It’s a historic afternoon for the Atlas Lions. Thirty-six years after ending first of their pool – forward of England and Portugal – earlier than being eradicated by Lothar Matthäus’ Federal Republic of Germany, Morocco have certified for the spherical of 16 of the World Cup in Qatar after their victory in opposition to Canada (2-1). Hakim Ziyech, benefiting from a hazardous exit from the opposing goalkeeper, and Youssef En-Nesyri, present in depth by Achraf Hakimi’s glorious lengthy cross, had launched the choice of the Cherifian Kingdom very effectively earlier than seeing Nayef Aguerd deceive sadly his personal goaltender to present the Canucks an opportunity to get their first level in a World Cup. Lastly, Walid Regragui’s males had been capable of hold the end result till the ultimate whistle to lift 37 million Moroccans with happiness.
Regragui wished “altering the Moroccan mentality”
Requested after the assembly on the microphone of bein Sports activitiesthe coach of the Atlas Lions made some extent of underlining the mentality of his gamers, combative from the start to the top: “We suffered in the present day. Loads of fatigue and accidents however the mind-set… We wished to go down in historical past. There was this strain which didn’t assist us within the second half, however we held on. And we received the sport. To complete with 7 factors, I don’t suppose any African crew has finished that. We’re comfortable for the Moroccan individuals who wanted it. And for the gamers who deserve it. Earlier than speaking in regards to the first place received in opposition to Croatia and Belgium, again to again after 90 minutes on the identical time: “Ending first shouldn’t be given to everybody with Belgium and Croatia. Some believed in us, some didn’t. However we had been eager to indicate that Africa is there. As a result of Africa is way decried. We’ve good coaches, good gamers. Now we’re in eighth grade. We haven’t finished something but. We are going to savor the qualification and we wish to go so far as Allah wills.
Arrived final August on the bench of the choice, the Moroccan technician first returned to the situation of the assembly earlier than explaining his work finished in simply three months to remobilize the troops, particularly after the dismissal of a Vahid Halilhodzic greater than disputed: “I attempted to minimize the sport. Within the first half, it labored. It’s our greatest half within the sport. We might have led 3-0. However you already know our gamers, from the second we began speaking about it, we misplaced balls. The purpose hurts and we have now the doubts of the previous. We all know our historical past, we have now dangerous luck, we calculate. Within the second half, we performed our ethical values, however we suffered bodily. They held on. We closed, we went to five. An important factor is that we certified. Once I got here right here, the concept was to take a step ahead and alter the Moroccan mentality. We simply didn’t wish to take part. I’m comfortable for the gamers. They believed in our mission. Arriving in kamikaze mode was not straightforward. An important factor is to make individuals comfortable. If we nonetheless wish to cross a course, we should rapidly get well to go down in historical past.
A “historic night” for the Atlas Lions
It was not solely the Moroccan coach who let his pleasure burst out and savored this historic qualification. Certainly, his midfielder Sofyan Amrabat, among the finest components on this group stage on the Moroccan facet, wished to congratulate himself and his teammates for this exceptional and high-level course for Morocco, which completed first in its group. F: “As you stated, we wrote historical past. It’s unbelievable. We had been in a robust group. We’re first. Kudos to us.” The quantity 7 and first scorer of the assembly Hakim Ziyech, who appeared to sound on the antenna of beIN Sports activities, additionally highlighted this illustrious achievement: “a historic night, on the purpose that I scored, I’ve success. There was solely this feature to mark and I did. The one factor we will really feel is satisfaction, we performed collectively, we fought collectively and we will be proud on the world stage.
As we speak underneath contract at Besiktas, the captain of the Atlas Lions Romain Saïss, congratulated by his former buddy in central protection Medhi Benatia, now a guide for beIN Sports activities France : “We’re very proud, for 36 years we had not handed the primary spherical. Solely happiness, satisfaction, we play soccer for these moments, it’s much more stunning when it’s our nation. We don’t wish to cease there, we wish to go additional and present that we’re an important crew. I hope they’re happy with us, as they’ve seen, we give all the things on the pitch, we struggle with our coronary heart, we see all of the love they ship us, they handle to make a distinction within the stadium to push us, allow them to proceed like this in order that we go even additional. A dream come true for the Kingdom of Morocco, which should wait till the top of the night to know its future opponent within the spherical of 16: will probably be the second in group E, which continues to be very open earlier than the third day…