FIFA World Cup: Morocco Has Every Right to Believe Against Portugal

Posted by Xchange Tickets on December 9th, 2022

As Morocco and Spain played out the FIFA World Cup final minutes of extra time on Tuesday. A wall of hands clapped rhythmically from the stands of the Education City Stadium in Al Rayyan, Qatar. The clapping choir was led by a large drum from the Morocco ends. Which brought them all together in their effort to keep their team in the game. Because they had traveled 5 kilometers more than their European counterparts, Morocco required their support.

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They won a penalty shootout over a Spain team that dominated the ball and did more than just stay in the game. Spanish players were met with deafening jeers before each penalty. Giving the impression that Morocco was the FIFA World Cup host for a brief moment. Before the game, Luis Enrique assigned his players 1,000 penalties as homework. However, the atmosphere was something they did not anticipate.

Morocco made it to the last 8 for the first time in their history after Spain missed their 1st 3 penalties. Given that the Atlas Lions were the 1st African team to fee past the round of 16 of the Football World Cup in 1986. Many Moroccans may feel that this remarkable achievement has been long overdue. They did that in some way, pretty much the 1st African team to win their group at the World Cup. The Atlas Lions, on the other hand, could barely cover themselves for eras after busy their way into the hit rounds.

Football World Cup: 36 Years in the Dark

Morocco limped to fourth place in the subsequent two Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) competitions after their impressive performance at the FIFA World Cup in Mexico in 1986. A Moroccan golden generation that only qualified for the AFCON three times. 1990 and 2000 seemed to be running out of time. Their best finish was a run to the quarterfinals in 1998. Morocco still had enough on the international stage to qualify for the Football World Cup, but they were inept to copy their 1986 heroics.

In 1994 and 1998, they failed to advance past the group stages. Until 2018, the North African team did not qualify for the FIFA World Cup again. On the continent, they significantly improved upon their 2002 group stage finish to reach the final two years later. Where they were defeated 2-1 by Tunisia, their archrivals. In four of the subsequent six AFCONS. Morocco was unable to advance past the group stage due to its failure to capitalize.

FIFA World Cup: Morocco was kicked out

After refusing to host the competition due to concerns about the spread of Ebola in the previous two editions. Herve Renard assisted the Lions in sharpening their claws in 2016. Morocco qualified for their 1st Football World Cup in 20 years by reaching the AFCON quarterfinals.

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Despite not making it out of a group with Spain, Portugal, and Iran Football World Cup teams. Renard and Morocco's courageous football won the hearts of many. By 2019, the Lions were once more favored to win the AFCON as the Frenchman continued to streamline the group. However, in the round of 16, Benin defeated them on penalties.

Enter veteran coach Vahid Halilhodzic, who suspended team captain Hakim Ziyech for what he frequently referred to as disciplinary violations. Despite his nearly flawless performance in the FIFA World Cup qualifiers. Halilhodzic had been let go three times just a few months before the Football World Cup.

He lost his employment as Ivory Coast mentor four months before the 2010 release, Left his post as Japan mentor two months before the FIFA World Cup competition in Russia. So Foot was told by Halilhodzic. I believed that we could compete successfully at the World Cup with the Moroccan team I had assembled. Walid Regragui, the new head coach, is doing exactly that in Qatar.

Football World Cup: Walid Regragui Morocco’s Guardiola

After he retired as a player in September 2012. Regragui began working as an assistant coach for Morocco's national World Cup Football team. The 47-year-old returned nearly a decade later in a much larger capacity. This time as head coach with just over 2 months remaining until the FIFA World Cup. For more know about Football World Cup Tickets.

As a result of his appointment. All African teams would have native coaches for the first time in Football World Cup history. A historic event for the continent. The fact that the man who completed Africa's puzzle is currently leading the continent's charge in Qatar is not surprising. Regragui is referred to as the Moroccan Guardiola in his home country. After he orchestrated Wydad AC's CAF Champions League victory a few months ago, the nickname began to spread.

During this FIFA World Cup, his bald head, fashion sense, and animated expressions were on the touchline. And the ability to read game situations has made him a more well-known nickname. Although Regragui idolizes Pep Guardiola. He also deeply admires Diego Simeone and Carlo Ancelotti. 2 coaches who do whatever it takes to win, despite their distinct styles. This is something that most people are unaware of.

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Regragui may have channelled more of Simeone than Guardiola during their victory over Spain, as his Moroccan Football World Cup team won with only 23% possession. The North African team completed 229 passes, which is less than one-fourth of Spain's total. Morocco had the majority of their players in their half for the majority of the game due to Spain's dominance. After the game, Regragui made the revelation that his team had worked on their game plan for 4 days.

By crowding the middle of the field, the goal was to give Spain the ball and stifle their progress. Morocco's strategy showed this, as they applied 573 defensive pressures, the most of any FIFA World Cup team in the tournament. It was a hazardous ruse, yet Regragui had a distinct advantage over Yassine Bounou, otherwise called Bono. In all competitions, the Spanish club's goalkeeper at Sevilla has saved over a quarter of the penalties he has faced (5/19, excluding shootouts).

The former built the Moroccan Football World Cup team

Bono moved to Spain at the age of 21 and has played for four Spanish teams since. He must be familiar with this Spanish team. The former coach of Wydad AC built the Moroccan Football World Cup team. This focus is not surprising given that the team Regragui took over from Halilhodi had given up 12 goals in their previous ten games. Morocco has only conceded one goal in seven games since taking over in August, and that goal was an own goal against Canada.

Coincidentally, Morocco's Youssef Chippo became the first African to score an own goal at the World Cup in 1998; consequently, they have an odd history of doing so on a global stage. Regragui's men have been one of the best defensive teams at the FIFA World Cup tournament, except for their own goal, which is the only blip in their impenetrable defence. The Atlas Lions have experienced the ninth-lowest rate of non-penalty xG per 90 minutes thus far.

FIFA World Cup: Atlas Lions Are Roaring in Qatar

Morocco hasn't just focused on defence at this year's FIFA World Cup. Regragui led his team to the top of Group F, becoming the first African nation to score seven points on the group stage. This made him the first coach in African history to reach the quarterfinals. A mix of approaches led to the development of Regragui's coaching principles. He changes things up in his style to get the best out of the players he has. The quickness and directness of his team are fundamental strengths.

Morocco has players like Hakim Ziyech, Sofyan Amrabat, Sofiane Boufal, and Achraf Hakimi who can quickly pass or carry the ball from one end of the field to the other. The Football World Cup team styles graph below demonstrates this, showing that Morocco. When it comes to the ball, especially in the final third, the 1976 AFCON champions are not ponderous.

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Football World Cup: Morocco has had the third-lowest field

At Qatar, Morocco has had the third-lowest field tilt, which is a measure of territorial dominance. So far, it has been just 28.7%, which ranks third. Despite this, the Atlas Lions outshot all three of their opponents in the group stage, even though they had significantly less possession in all games. Despite having the second-lowest possession rate at the FIFA World Cup, Regragui's team has shown a sense of directness, drive, and aggression by quickly transitioning after turnovers.

They have fewer bodies moving forward due to their tendency to move the ball quickly during transitions. Which frequently results in them being outnumbered in the attack. Consequently, Morocco's 78.5 successful passes in the opposing half per 90 are the FIFA World Cup's lowest. Despite this, they have maintained their forward effectiveness, scoring 3.1 expected goals (xG) from 30 shots thus far.

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