Walid Regragui in contrast Morocco to Rocky Balboa after his facet overcame Portugal to make World Cup historical past.

Morocco turned the primary African crew to achieve the World Cup semi-finals with a 1-0 victory at Al Thumama Stadium on Saturday.

Youssef En-Nesyri’s header put them forward within the forty second minute and the Atlas Lions holding agency amid late stress.

Morocco have conceded solely as soon as – an own-goal – of their 5 matches in Qatar, regardless of having performed Belgium, Spain, Portugal and fellow semi-finalists Croatia.

Regragui believes his crew despatched a “message to the world”, which is now totally behind Morocco’s story – one the coach likened to Hollywood’s underdog boxer.

“We have gotten the crew everybody loves at this World Cup as a result of we’re exhibiting in the event you work exhausting sufficient, present that zeal and perception, you possibly can obtain,” he stated.

“It’s no miracle. Many will say it’s a miracle, particularly in Europe, however we’ve performed Croatia, Belgium, Spain, Portugal with out letting in a aim.

“That’s not a miracle, it’s the results of exhausting work. We’ve made our folks completely happy and proud, the continent completely happy and proud, so many individuals all over the world completely happy.

“Whenever you watch Rocky, you assist him due to his coronary heart and dedication. We’re the Rocky of this World Cup.

“If you end up a small crew, you want this perception. I advised the gamers you don’t go to a World Cup to play for 3 video games. Anybody who simply got here to play three video games can’t include me.

“Soccer for that is the very best sport on the earth – you possibly can imagine, you are able to do it. It’s a message to the world and I feel the world is now with Morocco.”

Morocco haven’t had it simple. In addition to going through a number of the world’s finest sides, they’ve needed to deal with accidents to key gamers – Noussair Mazraoui and Nayef Aguerd have been absent on Saturday, whereas captain Romain Saiss went off injured early within the second half.

However Regragui trusts his squad, as he reiterated Morocco’s dream is to go all the way in which in Qatar.

“It’s nice to come back to the World Cup to play the group stage matches – the followers could be completely happy, however earlier than the primary spherical everybody thought we might get knocked out,” he stated.

“However we’ve got elite gamers. We’ve got a crew that may win video games on the World Cup. We would have liked to be assured, exit and haven’t any regrets. The gamers believed me.

“What’s vital for future generations is we’ve proven it’s doable for an African crew to get to the semi-finals, and why not even a ultimate? Why not?

“We should always dream, dream of profitable a World Cup. When you don’t dream you possibly can’t get anyplace, it prices nothing to have goals.

“Anybody taking part in us will likely be afraid of us, they’ll must be on the prime of their sport. That’s the message I’ll ship to them.”

Morocco will go up towards the winner of France versus England within the semi-finals.

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