Morocco head into the 2022 World Cup trying to spring a shock or two.
Walid Regragui’s aspect breezed by means of qualifying to make it to Qatar and they’re at present the twenty second ranked footballing nation on this planet.
Only a few are speaking about them as a possible darkish horse, nevertheless, because of their poor World Cup document. Morocco have solely progressed past the group section as soon as in 5 appearances.
This is what to anticipate from the Atlas Lions on the World Cup.
Goalkeepers: Yassine Bounou (Sevilla), Munir El Kajoui (Al Wehda), Ahmed Reda Tagnaouti (Wydad Casablanca)
Defenders: Nayef Aguerd (West Ham United), Yahia Attiat Allah (Wydad Casablanca), Badr Benoun (Qatar SC), Achraf Dari (Stade Brest), Jawad El Yamiq (Actual Valladolid), Achraf Hakimi (Paris Saint-Germain), Noussair Mazraoui (Bayern Munich), Romain Saiss (Besiktas)
Midfielders: Sofyan Amrabat (Fiorentina), Selim Amallah (Customary Liege), Bilal El Khannouss (Racing Genk), Yahya Jabrane (Wydad Casablanca), Azzedine Ounahi (Angers), Abdelhamid Sabiri (Sampdoria)
Forwards: Zakaria Aboukhlal (Toulouse), Soufiane Boufal (Angers), Ilias Chair (Queens Park Rangers), Walid Cheddira (Bari), Youssef En-Nesyri (Sevilla), Abde Ezzalzouli (Osasuna), Abderrazak Hamdallah (Al Ittihad), Amine Harit (Olympique Marseille), Hakim Ziyech (Chelsea)
Morocco will probably be with out midfielder Imran Louza in Qatar after he picked up a nasty ankle damage in October. The Watford man is not set to return to motion till subsequent 12 months.
There are additionally issues about Amine Harit after he was carried off on a stretcher in Marseille’s Ligue 1 conflict in opposition to Monaco of their remaining bout earlier than the World Cup. Described by supervisor Igor Tudor as a “very large damage”, Harit’s knee has put his World Cup in critical jeopardy.
Ez Abde and Tarik Tissoudali additionally didn’t make the 26-man squad because of their respective accidents.
On a brighter be aware, West Ham defender Nayef Aguerd is heading to Qatar regardless of choosing up a significant damage simply three video games into his Hammers profession. Aguerd’s ankle damage, sustained in pre-season, saved him out of motion for months however the defender has since made his return and is prepared for the World Cup.
It has been a comparatively quiet 2022/23 marketing campaign for Paris Saint-Germain full-back Achraf Hakimi, however the stay wire in defence will undoubtedly function Morocco’s driving drive in Qatar. Hakimi has scored eight occasions in 52 caps for the nationwide crew.
Chelsea winger Hakim Ziyech has been fairly nameless in 2022, however Morocco supporters are thrilled to have him again enjoying for the Atlas Lions. After refusing to play underneath the earlier regime and retiring from worldwide soccer earlier this 12 months, new supervisor Walid Regragui instantly recalled the 29-year-old and he’s heading to Qatar.
Youssef En-Nesyri is Morocco’s fourth all-time main goalscorer with 14 objectives. Like his fellow star teammates, the striker has endured a subdued 2022/23 marketing campaign to this point. Nonetheless, he’ll be trying to make a reputation for himself with the world watching.
Achraf Hakimi might be the star of this Morocco aspect, however it’s probably that he will not even begin in his most well-liked place on the World Cup. The presence of the technically proficient Noussair Mazraoui, now of Bayern Munich, at right-back means Hakimi will change over to the left. Lucien Favre utilised the PSG star on the other flank loads of occasions throughout his spell at Borussia Dortmund.
Walid Regragui will probably be anticipated to deploy a 4-3-3 in Qatar.
Morocco predicted XI: Bono; Mazraoui, Dari, Saiss, Hakimi; Amrabat, Ounahi, Sabiri; Ziyech, En-Nesyri, Boufal
Morocco’s 2022 began with a disappointing quarter-final exit on the Africa Cup of Nations. The Atlas Lions have been crushed by dropping finalists Egypt in extra-time.
Since then, Morocco have misplaced simply as soon as in seven video games. They have been handily crushed by the USA in a summer time pleasant, however they’ve made a brilliant begin to their 2023 AFCON qualifying marketing campaign and have been capable of decide up a formidable 2-0 victory over Chile in September.
Morocco’s final 5 outcomes (all competitions)
Morocco 0-0 Paraguay Morocco 2-0 Chile Liberia 0-2 Morocco Morocco 2-1 South Africa USA 3-0 Morocco
Regardless of Belgium showing to be the standout aspect in Group F, the group is, the truth is, very well-balanced and Morocco actually have an opportunity of progressing into the knockout section for simply the second time of their World Cup historical past.
Belgium are an ageing outfit nonetheless clinging on to the prized possessions of their ‘Golden Era’, whereas Croatia are equally historical however are nonetheless massively gifted.
Canada have garnered loads of hype forward of their first-ever World Cup look, however Morocco will fancy their possibilities of beating them on Matchday 3. If they will take factors of the 2 European sides, the Atlas Lions might be in enterprise.
Nevertheless, the type of Morocco’s key males heading into the match is a priority and, on the steadiness, you’d should fancy Belgium and Croatia to progress from this tight group.
Prediction: Group stage exit