Morocco

Morocco

Appearances at World Cups

It's the first squad from the African continent that managed to go through the group stage at a world cup. This happened in 1986 when the Moroccans became first in a quartet with England, Poland and Portugal. The national team of Morocco has been at the decisive stage of the tournament four times. But 20 years have passed since their last appearance at the world cup. The Atlas Lions lacked just one point in 1998 to repeat their achievement and advance from the group.

Now the national team of Morocco is going to Russia as one of the leaders of the black continent. The Moroccans didn't lose any match in their qualification round and left their goal immaculate. At the same time, they left the strong team of Côte d'Ivoire 4 points behind.

year

g

W

D

L

М

total

1970

3

0

1

2

2-6

4 th in group

1986

4

1

2

1

3-2

1/8

1994

3

0

0

3

2-5

4 th in group

1998

3

1

1

1

5-5

3 rd in group

Total

13

2

4

6

12-18

-

Head coach and best player

Well-known French specialist Hervé Renard trains Morocco. He has two victories at the Africa Cup of Nations at once with two different squads under his belt. In 2012, he chaired Zambia and unexpectedly won the first gold in official tournaments. It was easier with Côte d'Ivoire in 2015. But it's not an easy task to rule and organise a group of local and international stars, what Renard excellently did. Now he is creating a sensation with the Moroccans who have reached the WC elite round first in 20 years.

Like many other African squads, Morocco also has main players in every line. Medhi Benatia who has been at German Bayern and Italian Juventus in the last 2-3 seasons sets the pace in the defence. Mbark Boussoufa, former leader of Anzhi from Makhachkala and Moscow Lokomotive, rules in the midfield in most matches. The focus in the attack is more often made on Youssef El-Arabi who has scored 45 goals in 34 matches in Qatar in the last two seasons. In addition, there is also a bright growing generation in the person of rising star of the Dutch championship Hakim Ziyech and young Real defender Achraf Hakimi.

  • Preliminary squad: Munir – Hakimi, Benatia, Saïss, Dirar– Amrabat, El Ahmadi, Belhanda, Boussoufa, Ziyech – El-Arabi.

Base camp and cities

It's curious that if Morocco doesn't progress from the group, it even won't need to travel across Russia further than Moscow. For instance, Morocco will play matches in the Russian capital, Saint Petersburg and Kaliningrad. In this respect, their choice of Voronezh as a base camp looks more doubtful because same Moscow had comfortable options. However, they will be preparing for the games against Portugal, Iran and Spain at Chaika stadium, which was reconstructed by the World Cup.

By Zulfat Shafigullin. Photo: fifa.com