FIFA – The magic formula to Morocco’s historic qualification

Morocco have qualified for the Round of 16 at FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™. What was the magic ingredient that helped them do it?

Morocco have qualified for the Round of 16 at FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ in a repeat of their fantastic achievement at Mexico 1986, after their 2-1 win over Canada took them to seven points and the top of Group F.

The Atlas Lions performed very well at Russia 2018 but they had no luck in terms of results, losing to both Iran and Portugal and drawing 2-2 with Spain. This time, however, they brought the magic ingredient needed to add points to positive performances.

The Federation: The right decision at the right time

Lekjaa justified his decision by pointing to the numerous problems that had arisen between Halilhodzic and his players, including his exclusion of Abderrazak Hamdallah, Hakim Ziyech and Noussair Mazraoui.

“The national team cannot exclude Moroccans playing at the highest level all over the world, for whatever reason,” the President announced.

“Neither players nor fans understood the reason for excluding players who had spent six or seven years with the national team. The relationship between the players and the coaching staff was neglected, as was their motivation to do their very best. That should be the coach’s focus.”

Just three months before the World Cup was to kick off, Fouzi Lekjaa, President of the Royal Moroccan Football Federation, decided to replace head coach Vahid Halilhodzic, despite his success leading the nation to qualification for Qatar 2022. His replacement would be the Moroccan Walid Regragui, who had achieved great success at club level.

The spirit Morocco have shown in Qatar, the renewed bonds within the team and the significant impact of returnees Ziyech and Mazraoui have all proven Lekjaa’s decision to be absolutely correct. It is also evidence that a united dressing room can be as important as tactics or coaching.

The Players: Quality, experience, character

It is often said that nothing is possible in football if you do not have quality players, able to implement your ideas and translate all the work done off the pitch into performance, efficiency and results on the pitch.

This generation of Moroccan players really started to develop a few years ago, performing well, if unsuccessfully, at Russia 2018. The core of the team today includes five or six players who also featured at that World Cup, not least the likes of Yassine Bounou, Hakim Ziyech, Achraf Hakimi, and Sofyan Amrabat.

->->-> Click Now to Join 1Ace Online Casino to Win Sports Satta Bonus in Indian Rupees <-<-<-

Walid Regragui: The hero

Regragui can justifiably be considered Morocco’s hero at Qatar 2022, not only for implementing an effective game plan and getting the balance of his team right but, more importantly, because he united everyone, brought stability to the dressing room and repaired the cracks in the team that had formed prior to his arrival.

Remarkably, the Moroccan coach has managed to do all this in a very short period of time, having only agreed to take over the challenging role at the end of August. Anyone following the Atlas Lions’ performances will have seen just how much their enthusiasm and fighting spirit have improved since the coach came in, mere months after he led Wydad AC to a CAF Champions League title.

The Fans: A genuine 12th man

Morocco’s supporters have played a hugely important role in their national team’s success, turning out in their thousands to support them in Qatar.

There was never a moment when the Atlas Lions’ supporters fell quiet across all 270 minutes of the group stage, their roar terrifying opponents and lifting the spirits of their countrymen on the pitch. In doing so, they caught the attention of everyone in Doha, and they can certainly be relied upon to support their side in the Round of 16.

Morocco topped Group F and qualified for the Round of 16, where their opponents will be whichever one of Spain, Germany, Costa Rica or Japan finishes second in Group E.

Related Reading:
FIFA – Rakitic: I lost five years of my life watching Croatia against Belgium