Morocco confirmed they’ll compete with worldwide soccer’s elite groups after ending fourth on the World Cup, in keeping with head coach Walid Regragui.
Targets from Josko Gvardiol and Mislav Orsic gave Croatia a 2-1 victory in Saturday’s third-place play-off, as Morocco’s historic World Cup got here to a conclusion.
They grew to become the primary African nation to achieve the semi-finals of worldwide soccer’s prime event, overcoming giants akin to Spain and Portugal earlier than lastly succumbing to France within the remaining 4.
Regardless of the shedding finish to Morocco’s marketing campaign, Regragui believes the Atlas Lions exhibited their proper to be thought-about one of many prime footballing nations on this planet.
“Tomorrow morning we are going to take inventory, and realise all of us made a implausible achievement right here,” Regragui informed reporters at his post-match information convention.
“We performed Croatia twice, one of many prime three groups on this planet. We performed towards Spain, Portugal, France, Belgium and Canada, that’s great.
“We now have an goal of successful the World Cup at some point. Morocco confirmed we are able to go toe to toe with these groups. We are actually one of many prime 4 groups on this planet.”
Captured the hearts of us all, we’ll be seeing you quickly @EnMaroc pic.twitter.com/nfARWEoAq7
— FIFA World Cup (@FIFAWorldCup) December 17, 2022
Requested if he would change something about Morocco’s event, Regragui replied: “Actually I might say nothing.
“We had 0.01 per cent likelihood of successful the event on the outset. We managed to get to the final 4.
“We performed among the powerhouses of soccer. In the event you informed me we’d get this far, quantity 4 on this planet, I’d have accepted that right away.
“We deserve respect. They fought till the top, confirmed onerous graft. That’s soccer, some nations are stronger than us. France have been, Croatia have been tonight, however solely barely stronger.
“For 2026, if I’m nonetheless in cost, I’ll have extra expertise and perhaps issues will change, and in 2026 we are going to realise the achievement we’ve made in 2022.”
Croatia 2-1 Morocco
Second and third-place finishes in consecutive World Cups for a rustic the dimensions of Croatia isn’t any imply feat.
Morocco go away understanding they’ve gone additional than any African nation in World Cup historical past.#FIFAWorldCup pic.twitter.com/rcvSFhUAHq
— Opta Analyst (@OptaAnalyst) December 17, 2022
Morocco’s remaining match in Qatar noticed quite a lot of controversial officiating choices, with the ultimate whistle met by intense protests from Regragui’s gamers in direction of the referee.
Achraf Hakimi, Morocco’s star right-back, was reportedly concerned in a row with FIFA president Gianni Infantino within the tunnel after the match.
It comes after the Royal Morocco Soccer Federation lodged a grievance to FIFA over referee Cesar Ramos’ efficiency throughout their semi-final defeat to France.
Nevertheless, Regragui was eager to not focus an excessive amount of on the referee’s show, whereas he defended his gamers’ behaviour after the sport.
“Whenever you lose you all the time get dissatisfied, upset,” Regragui said. “My gamers are nice opponents, I don’t suppose there was an absence of respect.
“We typically overreact on the finish of video games, it occurs. We simply weren’t on the stage we’ve set.
“We give attention to what we have been missing. We are able to’t conceal behind the refereeing, that’s not the Moroccan means. We let the affiliation take care of any official points.”