DOHA, Nusa Bali
Moroccan coach Walid Reragui said African countries need to change and prepare their mentality for the World Cup.
Morocco were not afraid to face Spain in the round of 16 of the 2022 World Cup. The Moroccan national team of the “Lion de l’Atlas” became the most impressive African nation to date . They dominated a group filled with footballing giants, such as Belgium and Croatia. They drew and goalless against Croatia in their opening game, then beat Belgium 2-0 and Canada 2-1.
There was a heartwarming moment as the couple received applause from reporters in their countries.
However, the highlight of the press conference was when a Libyan journalist asked a chilling question; does Morocco think it can go far in Qatar?
Reragui replied frankly. He urged African nations to aim higher at the World Cup. He said his team had set their sights on giving it their all and getting out of the group stages.
“After that, why not? Our goal is the highest sky. We have to change our mentality and we will be a tough team to beat. Why not dream of winning this trophy? As an African team, we have to set ourselves this goal,” Reragui said.
The Moroccan national team will face the Spanish national team in the round of 16 of the 2022 World Cup on Tuesday (6/12) evening, at 23:00 WITA, at the Education City Stadium, Al Rayyan.
The Atlas lion, nicknamed Morocco, qualified for the Round of 16 by earning Group F status. Morocco finished top of the Group F standings with a collection of seven points from three matches.
Morocco, which was not seeded at the start, made a surprising appearance in qualifying by beating the 2nd world team in the FIFA rankings, namely Belgium, 2-0.
Croatia, 2018 world runners-up in Russia, also drew on the first day of the preliminary round.
Facing Spain in the round of 16, Walid Reragui would still rely on key players when they beat Canada 2-1 in the final Group F game.
With a 4-2-3-1 team formation, Youssef En-Nesyri’s name still has the coach’s confidence as the spearhead in attack. Nesyri will be supported by attacking midfielders Hakim Ziyezh, Selim Amallah and Sofiane Boufal. Chelsea winger Hakim Ziyech remains Morocco’s mainstay in the Atlas Lions’ forward line.
Meanwhile, the Spanish national team under the guard of Luis Enrique will still appear to be attacking like in the previous preliminary round game. With a 4-3-3 formation, La Furia Roja’s trident of Ferran Torres, Alvaro Morata and Dani Olmo will start. They will be supported by midfielders Gavi, Sergio Busquets and Pedri.
Barcelona’s tiki taka style will remain the hallmark of the Spanish national team, which features many Barca players. *
Morocco (4-2-3-1): Yassine Bounou; Achraf Hakimi, Romain Saiss, Nayef Aguerd, Yahya Attiat-Allah; Azzedine Ounahi, Sofyan Amrabat; Selim Amallah, Sofiane Boufal, Hakim Ziyech; Youssef En-Nesyri.
Spain (4-3-3): Unai Simon (GK), Jordi Alba, Aymeric Laporte, Rodri, Dani Carvajal, Gavi, Sergio Busquets, Pedri, Ferran Torres, Alvaro Morata, Dani Olmo.
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