Morocco coach Walid Regragui after fourth-place finish — ‘We have allowed children to dream’


Morocco coach Walid Regragui praised his team after a 2-1 defeat to Croatia in the third-place play-off, saying “We fought until the end”.

A beautiful goal from Mislav Orsic denied Morocco a medal, three days after France beat them 2-0 to advance to the World Cup final. 

Regragui, appointed less than three months before the tournament, led Morocco further than any African nation has ever been before.

He also managed a string of defensive injuries, with Badr Benoun, Morocco’s fifth-choice centre-back, the only fit player at his position at the end of the play-off. 

Romain Saiss, Nayef Aguerd, Jawad El Yamiq, and Achraf Dari were all forced off with injury at some point during the tournament. 

However, Morocco’s full-backs have shone, especially right-back Achraf Hakimi, while Sofyan Amrabat has been arguably the midfielder of the tournament. 

Expressing his pride after their final game of the tournament, Regragui said: “We were given a 0.01% chance of winning the World Cup. Now we are one of the top four teams in the world.

“If you told me we would finish that far before the tournament, I would have accepted it straight away. We fought until the end.”

He later addressed the significance of Morocco’s run. As well as being the first African country to reach the semi-finals, they were also the first Arab side, and only the second Muslim-majority nation. 

“Football makes people dream, especially children,” he added. “We have allowed them to dream, kept the dreams alive and they now dream of being footballers and getting to the World Cup, that is priceless. 

“It means more than winning any match.”

Morocco’s next major tournament will be the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations, scheduled to be held in January 2024 in Ivory Coast. 

The country has not won the competition since 1976, their most recent trophy.



‘This is the new Morocco I’m dreaming of’ — Casablanca set for Africa’s biggest ever match

(Photo: Getty Images)


Related posts

Leave a Comment