulations to Croatia, they deserve their third place. We are a young team that is still learning.

“Sure, I am a little disappointed by this second consecutive defeat, but we did everything that we could.

“Physically it was difficult, our players got tired, it was very intense. We wanted to make the fans more proud than they already were, that’s it.

“I think we showed our strength, we showed that African football is prepared to face the top teams in the world with efficiency and playing at the highest level.

“We probably will only realise what we accomplished in Qatar after four years, in the next World Cup. The pressure will also be greater, there will be expectation around us. It’s natural.

“We made a great achievement but we want to do it again. It will not be easy but that’s the objective.

“Through experience you get stronger and I hope we learn and grow and build in our children in Africa a football DNA that lasts.

“We have now allowed children to dream, dream of being footballers and going to the World Cup. That is priceless. As for the impact in our country, we have set the bar high.

“I’m sure that in 15 years an African team will win the World Cup.”

Morocco’s journey at the tournament.

Group F

23rd November

Match: Morocco vs Croatia 0-0 (Al Bayt Stadium)

27th November

Match: Belgium vs Morocco 0-2 (Al Thumama Stadium)

Scorers: Romain Saïss (73′), Zakaria Aboukhlal (90+2′)

1st December

Match: Canada vs Morocco 1-2 (Al Thumama Stadium)

Scorers: Canada – Nayef Aguerd (40′ OG); Morocco – Hakim Ziyech (4′), Youssef En-Nesyri (23′)


Pos.       Team      Points
1.          Morocco   7
2.          Croatia     5
3.          Belgium    4
4.          Canada.    0

Round of 16

6th December

Match: Morocco vs Spain 3-0 on penalties (Education City Stadium)

Scorers: Morocco – Abdelhamid Sabiri, Hakim Ziyech, Achraf Hakimi


10th December

Match: Morocco vs Portugal 1-0 (Al Thumama Stadium)

Scorer: Youssef En-Nesyri (42′)


14th December

Match: France vs Morocco 2-0 (Al Bayt Stadium)

Scorers: Theo Hernandez (5′), Randal Kolo Muani (79′)

Third-place match.

17th December

Match: Croatia vs Morocco 2-1 (Khalifa International Stadium)

Scorers: Croatia – Josko Gvardiol (7′), Mislav Orsic (42′); Morocco – Achraf Dari (9′).

In the final game of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, Lionel Messi’s Argentina will face Kylian Mbappe ‘s France on Sunday.

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