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World Cup 2022: Morocco is like "Rocky"

World Cup 2022: Morocco is like “Rocky”

Before defending champions France await in the semi-finals on Wednesday (8pm, live on ORF1), coach Walid Regraki’s team in Doha had to lead 1-0 at half-time against former European champions Portugal, with Cristiano Ronaldo in attendance. After only 50 minutes, Youssef Al-Nusairi defended (42nd minute). Even then with unbridled passion when the first two underdogs had cramps.

“It’s hard to beat us. That’s the message I want to send,” Regragui said after the victory at the deafening Al Thumama Stadium. The 52-cap Morocco international ensured, as a former defender, that his side would continue their run through the tournament with just one goal, an own goal in a 2-1 win over Canada.

Morocco in the semi-finals

Morocco also beat Portugal in the World Cup on Saturday. The country is now celebrating entry into the semi-finals. Morocco will meet world champions France there on Wednesday.

Morocco is like “Rocky”

“We made a lot of people in the world happy” said Regragui and found a cinematic comparison: “We’re the Rockies at this World Cup. If you love Rocky Balboa, it’s because of his passion. You have to dream and believe in him.”

Like famous boxing figure Sylvester Stallone, Morocco took a beating in two round-of-16 victories over Spain and Portugal. Naseer Mazraoui, Bayern’s player, was ill, while West Ham’s Nayef Ajord was injured. Besiktas Istanbul captain Roman Sayes was forced off the field with an injury. According to the coach, Achraf Hakimi “felt bad, but fought.”

AP/Martin Meisner

Morocco’s joy at reaching the semi-finals knew no bounds

Substitute Walid Chedira also witnessed the colors yellow and red in the final noisy stage. “I have 26 players. If you want to win this tournament, you have to believe in everyone,” Regragui explained. “If someone is injured or sick, another one comes for him. I hope Mazraoui returns, he is very important to the team.”

Your dreams don’t cost anything.

“We’re showing the world what you can achieve even if you don’t have a lot of talent and money. If you are fighting for a place in the final against reigning champions France, after just eight matches as national coach, we are showing the world what you can achieve even if you don’t have a lot of talent and money. If you believe in it and take it firmly, you can achieve a lot.”

Before even identifying the opponent on Saturday night, Regragui said: “Why don’t we dream of winning the World Cup? To have dreams costs nothing.” insistently about it previously.

“impregnable defense”

The Moroccan media celebrated the success accordingly. Lubinion newspaper said: “Unbelievable but true, Morocco beat Portugal and rushed towards the semi-finals. This victory puts Morocco in the last square and marks the history of world football for all time.”

And “Yabladi” wrote, saying: “The Atlas Lions continue to rewrite the history of Moroccan, Arab and African football. With an impenetrable defense, the Lions defended their goal without stopping until the last moments of that meeting at Al-Thumama Stadium.”

Success is not a miracle

“No wonder. Many consider it a miracle, especially in Europe. No wonder, it is the result of hard work. We made the continent happy and proud,” said Regragui, who threw his players in high spirits, as they did after the last-16 coup against Spain.

Coach Walid Al-Rakraki

IMAGO / Fotoarena / Rodolfo Bohrer

Moroccan coach Walid Regragui quickly prepared the team for the World Cup

“It wasn’t an easy game, but we performed very well. I can only say the same thing as after the last two games: it’s a great success for the team and for the whole country,” said midfielder Bilal Al-Khanous. “The coach didn’t say in the first half: I hope That we can go on for another 45 minutes. But: There are only 45 minutes left to make history.”

“Pinch me, I think I’m dreaming”

Morocco was the fourth African team to qualify for the quarter-finals after Cameroon in 1990, Senegal in 2002 and Ghana in 2010 and was the only team to survive this round. The Moroccans could not believe their luck and their place in the history of the World Cup. “Africa is back on the football map today,” Regragui said. “We had the mentality, we used our capital. We knew we could make history for Africa. I am very lucky.”

“We will recover and prepare for what is to come so that we can deal with it with the same energy,” said Yassine Bounou, Morocco’s powerful goalkeeper once again from Sevilla. “All the players showed great performance. We had injuries, but we put in an amazing performance.”

FIFA World Cup 2022, Quarter-finals

Saturday:

Morocco 1-0 Portugal (1-0)

Doha, Al Thumama Stadium, 44,198 spectators, Facundo Tello (Argentina)

Goal: 1-0 En-Nesyri (42 minutes)

Morocco: Bono – Hakimi, Al Yamak, Sayes (57 / Dari), Atiyat Allah – Amrabat, Unahi, Amal Allah (65 / Shadira) – Zish (82 / Abu Khalil), Al Nusiri (65 / Banoun), Boufal (82 / Gibran).

Portugal: Costa – Dalot (79 ft / Horta), Dias, Pepe, Guerrero (51 ft / Cancelo) – Neves (51 ft / Ronaldo), Ottavio (69 ft / Vitinha) – B Silva, B Fernandez, J Felix – Ramos (69 / liao)

Yellow card: Chedira (93/repeated foul play)

Yellow cards: Dhari or Vitinha

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